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Although Gary Herbert essentially has been acting governor for nearly three-months, with his upcoming inauguration the political shackles will come off and the people of Utah will be able to discover who their new governor actually is.
He has, of course, served as Lieutenant Governor for nearly five years. For the most part, however, he remains an unknown entity to many throughout the state.
Utahns will be catching a much clearer view of the man who excelled as a multi-sport high school athlete, ran a successful real-estate business and won admiration as a Utah County Commissioner before being tapped to be Jon Huntsman's running mate in 2004.
Associates say he is a man with a calm, fair, and pleasant demeanor. They use words such as "sensible," and "pragmatic" to describe his governing style. Now is the time for Utahns to discover what that means. Because of a recent amendment to the state's constitution, there'll be a special election next year to choose a candidate to serve out the remainder of Huntsman's term.
With that in mind, Herbert has an extraordinary opportunity to show voters what type of governor he'll be. His challenge will be to not let the expected posturing for election get in the way of good governing during these highly stressful times.