Governor urges millenials to vote

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Photo by Jesse Sanchez

A week before election day, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert answered questions asked the by The UVU Review regarding public education, civic engagement, Utah voting trends and the presidential election Nov. 1 at Centre Stage.

According to Herbert, people aged 18-25 are less likely to vote than other generations. The governor, who is currently running for a second full term as governor of Utah, said young people become so preoccupied with schoolwork and starting families that they tend to procrastinate voting.

Despite the fact that presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump have low approval ratings, Herbert urged students to make a decision.

“You have to vote,” Herbert said. “You have to show up and make a decision. It’s not easy, it’s going to be tough.”

While previously stating he would vote for Trump, Herbert took to Twitter on Oct. 7, 2016 and tweeted, “Donald Trump’s statements are beyond offensive and despicable. While I cannot vote for Hillary Clinton, I will not vote for Trump.”

“It’s discouraging for a lot of reasons,” said Herbert. “This is the first year that we have whoever gets elected, will have a majority of negative approval ratings in history.”

Herbert said that he was reluctant to predict on whether independent presidential candidate, Evan McMullin or Trump would win Utah, but said that McMullin is “filling a void that people are gravitating to.”

Herbert, who used to be an instructor at UVU, said voting is the bare minimum a citizen could do and suggested people get involved by going to town hall meetings, advocating for issues, supporting candidates or running for office. He also stated that he has never missed voting in an election in his life.

Before assuming office in 2009, he ran for city council of Orem in 1989 after becoming frustrated with the lack of actions happening in his hometown. Even though he lost by 36 votes, several opportunities opened for him and he became a commissioner on the Utah County Commission between 1990 and 2004.

Herbert addressed the complexity of why Utah is one of the most underfunded states in the nation regarding public education. According to him, larger family sizes and lack of taxable property are reasons the state finds trouble raising revenue for public education.

“We still have a long ways to go of where we want to be,” Herbert said.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau data on education spending per pupil, Utah spent $6,500 per student in 2014 compared to New York’s $20,610 spending per student, making Utah the lowest in the nation when it comes to public education spending per student.

The event was organized by school officials and the National Governor’s Association (NGA), a bipartisan organization of the nation’s governors. They stated that their goal was to get students interested in voting on election day Nov. 8. During the last segment of the event, Herbert accepted questions from members of the audience. While students were in attendance, they did not raise their hands.

“It’s great to see governor Herbert come to our university and talk about these issues that are going on in the state,” said Jeffrey Pereira, a senior at UVU. “I really liked how one of the questions was about education, but I want to see how they can fix them and improve public education because that’s the main thing we should be focusing on.”

“The National Governor’s Association came here to promote student involvement in the elections,” said chief justice Andre Jones. “I wish we could have had more student questions.”