‘The Rundown’: It’s a big day for Gary!

Your Friday morning Utah political cheat sheet.

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Gary’s big day

Today is a banner day for former Gov. Gary Herbert.

Reader Don Savage, a longtime friend of Herbert, tells “The Rundown” Herbert will receive two honorary degrees today from two different universities, a feat that may be a first.

This morning, Herbert speaks at commencement ceremonies for Dixie State University in St. George. Then later, he’ll be honored at Utah Valley University’s graduation.

While not in any way definitive, a cursory search did not turn up any other instances of one person being awarded multiple honorary degrees from different institutions on the same day.

And to top it off, today is Herbert’s birthday, too.

Here’s what you need to know for Friday morning

The U.S. economy added just 266,000 jobs last month, which is far below expectations. Unemployment ticked up to 6.1% [CNBC].

A big win for transgender rights. The Utah Supreme Court ruled two transgender Utahns can list the sex they identify as their driver’s licenses and other official documents [Tribune].

Former Gov. Gary Herbert is taking on a new job with the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce. He’ll start working part-time as the organization’s executive chair [Tribune].

The Washington County Commission declared the county a “sanctuary for constitutional rights and freedoms” through a resolution passed this week [Tribune].

A Utah man accused of taking part in the riot at the U.S. Capitol raised hell yelling at officials during a court hearing on Thursday. The court will evaluate Landon Copeland for mental competency after the off-the-rails hearing [Tribune].

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham admits Republicans are worried they can’t win elections without former President Donald Trump [MSNBC].

Republicans in the House are pushing Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney out of her leadership spot in favor of New York Rep. Elise Stefanik in the name of “unity” [AP].

Despite winning Donald Trump’s stamp of approval, Republicans aren’t convinced Rep. Stefanik is sufficiently conservative enough [Politico].

White House aides say President Joe Biden’s proposed tax hikes on wealthy Americans would boost giving to nonprofits and charities [NYT].

Some Republicans worry the push in GOP-controlled states to limit voting access could backfire and hurt their prospects at the ballot box [AP].

Arizona Republicans are pushing back against Justice Department concerns over the bizarre recount of presidential ballots in Maricopa County [WaPo].

Donald Trump keeps trying to sneak back on Twitter. On Thursday, the platform banned an account posting statements from the former president [NBC News].

Economists say the U.S. is set to post significant job gains in the coming weeks and months, but only if businesses can find enough workers to fill open positions [AP].

South Carolina’s governor ordered the state to stop participating in expanded unemployment benefits as businesses in the state struggle to find workers [The State].

A chicken shortage means restaurants are having difficulty keeping up, which is sending prices through the roof [WSJ].

A 6th-grade girl pulled a handgun from her backpack and opened fire at her school on Thursday, injuring three [Reuters].

Twitter is testing out a “tip jar” feature so users can send cash to their favorite accounts [The Verge].

Why did Utah delegates boo Mitt Romney?

On this week’s Utah Politics podcast, I’m joined by political strategist Mike Madrid.

Madrid has spent decades in Republican politics, but he’s baffled by what’s happening to the GOP following Donald Trump’s presidency.

“We’re watching the demolition of a once-great party into something really more of a mob,” he told me.

Madrid was the political director for the California GOP and worked for the Republican National Committee. He broke with the party after Trump’s election to help found the Lincoln Project. He said the sight of Sen. Mitt Romney, who was the party’s presidential nominee just nine years ago, getting booed was jaw-dropping.

“I can tell you this is a foundationally, fundamentally different party. This is not conservatism in the way Sen. Mitt Romney and his father knew it. These are all signs of a party imploding, not a party morphing into something that can add to the voter column,” he said.

Listen to the conversation with Madrid for free.

Friday’s Utah news roundup


  • Utah police now banned from shooting at people who are suicidal but only a threat to themselves [Tribune].

  • The wife of the LDS president is speaking at Utah Valley University’s commencement. Here’s why LGBTQ students are opposed [Tribune].

  • Here are the takeaways about the disparities that minority groups face in Utah [Tribune].

  • How Utah’s Heber Valley may help researchers solve one of fog’s biggest mysteries [KSL].

  • Summer school in Utah: What might it look like in your district [KUTV].


  • Look what’s coming to downtown Salt Lake City: another skyscraper. Here are the high points [Tribune].


  • Utah is just short of 1 million people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 [Tribune].

  • Gov. Spencer Cox says Utah’s COVID-19 response is now “really about personal responsibility” [Tribune].

  • Utah vaccine providers no longer required to use doses within 7 days [KUTV].

  • Parents gather to call on Davis School District to allow parents to write mask exemptions [Daily Herald].

Local government

  • City moves to ranked-choice voting; Niehaus, Duncan won’t run in 2021 [Moab Times-Independent]

  • Utah County considering giving department heads more flexibility in hiring process [Daily Herald].

  • Ongoing drought a concern for officials in Ogden City [Standard-Examiner].

  • Tooele City Council wants a closer look at drinking water system master plan [Transcript Bulletin].

On the opinion pages

  • Marina Gomberg: Re-entering the world as a larger version of yourself? These expert tips can help you do so with confidence [Tribune].

  • Michelle Quist: Convention delegates gave Utah GOP a black eye [Tribune].

  • Kip Yost: We have met the homeless, and they are (increasingly) us [Tribune].

  • Bob Rees and Clifton Jolley: What does a “white horse” look like? [Tribune].

  • Typical Utah family? They’re more diverse than you think [Deseret News].

You say it’s your birthday?!

Happy birthday to former Utah Gov. Gary Herbert who turns 74 today.

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