Richard Piatt ReportingGovernor Mike Leavitt is trying to balance the duties of his current job with the job he might have very soon.
Leavitt is still on 'hold' waiting to see if he'll get confirmed as the Administrator of the EPA. Governor Leavitt is back in charge here. Two days ago he took center stage in a US Senate hearing at a very public job interview. He's still answering questions about the EPA in Washington, and about policy in Utah. He says he can handle both.
Gov. Mike Leavitt: "Well I don't lack for things to do right now. I am, however focused on the state's business."
That includes positive news about the state budget. The state is now 18.3 million dollars in the black: a surplus reported for 2003. A few months ago there were concerns more budget cuts were possible. Leavitt would prefer to leave office with a positive not like that.
But even if he does, he can't help but feel haunted by Senators who asked him Tuesday: Why do you want the job possibly ahead of him?
Gov. Mike Leavitt: "I don't have any illusions about the difficulty of what's in front of me. There are challenges in front of the estate. But good, able people need to step forward and do their best to accomplish it."
So will Utahn's get Leavitt's ear in Washington? Expect no special treatment he says.
Gov. Mike Leavitt: "Will Utah always be my home? Yes. But my responsibility if I am confirmed is to serve the United States as a whole."
While he waits on the Senate confirmation, Governor Leavitt continues to split his time between Utah and the nation's capitol. In effect, he now has two jobs that are both challenging his political skills.