Huntsman Jr. wins race

By Tyler Peterson and Shalee Liston

It was Jon Huntsman Jr. who celebrated Tuesday evening among supporters at the downtown Hilton after he learned he would be Utah’s next governor.

Huntsman said he felt “humbled, honored, exuberant and a bit intimidated,” following a victory speech in which he thanked voters for their support and commented on how he respected Scott Matheson Jr. and the “issue-based” race between them.

Several U students were happy with the results.

“I agree with [Huntsman’s] stance on issues. I voted for [him] because of his strong leadership,” said Toby Collett, a junior majoring in finance. “As long as he fulfills his promises, that’s cool.”

One of the first things he spoke about was funding higher education.

“We need to pay the bills for education,” Huntsman said. “We’ve got a lot of young people coming through the ranks that are going to need jobs, and they’re going to need high-paying jobs.”

Huntsman said it was necessary to revitalize the economy before much progress could be made in higher education.

His plan involves generating more money for universities’ faculty and staff and financial aid, which would include soliciting donations from the private sector to create new scholarships.

In turn, he said he will encourage a stronger collaborative effort between local businesses and universities, according to Huntsman’s 10-point plan for higher education.

“We’re trying to find creative ways to fund higher education,” said Randall Mackey, chairperson of Huntsman’s higher education platform.

“Huntsman is moderate enough to be a bridge builder between…businesses and education,” said Taylor Morgan, government relations director for the Associated Students of the University of Utah.

Huntsman’s goal to increase pay for faculty and staff in order to improve the quality of education at universities is the number one priority of Morgan’s board this year with the state Legislature.

However, not all students agreed.

“Teachers should be teaching for the sake of teaching and not for higher salaries,” said Erin Kelleher, a freshman.

Mackey said the governor will also encourage the U to place a cap on enrollment, and said the action would increase the prestige of the U, as well as force high-school students to work harder to prepare for college.

“We want to have excellent schools that will attract everyone around the country,” he said.

Matheson accepted the defeat and went to the Hilton to meet with Huntsman in person.

“I consider Huntsman a friend and wish him well as he takes on this massive responsibility,” Matheson said.

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