Huntsman says farewell in last interview with KSL

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Gov. Jon Huntsman says he did his best to embrace and dealt with a lot of important cutting-edge issues in a realistic way that will serve the state over time.

In Huntsman's words: "It wasn't targeted at the indolent political dialogue that you hear on political extremes, but rather calibrated to address the real world political issues that this state is up against."

In other words, Huntsman says he steered clear of the extremes on both sides of the political spectrum and focused on what his gut told him to take on.

With bare bookshelves in the background and a desk filled with a stack of unsigned farewell cards, Huntsman is clearly well on his way to vacating the governor's corner office.


Political observers point out that Huntsman has led the state through tax reform, updated liquor laws, entered the state in the Western Climate Initiative and focused heavily on education funding and economic development.

He is starting the move to Beijing China next week to take on the duties as U.S. Ambassador to China. He knows he has a lot on his plate when it comes to protecting U.S. interests. He says China's one-party rulers may be more receptive to change than ever before.

"You feel enormous pressure. But if you study history, you have to conclude that we're entering into a period of time when, for the first time, China sees itself as a responsible stakeholder within the international community," Huntsman said.

It's not going to be easy personally, either. Huntsman confided that his wife, Mary Kaye "has spent a lot of tearful nights over this. And we're leaving our family behind. It's a tough thing to do. We're reminded of that all the time. But if you believe in serving something bigger than self, than comfort and political interests, then you do it."

Huntsman will give his official resignation Tuesday morning. Following the resignation, Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert will take over as Utah's governor.

Herbert will then deliver a speech that some say will help define his administration ahead of the 2010 special election.

Herbert's spokeswoman declined to say what Herbert will cover in his speech, but she says it will include some priorities for his administration.

The ceremony is scheduled for noon. You can watch it live on KSL-Channel 5 and


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Richard Piatt


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