The Deseret News asked a cross-section of Utah leaders how they'd rate Gov. Mike Leavitt's first year in office and to give him a letter grade on his performance.
(Democratic gubernatorial candidate in 1992)
"There's been a lot of very positive talk, but I haven't seen anything have a Leavitt fingerprint on it. We've had a lot of commissions, boards and other things appointed, and they've been making reports...for example, with education some decisions have to be made...there has to be something that will be real, not just right...Education remains his greatest challenge. I really can't think of a failure."
(Independent Party gubernatorial candidate in 1992)
"I think overall he's been more of a caretaker than either a real leader or innovator. I have been somewhat disappointed in his ability to close special interest sales-tax exemptions...he's really mishandled the federal retirees....and he's not moving solidly in the direction of change or improvement. I think there's tremendous opportunity with the economy the way it is in Utah. (But) he projects well - he comes across as sincere. I think he's gotten a high favorable rating because of the way he's conducted himself personally, but I'm really big on issues, and I think he's been weak in that area."
(Former GOP governor)
Grade: (Declined to give one)
"He's done just fine. He's had a strong economy, and that helped. He's used restraint, and that's wise. I don't give grades."
(Former House speaker and a personal friend of Leavitt's)
"The kid is smarter than I thought. I'm a friend, so prejudiced. But he's done better than I figured in his first year. He's a very quick study, very insightful. I give him an `incomplete,' the impact of his administration hasn't yet been felt."
(D-Salt Lake and House minority leader)
"He's made a good start, done well. But his real test will be 1994 when all these task forces he organized report back and he has to implement their recommendations. When he's made a mistake, he's admitted it and apologized, and that's the right thing to do. But there's much work to do."
The Rev. France Davis
(Calvary Baptist Church)
Grade: B+ education; D cultural diversity
"We (in the minority community) have had very little conversation with him; he hasn't done much with our concerns. I haven't seen a whole lot of substance. On his commitment to education, I give him a B+. But on his emphasis on cultural diversity, no evidence of it, a D."
(Chairman of the Utah Democratic Party)
"Overall, he's done well. Compared to Norm Bangerter, we're very pleased. He's had an open dialogue and is willing to include minority party in decisionmaking process. A solid `B' for the first year, but we are worried about his attempt to politicize the naming of judges. Some things out on the horizon concern us."
(American Civil Liberties Union)
"His best accomplishment has been his accessibility and willingness to consider differing points of view that may be opposed to his own. On the other side, injecting himself into an objective process (of selecting Supreme Court justices) is somewhat troubling."
(Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance)
"His greatest accomplishment is the efforts he has made to ensure radioactive waste facilities are not placed in Utah. His notable failures have included the ongoing gutting of the habitat section at Wildlife Resources and his lack of dialogue with the larger environmental groups in Utah."
(GOP leader of the Utah Legislature's Cowboy Caucus)
"His greatest accomplishmnet has been his energy. I have no idea how he keeps it going. He's down here in Cedar City one day with (Secretary of the Interior Bruce) Babbitt and at Hill Air Force Base the next." His shortcoming? "Not buying better-quality splicing tape for his Christmas tree."
Grade: (Declined to give one)
"I think he's done a great job. I think probably the attorney general and the governor have the best, most open working relationship in the history of state government. Getting the legislative leadership and the governor's office and my office to sit down together...has been very helpful in anticipating problems."