Gary Herbert is the 17th Governor of Utah. In 2004, he made a choice to become Jon Huntsman, Jr.’s running mate while the two were still running for the Republican nomination for the Governor of Utah, with the result that the two went on to win. When Huntsman resigned to become the Ambassador to China in 2009, Herbert succeeded him in the position, where he has remained ever since because his state has no term limits.
1. Born and Raised in Utah
Herbert was born in the city of American Fork, which is named for the American Fork River. However, he was raised in the city of Orem, which has a reputation for being an excellent location to raise a family. Both cities can be found in Utah’s Utah County.
2. He Was Adopted
It is interesting to note that Herbert’s parents divorced when he was still a toddler. When his mother remarried, he was adopted by his new stepfather Duane Barlow Herbert, thus explaining his current surname Herbert rather than his biological father’s surname Peters. Herbert’s biological father remarried as well. However, he and his half-siblings on his father’s side were raised in different households, with the result that they have had minimal contact with each other.
3. Served a Two-Year Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints encourages young men to serve as missionaries. As such, Herbert served a two-year mission in his youth. There are Mormon missions situated in Asia, Africa, Europe, Oceania, and Latin America, meaning that some Mormon missionaries head out to very faraway locations. However, Herbert was a missionary much closer to home because he served his mission in the Eastern States Mission, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like.
4. Spent Some Time Studying at Brigham Young University
Herbert spent some time studying at Brigham Young University. Since the school is named for the second President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, it should come as no surprise to learn that it had and continues to have a very close relationship with said institution. Even now, Brigham Young University students are still required to follow a honor code that include clauses such as no tea, no coffee, no alcohol, no extramarital sex, and adherence to dress as well as grooming standards. In any case, Herbert never graduated from Brigham Young University, meaning that he has no university degree.
5. Has Encountered Issues Because of Campaign Contributions
Over the course of his political career, Herbert has encountered issues because of campaign contributions. For instance, he came under considerable criticism in May of 2016 because he offered to meet with lobbyists in exchange for campaign contributions. Herbert apologized for his actions, though he also insisted that he did nothing wrong. Besides this, it should be mentioned that there have been multiple cases of Herbert receiving campaign contributions from companies that either benefited or went on to benefit from state contracts as well as other state decisions, which might not have been particularly suspicious but was nonetheless enough to raise some eyebrows.
6. Believes that There Are Three Ingredients to Job Growth
Herbert has voiced an opinion that there are three ingredients to job growth while claiming credit for Utah’s relatively fast recovery from the economic crisis that started up in 2008. For those who are curious, the three ingredients are low taxes, limited government spending, and a business-friendly environment that encourages private investment. The first is true but much more complicated than it sounds because there are some low taxes that can have that effect with emphasis on the some. Meanwhile, the second is not an example of standard economic thinking which says that government spending can do a great deal to create jobs and otherwise bolster the economy. After all, governments are capable of just creating the jobs on their own, though doing so on a massive scale is a drastic move that tends to be reserved for dire emergencies.
7. Strong Believer in Education
Speaking of which, Herbert is a strong believer in education because he believes that it is needed to keep his state competitive as well as enpower his state’s residents to succeed. In fact, he was endorsed by the Utah Education Association in 2012, which was presumably helped by his position that seeking out talented teachers as well as retaining them was one way to ensure educational excellence.
8. Has Voiced Support for Refugees and DREAMers
It is interesting to note that Herbert has voiced support for refugees as well as DREAMers. In the first case, he has said that the United States should keep on letting in Syrian refugees, though he does think that the relevant security should be reviewed. In the second case, he has said that DREAMers should be protected rather than deported.
9. Doesn’t Take the Most Hardline Positions on Social Issues
Herbert is very far from being considered a darling of political progressives. However, he isn’t one of those Republicans who take the most hardline positions when it comes to social issues. For example, he vetoed a sex education bill that would’ve let schools choose to eliminate sex education while forcing the rest to teach abstinence-only because he thought that it went too far. Likewise, he vetoed a constitutional carry bill that would’ve let anyone that could legally possess a handgun to either open carry or concealed carry for much the same reason.
10. Very Mixed Record on LGBT Issues
On top of this, while Herbert has received plenty of criticism for his opposition as well as lack of support for LGBT rights, he has supported a ban on conversion therapy in more recent times. He has also indicated that he might support a hate crime law that covers sexual orientation as well as gender identity, though only time can tell what will come of that.