At that point, our guide taught us a profound lesson as she shared that when the first settlers arrived in 1847 the entire valley looked like the desert area by the lake. She went on to make the point that every single tree we could see in the lush valley below had been planted, watered and nourished.
I often think of the words of our tour guide as I view the grandeur of the Salt Lake Valley. Our inheritance from those early pioneers and subsequent generations includes not only the physical benefits of their labor, but also a heritage of self-sufficiency and a willingness to commit the requisite hard work necessary to be the architects of our own destiny.
Governor Herbert’s “self-determination” cornerstone encapsulates the heritage that drives us to address Utah problems with Utah solutions. Whether it’s entitlement reform, public lands, or immigration, in Utah we do not expect others to solve our problems.
To that end, the Governor has established the following objectives for Utah’s self-determination:
Objective 1: Become the healthiest people in the nation through innovation, market principles and health care reform.
Objective 2: Promote rural economic progress while protecting our natural treasures by ensuring appropriate multiple-use of public lands.
Objective 3: Work with the Congressional Delegation and Legislature to identify and implement practical solutions to address illegal immigration.
The action items in the Governor’s 2012 workplan to accomplish those objectives include:
- Increase the efficiency of healthcare markets by providing accurate information on cost and quality to insurers, providers and consumers through multiple channels including the All Payer Database and the Clinical Health Information Exchange.
- Ensure the Utah Health Exchange remains a defined contribution program based on principles of free market and consumer choice and begin the process of moving it to a non-profit model.
- Control the rising cost of Medicaid by securing federal waivers and working to alleviate the burden of federal mandates.
- Facilitate SITLA land exchanges to increase funding for public schools while protecting pristine public lands.
- Use the Governor’s Balanced Resource Council to help resolve public land issues and advance a process to sustain our natural treasures through practical, collaborative problem-solving.
- Hold the line against unconstitutional federal government erosion of state authority through the federalism subcommittee of the Constitutional Defense Council.
When the first settlers entered the Salt Lake Valley they didn’t look around and ask who was going to build their shelter, find their water or plant their crops. They knew their survival depended on their own self-determination. We must move forward with that same attitude and determination, and get to work on the challenges of our day to ensure continued progress and prosperity.