Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The case for Jon Huntsman

I had the privilege to live in the great state of Utah for 7 1/2 years. During some of that time, I was fortunate to live in the parochial district and neighborhood of Jon Huntsman, two term governor of Utah.

Jon Huntsman is a compassionate conservative, fiscally prudent, supporter of civil unions which he championed while governor. He is also fully cognizant of the fact that Utah is essentially a theocracy, given that some 70% of residents are members of the Mormon faith. Jon Huntsman teamed up with an unlikely ally - Rocky Anderson - the former mayor of Salt Lake in order to overhaul the archaic and restrictive liquor laws which were in sore need of a revisit since their inception. Jon Huntsman realized that the constrictive laws were costing business revenue and tourist revenue to the state as many would not come and visit given that in order to get an alcoholic beverage (hard liquor), one had to become a "member" of a private club with a fee ranging from $5 to as high as $25 for a year. One could get a friend or club member to sponsor them, but that was easier said than done. That this staunch Republican and Governor could collaborate with a staunch ACLU Democrat and mayor in order to right such an aggregious wrong is testament to the governor's ability to cross party lines for the good of his state and its people.

Jon Huntsman supported civil unions - again, not an easy thing to do, given his staunch and devout Mormon faith. Salt Lake City has a surprisingly large gay community thankfully. Gay pride, the Pride Center, Equality Utah are all part of what makes the community so wonderfully vibrant. Jon gets that while he might differ with gay marriage based on his religion, he should not and does not usurp his beliefs on others. Whilst living in Utah I campaigned against a ballot initiative defining marriage as between one man and one woman - Amendment 3 - unfortunately the amendment passed - this in a state where polygamy - that is, marriage between one man and several women - was what the state was founded on and is practiced to this day in some enclaves.

Jon Huntsman's economic development vision made Utah number one in the nation for economy and job creation - mostly through private corporations and small business - tax incentives are how he accomplished this - his vision is remarkable and broad.

I love that he has spent time living in another country - China of all places - our ally and foe economically and militarily speaking - he knows that there is a significant trade deficit between the two countries and the disparity between what China takes in versus what they ship out is growing exponentially.

He might have come late to the party but in this former political appointee's opinion, he is the best candidate the GOP has put forth thus far - yes, even better than flip-flopper Mitt Romney.

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