May 1, 2012

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Huntsman Praises State in Envision Utah Keynote

Di Lewis

May 1, 2012

At the 15th anniversary of the founding of Envision Utah, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman spoke of how his failed presidential bid renewed his belief in Americans and made him take a hard look at how the country must improve.

Huntsman, who served as Envision’s chair from 1999 to 2001, said it’s rare to have a group of community activists who think in 30- and 40-year increments. However, that kind of long-term thinking is paving the way for Utah’s continued success, he said.

Envision Utah is a volunteer organization with the goal of planning for future growth in the state by creating a vision for individual cities and the state with input from a broad range of residents and organizations.

Huntsman was the keynote at Envision’s 2012 Corporate Friends Breakfast. Huntsman said he knew his presidential campaign was in deep trouble when his wife, Mary Kaye Huntsman, told him, “If you pander and if you sign any of those darn pledges, I will leave you.”

Despite dropping out of the race in January, Huntsman said the experience made him realize how many good people care about the country’s future.

On a recent drive to Price, Utah, Huntsman said he was amazed at the many projects he saw which were projects talked about and planned by Envision Utah. “I’ve never seen a Wasatch Front so ready and able to compete in the 21st century,” he said.

It’s also important to frequently evaluate where the country is and what its liabilities and strengths are, he said.

An enormous debt fueled by unnecessary wars, lack of trust in political leaders and powerful institutions, general lack of confidence and poor investment in intellectual capital are hurting America, Huntsman said. “If we don’t get our act together, folks, we’re going to see the end of American prosperity by 2050.”

Huntsman said he counts himself an optimist, though, and sees strengths that will carry America forward as an international leader. Immigration, and the country’s ability to naturally integrate immigrants, is an unrecognized strength, he said. Strong military, good schools and innovative, volunteer-oriented citizens all combine keep the U.S. strong.

Utah is leading the way in those core strengths, Huntsman said, and he believes Americans are advancing without fully realizing it.


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