Gary Herbert gives his final speech as Utah governor

Dec 28, 2020, 8:03 PM | Updated: 8:33 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert addressed the state of Utah for the last time as governor recapping his career and thanking the people of the state and many who helped him along the way.

What serving as governor means to Gary Herbert

“Serving as your governor has been the greatest honor and privilege of my professional life,” he said. “I have not taken a single moment of this experience for granted.”

He thanked the people of Utah for the trust put in him as their governor.

“Working in the executive branch of government requires people with the ability to work together to listen to each other and to reach consensus on important issues,” he said.

He listed the many people he has worked with over the years and said, “I am grateful for the 24,000 state employees who show up to work every day, roll up their sleeves and go to work to serve the people of Utah.”

“I honor all those in public safety, our first responders, and I salute the men and women of the National Guard who serve our state and our nation,” he said.

He said, “the result of this combined team effort over the past decade is that our business community is thriving with new businesses coming in every day.”

The people of Utah

Herbert talked much about the inspiring nature of the people of Utah and what we are known for. 

“It is the everyday ordinary people of Utah that have inspired me the most,” he said, “people who toil and sacrifice and do their best and do so without a lot of recognition but add so much to the fabric and success of our great state.”

“The people of Utah are honest, hardworking and friendly,” he added. “They’re good people who truly care about their neighbors and the well-being of others. That is what sets our state apart.”

He talked about the enjoyment he got from visiting Utah’s schools, saying he particularly enjoys the letters from children thanking him for visiting and offering him advice on how to run the state. 

One third-grader wrote a letter to him and said he should get a pet to help with his self-esteem. 

Although he has had many good memories there have been some unhappy ones too — namely, natural disasters like floods and windstorms. 

He said, “It’s hard to witness the devastation and loss of homes and property but my heart has always been touched to see the outpouring of kindness and sacrifice made by so many who are willing to roll up their sleeves and give of their time to bring some peace, comfort and support to those in need.” 

“We have a sense of community in Utah that is like no other in the nation, ” he said. 

How far we have come

He talked about Utah’s growth over the past 11 years, including the population increasing around 550,000 since he took office. 

Citing the economy unemployment and low poverty rate, he said, “As others have said, this has been the best decade in Utah history.”

He said Utah is growing and that growth brings challenges that will be met by the spirit of common decency and mutual respect. 

Herbert said that he knows this to be true because of how far we have come since the recession.

He said that during that time, we recognized that our air and water were priceless resources that were being pushed to the limits.

“We are now compliant with EPA air requirements and are planning for the next 50 years of our water needs,” he said.

The pandemic trial

Governor Herbert talked about the pandemic and how we are going through one of the biggest trials we have seen. 

“This is not an easy time for anyone and we all look for the day when health and social normalcy can be restored,” the governor said.

Even with the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in process, he spoke of it as a light at the end of the tunnel but also saying that it is a very long and dark tunnel.

“If there was ever a time when we need collaboration and cooperation, it is now,” he added.

The future of Utah is in good hands

Herbert talked about Gov.-elect Spencer Cox, saying he has a great mind, a good heart and a strong work ethic, having grown up on a farm. 

He encouraged Utahns to stand with the governor-elect, adding, “Like me, he believes in the people of Utah.”

The final remarks of Governor Herbert to the people of Utah

Finishing his remarks, he spoke about his family, expressing love and gratitude to his wife who stood by his side during his time as governor. 

He gave some advice that his father gave him:

Work will win where wishy-washy wishing won’t.

I know this is kind of cheesy but it’s a true principle, a good work ethic solves a lot of problems.

I love this state, I love the good people of this state. It has been the greatest honor imaginable for me to be able to serve you. 


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Gary Herbert gives his final speech as Utah governor