Salt Lake Community College students, staff and faculty packed a political science classroom last Wednesday to get a civics lesson from Utah’s top leader.
Gov. Gary Herbert visited the Taylorsville Redwood Campus to give political science students a clearer understanding of government and how to get involved.
“We the people … What are you going to give back to us? If you have an issue, you first need to address it closer to home,” Herbert said to students.
SLCC President Deneece Huftalin welcomed the governor, introduced him to the audience and invited students to openly dialogue with him following his remarks.
Like a seasoned political science professor, Herbert explained the basics of how the original 13 colonies were the original creators of the federal government, each with their own way of doing things.
“We are the pilot program,” he said. “My first cousin, eleven generations removed, was Benjamin Franklin.”
The governor stressed the importance for students to know their political history by recounting a famous quote from his ancestor.
When asked, “What kind of government did you give us?” Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
Herbert also posed tough questions to the students, such as if they are ready to understand and work through societal issues.
Rather than top down, he subscribes to governments working bottom up.
“I think the idea should come from the people,” Herbert said. “We set a goal when I came into this office six years ago, we the people are all a part of the Utah team.”
In terms of Utah’s assets, Herbert has a long list of state successes due to the constitution of Utah’s citizens and their commitment to the whole.
“We have the ability to get along,” Herbert explained. “We collaborate better than anyone. We are willing to roll up our sleeves and work together.”
In rapid-fire succession, the governor addressed a wide range of topics with energy, humor and vitality. His message was clear — he wants every student and citizen to get involved and to take a stake in Utah’s future.
After the Q&A session, Herbert toured the campus with President Huftalin, which included a visit to the Student Life and Leadership office and other facilities to learn about the inner-workings of the college and student campus life.
“It was very good for the students to get acquainted with the governor and to know who he is. It gave them a lot of enthusiasm to get involved,” says political science professor Shari Sowards. “It’s nice for the governor to see the diversity of our students.”