Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, a Republican who has received national attention for his calls for political civility, had a message Thursday for conservatives lawmakers throughout the nation: They could have one thing to be taught from Utah.
The state’s “secret sauce,” Cox mentioned, is what “we affectionately consult with because the ‘Utah method,’” or “our potential to work collectively” on divisive points.
“I’m deeply frightened in regards to the polarization that’s occurring in our nation as we proceed to change into increasingly more divided,” Cox mentioned to a crowd of about 1,500 legislators gathered within the ballroom of the Grand America Resort in Salt Lake Metropolis for the American Legislative Alternate Council’s annual convention.
Thursday marked the second day of the three-day, pro-federalism, pro-limited authorities occasion that includes dozens of workshops for lawmakers on nationwide, state and native points. In entrance of the identical crowd the day earlier than, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential Republican presidential candidate, struck a distinct tone as he slammed the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention for its up to date masks pointers and vowed to struggle attainable future federal restrictions.
Cox, throughout his speech, needed to elevate his voice to be heard over the rumble of the group as they settled in for his or her lunch, many chatting to 1 one other all through the governor’s speech. In an try to handle the noise, a number of employees members roamed between the tables with their index finger held as much as their lips.
Regardless of what gave the impression to be solely a partially-attentive crowd, Cox powered by means of his speech, urging extra conservatives all through the nation to undertake the “Utah method.”
Despite the fact that Utah is a conservative state with a Republican-controlled supermajority in each the Home and Senate, Cox mentioned, “we’ve tried to deliver individuals collectively who disagree with us, individuals who see the world very in another way than us.”
“We don’t want different voices,” Cox mentioned. “We will do our factor, and we will move our legal guidelines, and we will simply make it occur. However that’s not the most effective of us. We discovered that we will have higher options, that we will deliver individuals alongside, people who find themselves marginalized, individuals who really feel like they don’t have a voice. We don’t must do it, however we do it as a result of it results in higher coverage.”
Utah, Cox mentioned, has a “legislature that understands that.”
For example, Cox pointed to a 2015 compromise between the Utah Legislature, the LGBTQ community, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The ensuing laws, SB296, sought to steadiness nondiscrimination protections to lesbian, homosexual bisexual and transgender Utahns and spiritual freedom protections.
The invoice added sexual orientation and gender id to Utah’s anti-discrimination legal guidelines for housing and employment, whereas additionally clarifying exemptions for spiritual establishments and offering protections for spiritual expression. The Utah Legislature quickly handed the invoice into regulation, and it turned mannequin laws throughout the nation.
“When the remainder of the nation was being divided by the problem of freedom of worship and the problem of defending our LGBTQ neighborhood … right here in Utah we thought, ‘There needs to be a greater method,’” Cox mentioned. “And we discovered that higher method by coming collectively and collaborating.”
Since then, Cox mentioned the “Utah method” has been utilized to different controversial points, together with medical marijuana, immigration reform, and prison justice reform.
At the start of his speech, Cox briefly highlighted Utah’s financial success, together with its 2.7% unemployment charge and the way the state has been acknowledged by teams together with the American Legislative Alternate Council as having the most effective economic system within the nation.
Whereas constructing its economic system, Cox mentioned Utah has additionally “helped individuals really feel extra welcome right here.”
That, Cox mentioned, is what Republicans must do for his or her celebration’s survival.
“Extra importantly, we broadened our tent,” Cox mentioned. “As a conservative governor, I really feel strongly that we have to do extra to deliver individuals into our celebration, to not outline them out of our celebration.”
Cox additionally took a while out of his speech to again restricted authorities beliefs — saying the founders of Utah and the nation understood that authorities “was by no means designed” to unravel all issues. He pointed to Utah’s part-time legislature, which is just normally session 45 days out of the 12 months.
However to maintain authorities small, Cox mentioned it’s as much as people.
“If we wish smaller authorities, we want greater individuals,” he mentioned, drawing applause from the group. “We’d like folks that care about our neighbors. We’d like folks that step up. We’d like folks that work for spiritual organizations, that work by means of nonprofit organizations. We’ve to deal with our neighbors.
“Sadly we now have an epidemic of loneliness on this nation,” Cox added, “and it’s resulting in depths of despair. We’re seeing suicide charges skyrocket. We’re seeing individuals which can be hooked on opioids.”
These points are impacting rural areas, poor areas and multicultural areas alike, Cox mentioned.
“It’s incumbent on you, on all of us as leaders in our communities to step up,” he mentioned. “Not simply in our legislative service … however in our neighbor’s service. We’ve to know who our neighbors are. We’ve to care about them. Even when — particularly if — they see the world in another way than us.”
Solely then, Cox mentioned, “will our trigger develop, and can we have the ability to scale back authorities and proceed to revive America into the greatness that it deserves.”