Hunsaker: legislature less diverse, more polarized

He has been the State District 4 representative twice, from 1990 to 1997 and then again from 2004 to the present time. For much of that time, Republican Fred Hunsaker has also been Utah State University’s Vice President for Business and Finance, a position he retired from almost a year ago. Most people consider Hunsaker to be a political moderate and a lawmaker willing to really listen to constituents. On KVNU’s Crosstalk show Monday, Hunsaker said when he went back to the legislature in 2004 things had changed, there seemed to be less diversity there and lawmakers had become more polarized. “We have people on the far ends that are not willing to make compromises,” Hunsaker lamented. “They have principles that they will not deviate from. But there’s still a core, mainstream group that wants to move the state forward.” Hunsaker chose not to seek re-election this year and admits he has mixed emotions because he has enjoyed his experiences in the state legislature. He says a lot of his time has been spent cutting budgets, not only in the legislature but also at USU. The former banker says it is tough to see the state’s unemployment rate so high and he believes jobs will be the key to making the economy strong again. However, he says, it will take time. “I think over a few years purchases will pick up,” Hunsaker continued, “people will be buying things and that will create need for more manufacturing, more production and in turn we will be hiring more people. “We will see our unemployment down, well under five percent in Utah in the future.” Hunsaker says we will probably not see much improvement until the last part of next year but after that he believes we will see a lot more job hiring. He says it takes a lot of new jobs to keep up with the new people coming in.

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