A Provo businessman became the second officially-declared Republican candidate in the upcoming race for Utah governor Tuesday morning.
Jeff Burningham announced he would be running as a Republican for the state’s highest seat, touting himself as an “innovative outsider” and a jobs-creating entrepreneur who will bring his business skills to the political arena.
During an announcement at the state capitol Tuesday morning, Burningham said it is time for Utah to challenge the inertia of bureaucracy and bring a new way of thinking to government.
“Politicians say, ‘We need a governor who understands how government works,’” Burningham said. “I say we need a governor who understands how the world works and how to get our government to work more for us and intrude less upon us.”
Burningham said his political involvement to this point has included serving as a precinct chair in Utah County and helping raise money for candidates.
Burningham, who lives in Provo, began an institutional venture fund to provide capital for tech startups, which he says has helped create more than 4,000 jobs in the state. He said he started his first tech company while a student at Brigham Young University, and went on to build a national real estate enterprise.
Burningham joins Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox as the officially declared Republican candidates in the race, while numerous other Republican candidates are considering runs. Current Gov. Gary Herbert announced he would not seek re-election and threw his support behind Cox, who has been traveling the state on his own listening tour to visit each of Utah’s cities and towns.
Having already traveled across the state on a listening tour, Burningham said he sees issues that need to be addressed in Utah.
“I don’t think it makes sense to incentive growth along the Wasatch Front by a tax giveaway,” he said.
He said it’s time to rethink corporate tax giveaways, address issues like the housing shortage, and end the overregulation of small businesses.
Burningham said occupational licensing is an example of overregulation that he would want to rethink how the government approaches.
The educational system needs modernized, Burningham said, suggesting more “boot camp”-type programs in public schools for tech and skilled construction labor programs.