What Utah needs in a governor
Utah has a proud legacy of strong, progressive leadership from the office of its governor. My father, Calvin Rampton, led the state with independent vision and determination through the turbulence of the 1960s and 1970s, jump-starting higher education as Utah now knows it, sending "Rampton's Raiders" into the world to galvanize Utah's burgeoning tourist industry and business community.
Scott Matheson continued to champion Utah's growth during the following eight years, and stood tall against federal intrusion into its independence during the days of the Sagebrush Rebellion. Other great leaders followed from both major parties building the state into one of the finest places in America to live, visit and raise families.
But decisive leadership is again needed, especially as Utah now moves into the global socioeconomics of the 21st century. Better, forward-looking ideas, innovative governance, and tough-minded independence will be required in the years ahead.
Also badly needed is the vitality and meaningful dialogue arising from a vibrant two-party system. These are all part of Utahns' birthright, but they have been lost. This is why I have chosen to accept the honor of running with Peter S. Cooke, Democratic candidate to be Utah's governor.
What would Utahns see in a Cooke Administration? First and foremost, they would see forceful and concise decision-making and implementation based on principle, not poll results. The state's chief executive would understand the value of zero-error precision in government, with an eye toward meeting goals and keeping deadlines.
There would be no waiting on approvals from out-of-state interest groups, political elements that draw state governance away from its true mainstream, or closed-door legislative caucus sessions. The office would operate in the light of day and steered by common sense.
Solutions would flow from Cooke's experience both within and outside of government. In the spirit of the citizen-soldier, Cooke, a retired Army major general, has chosen to bring to Utah governance his strong leadership born of military command, knowledge of the state's business sector as a former director of economic development in Utah, and management skills honed by three decades as a successful businessman and entrepreneur.
These are all generalities, though. In coming weeks, the Cooke/Rampton campaign will release position papers covering the critical issues facing Utahns as they move through the second decade of the new millennium:
• Economic growth: Moving past the recession and helping Utah's businesses, large and small, but especially the state's economic engine its small businesses take their rightful place in the national and international marketplace;
• Education: Taking K-12, higher education and vocational training back to levels befitting one of the nation's historically best-educated citizenries, focusing on training a skilled job force, rejuvenating higher learning and restoring dignity and pride in the teaching profession;
• Energy and environmental policy: Aggressive pursuit of better, cleaner, safer and more renewable energy sources to preserve and supplement Utah's existing energy industry and fuel future economic expansion, while conserving a clean environment and forcefully defending ever-scarcer water supplies;
• Working with America's national government to maximize benefits from public lands, protect the state's economic investment in Hill Air Force Base, and assist the veterans of military service;
• Open, ethical and transparent government: Policy and governance born of Utah's native excellence, an inherent Jeffersonian trust in a well-informed populace, and of broad-daylight discussion throughout the ranks of government with all of its citizens.
The healthy accountability of bipartisan government open dialogue that forges sound and sensible policy, and leadership which answers to all the people have worked before and must come again.
Vince Rampton is a candidate for lieutenant governor on the Democratic ticket and an attorney in private practice in Salt Lake City..