Gov. Jon Huntsman laid out his top campaign issues to the Utah County Republican Women today, focusing on managing Utah’s remarkable growth, addressing mental health issues and extending prosperity to Utah’s rural counties.
Huntsman, who served as Utah’s governor from 2005 to 2009 and more recently as United States Ambassador to Russia, made these comments in a speech Monday during a Utah County Republican Women event at the Provo Library.
“We have had a statewide failure on mental health,” said Huntsman, who referenced the high suicide rate among young Utahns.
According to the Utah Department of Health, suicide was the leading cause of death for Utahns ages 10 to 18 and the second leading cause of death for those ages 18-44 in 2018.
Huntsman called on residents and officials alike to help “demystify” conversations about mental health, an issue that he said is “hard to talk about.”
“We need a declaration of war on this insidious problem,” he said.
While Huntsman praised the state’s economy and called Utah “among the hottest, fastest (growing) places in the country,” he said rural counties are struggling to keep up with other parts of the state.
“Right now, a lot of those counties, a lot of those 29, are not doing so well,” Huntsman said. “And we need to figure out how we can take the prosperity that you have right down the road … and make sure that there are opportunities to expand in other places as well.”
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