Former Utah Governor and US Ambassador to China Jon Hunstman was back in Salt Lake City Thursday after a failed run for president. He was the keynote speaker at the Economic Development Corporation of Utah’s 25 Anniversary celebration.
Huntsman kept his comments focused on the path towards successful economic development in Utah and around the country. But when the floor was opened for questions, Huntsman was asked – what is the single biggest issue in the election now? He replied, money in politics.
“Go talk to the next generation as I do on college campuses all the time. A high percentage of them are peeling off politics because they feel that their voice doesn’t matter anymore, too much money,” Huntsman told the crowd of business leaders, “It goes right to the heart and soul of what I tried inartfully and unsuccessfully to talk about during my run – short-lived – about the trust deficit.”
Huntsman said Americans do not trust their elected officials or institutions of power. He said the answer is to address campaign finance and term limits. As for the economy, Huntsman was optimistic. He said that a manufacturing renaissance is coming to the US, and that Utah is poised to lead.
“It’s going to happen, I can already see those stages of economic recovery,” Huntsman told KUER, “and this state should be out there well ahead of everybody else.”
Huntsman was honored later in the evening at the Equality Utah annual fundraising gala. He received the Allies for Equality Award, in part for his advocacy of civil unions.
“I got hit for it, and I got hit pretty hard, but that’s OK, because in the end you have to look yourself in the mirror and say, are you doing what you feel is right for all of the people? I think equality under the law is an American value. I think it’s one that Abraham Lincoln would be championing if he were around today,” Hunstman told reporters.
About two thousand people attended the gala.