Gary Richard Herbert (born May 7, 1947) is an American politician
serving as the 17th and current
Governor of Utah
Governor of Utah since 2009. A member
of the Republican Party, he chaired the National Governors Association
during the 2015–2016 cycle.
Born in American Fork, Utah, Herbert served for 2 years as a
missionary in the eastern
United States following his graduation from
high school, then attended
Brigham Young University
Brigham Young University and joined the
Utah Army National Guard. After serving in the National Guard, Herbert
began a career in real estate and opened his own firm. Herbert won a
seat on the
Utah County Commission in 1990, where he served 14 years.
Herbert also served as presidents of the
Utah Association of Counties
Utah Association of Realtors.
After initially running for the Republican nomination for governor in
2004, Herbert teamed up with ambassador and businessman Jon Huntsman
as his running mate in the general election. Herbert was sworn in as
Lieutenant Governor of Utah
Lieutenant Governor of Utah in 2005, serving one full term and part of
another term until he assumed the governorship on August 11, 2009,
following the resignation of Governor Huntsman, who was appointed to
serve as the
United States Ambassador to China by President Barack
Obama. Herbert was elected to serve out the remainder of the term in a
special election in 2010, defeating Democratic nominee Salt Lake
Peter Corroon with 64% of the vote. He won election to a
full four-year term in 2012, defeating Democratic Businessman Peter
Cooke with 68% of the vote and was re-elected to a second full
four-year term in 2016. In an early 2017 statement, Herbert declined
to say if he will run again for election in 2020.
1 Early life, education and career
2 Political career
Utah County Commission
2.2 2004 election
2.3 Lieutenant Governor of Utah
2.4 2008 election
2.5 Governor of Utah
3 Political positions
3.3 Gay rights
3.4 Gun rights
3.5 Tenth Amendment
4.1 Campaign contributions
4.2 UDOT's $13,000,000 payment to second-place finisher in highway
4.3 Governor signs House Bill 477
4.4 Governor signs House Bill 187
5 Media appearances
6 Electoral history
8 External links
Early life, education and career
Herbert was born in American Fork, the son of Carol (Boley) and Paul
Richard Peters. He was later adopted by his stepfather, Duane
Barlow Herbert. Governor Herbert grew up in Orem, Utah. He
graduated from Orem High School, served a two-year mission for the LDS
Church in the Eastern States Mission and later attended Brigham Young
University, but did not graduate.
He is married to Jeanette Snelson Herbert; they have six children and
sixteen grandchildren. Mrs. Herbert was born in Preston, Idaho,
and moved with her family as a young child to Springville, Utah. She
is Honorary Chair of the Governor's Commission on Literacy.
Herbert served for six years as a member of the
Utah Army National
Guard, becoming a staff sergeant. Following his time in the National
Guard, he set up a real estate firm, Herbert and Associates Realtors.
Mrs Herbert ran a child care service, The Kids Connection.
Utah County Commission
Between 1990 and 2004, Herbert served as a commissioner on the Utah
County Commission. During his time as a commissioner, Herbert also
served as presidents of the
Utah Association of Counties and the Utah
Association of Realtors.
In November 2003, Herbert began campaigning for the Republican
nomination for Governor of Utah. In April 2004, a month before the
state convention at which the gubernatorial nominee would be selected,
Herbert joined forces with then-rival Jon Huntsman, Jr., becoming the
latter's running mate. The Huntsman-Herbert ticket defeated
Olene S. Walker at the convention, before going on
to win in the November election. Herbert subsequently became
Lieutenant Governor of Utah
Herbert's central role as lieutenant governor was running the state
electoral office and managing the campaign disclosure system. His
record on those responsibilities was somewhat mixed, improving
standards marginally but seeing the state slip overall on nationwide
rankings published by the Campaign Disclosure Project. Moreover,
Herbert's office was criticized for failing to enforce campaign
disclosure laws more vigorously. In 2007, Herbert oversaw the
first statewide voter referendum to take place since the creation of
the Lieutenant Governor's post.
During his time as lieutenant governor, Herbert also served as the
chairman of numerous statewide commissions, including the Commission
on Volunteers and the Commission on Civic and Character Education and
the Emergency Management Administrative Council.
