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Richard Piatt ReportingOlene Walker has been Utah's Governor for a week and a day and already she's taken on some tough issues. Are people in the state noticing? Government specialist Richard Piatt reveals the results of an exclusive survey:
People are noticing that Governor Walker is much different than Governor Leavitt. And so far, it seems they like what they see. Governor Walker is taking on tough issues already. For example, at a monthly news conference Walker didn’t dodge from Legacy Highway.
Gov. Olene Walker: "We need an alternative to I-15."
She is a firm "NO" on hotter radioactive waste.
Gov. Olene Walker: "I don't think anyone will move me off my position. I can't imagine it."
Even Utah's tax system…
Gov. Olene Walker: "Our whole tax structure needs fixing. Whether I dare take that on, I'll tell you later."
It's been a week and a day, but Governor Walker is making a strong impression already and it appears Utahns like the impression they're getting. That's according to a Survey USA poll of 500 Utahns questioned exclusively for Eyewitness news.
32 percent give Walker an 'A' in report card on her job performance. 25 percent give her a 'B', 20 percent a 'C'. Four percent give her a 'D' or 'F'.
It is report cards Walker plans to pay attention to over the next 14 months. Among her top priorities is figuring out how to fully fund public education that is competency-based.
Gov. Olene Walker: "I will push for some action on competency based education."
But the fight for money will be a problem and Walker is anticipating a tight budget. She promises it is a fight she will take on. The last thing Olene Walker wants is a reputation the she's simply 'riding out' Governor Leavitt's term.
Gov. Olene Walker: "I feel I need to make it a stepping stone for other women. I don't plan to be a caretaker governor."
Walker has not ruled out being a candidate for Governor herself. When you ask her about it she simply says she wants to concentrate on being Governor, for now, and will announce a decision in March, the filing deadline.