Salt Lake City, Utah- (ABC4 Utah) - State lawmakers from both chambers packed the House floor for the annual State of the State Address.
Governor Gary Herbert says when he first took office our state, like others was struggling through the recession, but now he says life is good in the Beehive State.
“Thanks to the collective efforts of the lawmakers and officials gathered here tonight, and primarily thanks to the hard work and cooperation of the people of Utah, I can say emphatically that the state of our state is truly exceptional,” said Herbert, (R) Utah.
But, he says there's still work to do, with education being the top priority.
He's launching a new initiative called Talent Ready Utah to make sure our state is ready to meet future demand.
The plan is to recruit hundreds of businesses across the state to partner with and invest in education.
“We anticipate that Talent Ready Utah will help fill 40,000 new high-skill, high-paying jobs over the next four years.”
The governor pitched the importance of growing the economy to fund education, collecting unpaid taxes from online sales and efforts to clean up our air.
He applauded efforts to reform alcohol laws, which include the fall of the Zion Curtain.
He called on everyone to work together to end homelessness and drug addiction.
“Let us, as a state be absolutely clear that we will no longer tolerate the unconscionable drug trade that victimizes the most vulnerable in our community. Let us all agree tonight that this absolutely must stop.”
House and senate democrats stand united with a message of their own.
“Democrats don't disagree about the need for policies in the state of Utah that ensure economic vitality, but those policies should always focus on real people and we must keep in mind that corporations are not people,” said House Minority Leader Brian King.
King says republicans have stifled efforts to keep the focus on real people, but he says democrats remain resolute in the fight for all Utahns.
“We need people to be paid a living wage, receive equal pay for equal work and have access to paid family leave. We need to commit the resources to improve our education system, our air quality and access to health care,” said King.
This address is the 8th for Governor Herbert and marks the beginning of his final term in office.
He has said he will not run again.
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