Huntsman and Herbert faced little opposition during their 2008
campaign for re-election, avoiding a primary election after achieving
a plurality of votes at the state Republican Party convention. The
Republican ticket was re-elected to office with a record 77 percent of
Governor of Utah
Utah gubernatorial special election, 2010
Governor of Utah
Governor of Utah on August 11, 2009, following the
resignation of Governor Jon Huntsman to become Ambassador to
China. As the Republican gubernatorial nominee in the 2010 special
election, he defeated his Democratic opponent, Salt Lake County Mayor
Peter Corroon, by 64% to 32%.
Utah gubernatorial election, 2012
In 2012, Herbert defeated his Democratic opponent, retired Major
General Peter Cooke, winning election to a full four-year term by 69%
Important legislation included the passage of the
Utah Transfer of
Public Lands Act which Herbert signed into law on 23 March 2012, and
will become effective after 2014.
From 2014-2015, Herbert served as the vice chair for the National
Governors Association and is serving as the chair of the association
for the year 2015-2016.
Utah gubernatorial election, 2016
Herbert won re-election to a second full term, defeating Democratic
nominee, entrepreneur Mike Weinholtz.
In a 2010 statement, Herbert took partial credit for Utah's relatively
quick recovery from the economic crisis which began in 2008, stating:
The best methods to foster job growth are not complex or secret, but
require discipline: low taxes, limited government spending, and a
focus on a business friendly environment to encourage private capital
As of December 1, 2009, the
Utah State Governor's website showed that
Herbert listed "public and higher education" as one of four
"priorities." (The other three listed priorities were "economic
development", "energy security" and "infrastructure"). The
Governor's site explained that
Utah must improve its public education
system to remain competitive and to empower its individual citizens to
succeed, and the site said that "attracting and retaining the best
teachers into our schools" was a way
Utah could accomplish educational
excellence. In his 2012 re-election bid, Herbert was endorsed by
Utah Education Association.
In March 2012, Herbert vetoed a controversial sex education bill,
HB363, which would have allowed schools to stop teaching sex education
entirely and would have required those that kept the lessons to teach
abstinence only. In vetoing it, Herbert said "HB363 simply goes too
far by constricting parental options... I cannot sign a bill that
deprives parents of their choice".
This article may lend undue weight to certain ideas, incidents, or
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before removing this message. (September 2016)
Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City has passed a non-discrimination ordinance which would
protect gay and lesbian people from discrimination in employment and
housing. A member of the
Utah Legislature has indicated he would seek
a statewide law to prevent cities from passing ordinances related to
civil rights. As a strong supporter of local control, Herbert has
said he believes municipalities should have the right to pass rules
and ordinances absent state interference.
On August 27, 2009, Herbert indicated at a news conference that he did
not support making sexual orientation a legally protected class,
saying: "We don't have to have a rule for everybody to do the right
thing. We ought to just do the right thing because it's the right
thing to do and we don't have to have a law that punishes us if we
The gay rights advocacy group Equality Utah, which seeks to expand
anti-discrimination laws to cover gay people, criticised Herbert's
statements and expressed the view that he did not fully comprehend the
challenges faced by gay people in Utah.
Following the legalization of same-sex marriage in
Utah by a US
district court ruling on December 20, 2013, Herbert's office issued a
statement immediately following the ruling: "I am very disappointed an
activist federal judge is attempting to override the will of the
people of Utah. I am working with my legal counsel and the acting
Attorney General to determine the best course to defend traditional
marriage within the borders of Utah." Shortly thereafter, the
Attorney General's office did indeed request an emergency stay to stop
further same-sex marriages from occurring in the state.
After elected officials in Oregon and Pennsylvania chose not to defend
same-sex marriage bans from constitutional challenge, Herbert
expressed his disappointment by saying, "For elected officials ... to,
say, pick and choose which laws they will enforce, I think, is a
tragedy and the next step toward anarchy." He disagreed with the
comparison between same-sex marriage and interracial marriage, saying,
"Clearly the actions involved in sexual activity ultimately end up
being choices. What your attraction may be is something else, but how
you act upon those impulses is a choice."
