The Utah House of Representatives opened this year’s legislative session with some bold remarks from Republican Speaker Rebecca Lockhart, challenging Governor Gary Herbert.
Just like speeches from years’ past, Speaker Lockhart railed against the over-reach of the federal government, and insisted that Utah resist. But this time, she targeted Governor Herbert who has recently said that he favors some limited expansion of Medicaid in the state.
“Let us all encourage the Governor to lead and not just follow, to be innovative and not just reactive. We need energy in the executive and not an inaction figure in the Governor’s Office,” Lockhart reads from a prepared speech. “I cannot support and cannot understand why anyone would propose to saddle Utah any further with Obamacare, the most costly and catastrophic federal mandate of all.”
Democratic representative Carol Spackman Moss was disappointed to hear the speaker’s words, suggesting that Lockhart has political ambitions.
“I felt she kind of called him out on that one, and drew a line in the sand that I think is unfortunate. It sounds awfully political to me. It sounds like a challenge, and I don’t think you should be playing politics with the lives of those tens of thousands of people who will benefit by healthcare and already are,” Moss says.
In her speech, Lockhart also took a strong stand against a gas tax this session, which has been proposed by a fellow house Republican. She called for a renaissance in education, though she did not suggest that more funding should be supplied. And the speaker called for creative solutions to air quality issues.