LOGAN — The bi-monthly Direct Link with Governor Spencer J. Cox was held Tuesday evening and hosted by Steve Evans of radio station KVEL in Vernal. It was broadcast by radio stations across the state originating from the Logan studios of News/Talk KVNU.
Evans passed along the appreciation of Uintah Basin officials for the governor’s support of the Uintah Rail Project that will benefit families and the economic base of the area. The Governor likewise expressed appreciation for their hard work in moving the project along that will benefit the entire state.
“We’re not to the finish line yet, but I don’t think people understand how important that infrastructure is in getting that rail line built…not just the people in the Uintah Basin but everyone in the state. So much of the money that we have for our schools comes from the royalties that are paid on those oil and gas deposits.
“Not only that, but the price of gasoline which is far too high in Utah will come down as we are able to transport the oil and gas from the basin,” said the governor.
On the heels of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s sudden resignation on Tuesday, a caller, while wishing the governor a long term, asked about the transition in Utah between governor and the lieutenant governor, should the need ever arise.
“A really terrible situation in New York and the reports that have come out of there and those women that were abused by the governor, I’m disgusted by those types of things. But it’s a very good question, one that we take seriously having served as a lieutenant governor myself.
“Governor (Gary) Herbert told me that my job was to be ready because you do never know. ‘I could walk out of here tonight and get hit by a bus and then the lieutenant governor would be governor.’”
He said he and Lieutenant Governor Deidre Henderson work as a team and the state follows the model of the President and Vice-President by allowing candidates for governor to choose their lieutenant governor.
He said, unfortunately, that protocol is not followed in all states, such as Idaho.
“Their governor and lieutenant governor are elected separately and they are not a team. They have had some very contentious issues there. It’s different, too, in Idaho, if the governor ever leaves the state to go to meetings then the lieutenant governor is the governor and gets to act as governor.
“When their governor went to some National Governor’s Association meetings the lieutenant governor stepped in and tried to issue some of her own executive orders and mandates. That’s not how the system is supposed to work at all.”
The governor said when he leaves the state for meetings, he is still the governor.
He was asked by a caller, that with continued growth amid the drought, what forward long-term planning is going into getting more reservoirs to store water.
“You’ll be happy to know we are actually in the middle of doing that long-term planning right now,” Gov. Cox answered. “I met several months ago with our Division of Natural Resources. We have already identified – this is a huge number – 400 potential reservoir sites. Now, obviously, we’re not going to build 400 reservoirs, and we’re in the process of ranking those sites based on location, based on demographic growth.”
He said the caller’s question is something that he’s been vocalizing for the last 20 years, that the federal government not continuing to build dams and reservoirs is a huge mistake.