On March 12, 2015, Herbert, in a special ceremony, signed into law a
bill prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and
gender identity in employment and housing in the state of Utah,
becoming the 19th state to do so. Later that year, Herbert was
criticized by LGBT activists for planning to hold the welcome address
at the World Congress of Families' congress in Salt Lake City.
Herbert is a moderate supporter of the right to bear arms, in 2010
signing state Senate Bill 11, which protects the right of Utah-based
companies to manufacture firearms for sale and use within the State.
However, Herbert vetoed a
Constitutional Carry bill in 2013 (The bill
would have allowed open or concealed carry without a permit by anyone
who can legally possess a handgun.), and in a 2018 interview, he
said “I don’t know that there’s any reason to have anything more
than a seven- or nine-shot magazine. Once you get past a typical size
when you go out hunting, you’re probably having excess baggage you
Herbert is a vocal supporter of the 10th Amendment, arguing that the
Federal government has gradually taken over duties that are better
served by state governments:
We should never forget that the states created the federal government,
not the other way around. In today's political environment, it is all
too easy to feel an increasing temptation to let Washington take care
of us in a variety of ways. But we know from experience that a
government closest to the people is more responsive, more effective,
and costs the taxpayers less money.
Merit gave separate $25,000 checks to the Herbert campaign on November
2, 2009, and January 21, 2010, and Herbert and Lampropoulos met in
October 2009. In December 2009, Merit got $4.4 million in tax credits.
Lampropoulos has publicly endorsed Herbert and appears in a television
commercial supporting Herbert's reelection bid.
In February 2010,
The Deseret News
The Deseret News reported that Herbert's campaign
had received a $10,000 donation from Alton Coal Development, a coal
company that had complained about delays in regulators issuing a
permit for strip-mining. The Associated Press reported that a
memorandum they had obtained showed that state regulators later agreed
to fast-track a decision regarding the permit, despite environmental
concerns from local residents. According to a businessman who lives
near the proposed mine, regulators arrived within days of a meeting
between Herbert and the coal company, and they felt pressure to make a
quick decision. A
Utah regulator said that this was not the case and
that Herbert did not make any orders about whether to issue a permit.
A spokeswoman for Herbert said that he was not aware of the donation,
and that given his long-term support of the energy industry, it was
not surprising that Alton made a donation.
In September 2010, KSL TV reported another instance of Herbert
accepting campaign donations from companies who benefited from state
contracts related to the I-15 CORE rebuild in
state's biggest ever road project. Three teams vied for the contract.
One gave the governor's campaign no money, another gave $35,000. The
third team, Provo River Constructors, gave Herbert's campaign much
more. Wadsworth Brothers Construction and partners Ames, Ralph
Wadsworth and Fluor have contributed more than $80,000. Around the
time most of those donations came in Guy Wadsworth got two meetings
with the governor, apparently something no other bidding team had. A
month later, the state awarded the $1.725 billion contract to Provo
KSL TV also reported that Herbert had meetings with, and received
donations from Fred Lampropoulos, CEO of Merit Medical, months before
the Governor’s Office of Economic Development awarded a tax break to
Merit to expand its business in Utah.
In May 2016, Herbert was criticized for unethical campaign
fund-raising activity. In a tape that was made without his knowledge,
as Herbert was trying to get donors to contribute his campaign finance
money, Herbert said that he would go anywhere and do whatever it
takes. "I'm available. I'm available Jones!" he was heard saying on
the tape. Although he did say that there would be no quid pro quo he
also said to the lobbyists in attendance that even if he did not agree
with them that he would make them happy. Herbert's Republican
Jonathan E. Johnson
Jonathan E. Johnson said that he was so upset that he was
physically shaking when he heard what Herbert did. Herbert's
Mike Weinholtz promised that if he were elected to
be Utah's governor, that he work to change the laws of
Utah so that
what Herbert did would be illegal.
