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Jon Huntsman Jr.: Why I’m running for governor

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Former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. speaks during a virtual forum featuring the Republican primary gubernatorial candidates at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City on Thursday, May 7, 2020.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Editor’s note: In anticipation of the June 30 primary elections, each of the four Republican candidates for governor are making their case in the Deseret News this week. See the sidebar below to read op-eds from former Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox and former Utah GOP Chairman Thomas Wright.

As we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and work to heal divisions that persist in our community, there is one thing we can all agree on: The person we choose to lead us through these difficult times matters. The decisions made over the next four years will impact our state for decades to come. 

I am running for governor because I want to put my experience to work for the people of our state. As a community, we are only beginning to see the impact of the pandemic. But I see clearly how Utah can do more than just recover economically; I see how we can be reborn as the crossroads of the world. 

The policies we put into place during my service as governor, including the largest tax cut in state history, laid the foundation for 15 years of economic growth and helped us emerge stronger than ever from the Great Recession of 2008-09. 

GOP Candidate op-eds

In anticipation of the June 30 primary elections, each of the four Republican candidates for governor are making their case in the Deseret News this week.


Read the op-ed from Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes.

Read the op-ed from former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.

Read the op-ed from former Utah GOP Chairman Thomas Wright.

Read the op-ed from Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox.










Today, Utah needs a new vision, and my economic plan will double our economy over the next 10 years. By seizing opportunities in three emerging economic sectors — biotechnology, defense technology and financial technology — we can extend prosperity to every part of our state, increase funding for education, effectively manage our rapid growth, reclaim much of our public lands and declare war on the insidious disease of mental illness.  

With 1 in every 10 Utahns out of work today, we face unsurpassed economic challenges that impact our businesses and families. This is no time for small thinking. Utah is poised to truly emerge as a global player, to become a highly attractive destination for capital and talent. Now is the time for experienced leadership with a proven track record of bringing people together to create enduring prosperity.

I have answered the call to serve our country as U.S. ambassador to Russia, China and Singapore. I have served our state as governor. And I am committed to serving the duration of any term to which I am elected. Our federal service is done. Utah is our home and the Huntsmans aren’t going anywhere. 

Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi is a remarkable leader who has guided one of Utah’s largest cities through the pandemic crisis and shows a commitment to investing in critical infrastructure. Her extensive background in education and her boots-on-the-ground experience in local government will bring an important perspective to our administration.  

Utah has always been known as the crossroads of the West. As governor, I will settle for nothing less than Utah becoming the crossroads of the world. As you consider the choices on your ballot this month, I ask for your vote.