Later in May 2016, Herbert apologized, saying that he regretted his
actions and the actions of his campaign, but he said that he did
nothing wrong. Herbert said that he was apologizing for his remarks
earlier in the month, when he said "I'm available. I'm available
Jones." which was a saying from a character in Lil Abner comic strips
in which the character was always available to do something for a
UDOT's $13,000,000 payment to second-place finisher in highway
On September 13, 2010,
Utah Department of Transportation admitted to
paying $13,000,000 to prevent a lawsuit by the second-place finisher
Flatiron/Skanska/Zachry (FSZ) for the Interstate 15 rebuild project in
Utah County. UDOT admitted that after “adjustments” were made to
the scoring system, the 1.7 billion dollar contract was awarded to
Provo River Constructors (PRC) after winning the bidding process by a
single point. UDOT claimed the $13,000,000 payment to FSZ was to avoid
any further or pending legal action. Peter Corroon's campaign
questioned whether this was related to a $87,500 donation made by PRC
to Herbert's campaign. In a press conference on the same day,
Herbert denied any knowledge of the $13,000,000 payoff to FSZ.
However, on September 21, 2010 ABC4 reported that on September 9 four
days before Herbert press conference UDOT informed Jason Perry, the
Governor's Chief of Staff of a payment. On September 13, hours before
Herbert's press conference, UDOT again informed Perry of a payoff and
also specified the amount of the payment.
Governor signs House Bill 477
During the 2011 legislative session, Herbert signed into law House
Bill 477 after it passed through the legislature in three days. The
bill would have drastically reduced the ability of citizens to access
public records, especially records of Legislators. After large
public outcry, Herbert announced he would sign the bill yet also call
a special session to repeal the new law. The law was repealed two
weeks later, and Herbert was criticized for costing the state $30,000
for not simply vetoing the bill when he first had a chance.
Governor signs House Bill 187
On March 20, 2012, Herbert signed into law House Bill 187, dealing
with "Agricultural Operation Interference" despite several individuals
and organizations urging him veto it. The new law makes it a crime to
take pictures or sound recordings while on the property of any
agricultural production facility, even if the person is not
trespassing (e.g. an employee of said facility) and even if the person
is not interfering with anything (i.e. if nobody knows the recording
is taking place). Offenders are guilty of a class B misdemeanor.
Critics of the bill say that the law creates a safe haven for animal
abuse and other criminal activity and that it adds nothing
beneficial to legitimate operations. Proponents of the bill state
that the purpose of the legislation is to prevent whistleblowers from
unfairly damaging farming operations. The Humane Society has many
examples of undercover videos that this bill is meant to prevent.
Herbert had a cameo in the low budget movie Sharknado: The 4th Awakens
Dan Farr of Salt Lake Comic Con.
Special Election, 2010
Gary Herbert (inc.)
Michael William Heath
Utah Governor Election, 2012
Gary Herbert (inc.)
Utah Governor Republican Primary Election, 2016
Gary Herbert (inc.)
^ Press, Associated. "Governor
Gary Herbert declines to say if he'll
run for re-election". Daily Herald. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
^ Daily Herald (6 October 2011). "Carol Boley Herbert". Daily Herald.
Retrieved 20 April 2016.
^ Deseret News (12 January 2010). "Governor Herbert's father, Duane
Barlow Herbert, dies of cancer". DeseretNews.com. Retrieved 20 April
^ a b c "
Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert". Utah.gov. State of Utah.
Archived from the original on 20 August 2009. Retrieved 17 December
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^ ""Person 2 Person: Governor Gary Herbert"". KUTV 2News Utah. July 2,
2013. Archived from the original on 9 July 2013. Retrieved 2 July
^ "First Lady Jeanette Herbert". State of Utah.
^ "Governor Gary Richard Herbert (UT)". Retrieved August 20,
^ "Huntsman, Herbert join forces". Deseret News (Utah). April 12,
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^ "Gary Herbert's record: Prelude to leadership". Salt Lake Tribune.
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Utah Code, 67-1a-10". Retrieved August 20, 2009.
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^ a b "Herbert takes the oath as
Utah governor". Daily Herald (Utah).
August 12, 2009. Retrieved August 20, 2009.
^ Kessler, Mori (2012-03-23). "Gov. Herbert signs public lands
transfer act". St George News. Retrieved 2014-12-07.
Utah to seize own land from government, challenge federal dominance
of Western states : 'Transfer of Public Lands Act' demands
Washington relinquish 31.2 million acres by Dec. 31". Washington
Times. 2014-12-03. Retrieved 2014-12-07.
^ Lisa Riley Roche (19 February 2015). "Gov.
Gary Herbert plans lesson
on federalism as
National Governors Association
National Governors Association chairman".
DeseretNews.com. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
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December 1, 2009.
Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert web site, Priorities:Public and
Higher Education page". Retrieved December 1, 2009.
^ Benjamin Wood (23 May 2012). "Herbert endorsed by UEA political
action committee". DeseretNews.com. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
^ Brubaker, Ladd (17 March 2012). "Will Herbert's veto reset the
conversation on sex education?". Deseret News. Retrieved 18 March
^ "Herbert vetoes sex-ed bill, says it constricts parental choice".
Salt Lake Tribune. 16 March 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
^ Winters, Brock A. (August 26, 2009). "Salt Lake nondiscrimination
effort under fire". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2009-08-27.
^ Gehrke, Robert (August 28, 2009). "Herbert: No 'protected class'
status based on sexual orientation". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved
^ a b Vergakis, Brock A. (August 28, 2009). "Gays aren't in protected
Utah Gov. Herbert says". Associated Press/Los Angeles Times.
^ The Salt Lake Tribune. "
Utah Local News -
Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City News,
Sports, Archive - The Salt Lake Tribune". Retrieved 20 April
Utah AG requests judge to stop same-sex marriages Archived
2013-12-21 at the Wayback Machine.
^ Gehrke, Robert (May 22, 2014). "Herbert says states have a duty to
defend gay-marriage bans". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved May 24,
^ "Gov. Herbert signs Utah's LGBT non-discrimination bill into law as
supporters cheer". fox13now.com. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
Utah Gov. Will Welcome Anti-LGBT Conference to State, The Advocate,
^ Woodruff, Daniel (September 26, 2016). "UHP lieutenant, state
lawmaker to push for relaxed concealed carry laws in Utah". kutv.com.
Retrieved September 29, 2016.
^ "Utah's governor says it may be time to raise the age to buy an
assault rifle and limit the rounds it can fire". The Salt Lake
Tribune. Retrieved 2018-02-27.
^ a b "Large donations raise questions of influence in governor's
race". Retrieved September 14, 2010.
Gary Herbert given $10K by Alton Coal Development".
Retrieved September 14, 2010.
^ "KUTV 2 News: Governor Herbert admits to his own overzealousness in
soliciting campaign contributions from lobbyists. Jonathan Johnson and
Mike Wienholtz are upset".
^ "Yahoo News:
Gary Herbert apologizes for 2016 campaign finance
controversy, yet asserts that he did nothing wrong".
^ "Lehi firm won I-15 job after scoring tweaked". Retrieved September
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^ "Senate Republicans may block quick HB477 repeal". Retrieved July
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^ "Herbert signs so-called 'ag-gag' bill". Retrieved May 7,
^ "HB 187: Drive that tractor on through". Retrieved May 7,
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^ "HSUS Video-Factory Farming". Archived from the original on May 12,
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Lieutenant Governor of Utah
Governor of Utah
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Party political offices
Republican nominee for Governor of Utah
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Governors of Utah
State (since 1896)
Lieutenant Governors of Utah
Chairs of the National Governors Association
Current governors and executives of U.S. states and territories
President of the United States:
Donald Trump (R)
B. Walker (I)
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Political party affiliations:
Republican: 35 (33 states, 2 territories)
Democratic: 19 (16 states, 2 territories, 1 district)
Independent: 2 (1 state, 1 territory)
Current statewide political officials of Utah
Gary Herbert, Governor
Spencer Cox, Lieutenant Governor
Sean Reyes, Attorney General
Richard Ellis, Treasurer
John Dougall, Auditor
Michael Waddoups, President
Scott Jenkins, Majority Leader
Ross Romero, Minority Leader
Greg Hughes, Speaker
Brad Dee, Majority Leader
David Litvack, Minority Leader
Supreme Court (appointed)
Matthew Durrant, Chief Justice
Thomas Lee, Associate Chief Justice
Constandinos Himonas, Justice
John Pearce, Justice
Paige Petersen, Justice