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The three challengers to Gov. Gary Herbert two on the Democratic side and one on the Republican side all announced their picks for lieutenant governor Monday, ahead of their party's conventions Saturday.
Republican Jonathan Johnson announced his selection of Robyn Bagley, the chairwoman of the board for Parents for Choice in Education and principal at Career Path High School, a college preparatory high school in Davis County.
Johnson and Bagley met when both were supporting Utah's voucher movement in 2007, a push that narrowly passed the Legislature, only to overwhelmingly be repealed by a voter referendum the following November.
Bagley told reporters Monday that she remains a proponent of school vouchers, but Johnson downplayed the potential for a return of vouchers, saying the public has spoken.
"We are of like mind. I think Utah voters have made a decision on vouchers," Johnson said. "Other states have done things that are different than vouchers that frankly still give parents choice. I don't see vouchers as coming back in front of Utah. That decision was made a decade ago and there are other ways to give parents choice in education."
Instead of vouchers, Johnson said he would like to see the creation of educational savings accounts, similar to programs in Arizona and Nevada, that let parents choose where their education money will go.
Bagley hit Herbert on Monday, accusing the governor of turning over Utah's public education curriculum to the federal government by adopting the Common Core standards.
The math and reading standards, adopted by the State Board of Education, are essentially identical to the core standards recommended by the federal government and have raised the ire of conservatives who see it as caving to Washington, D.C.
Herbert was booed and shouted down at the Utah County Convention on Saturday when he tried to defend the standards as locally adopted and producing good results.
In addition to hitting the governor on Common Core, Bagley said Herbert has raised taxes in times of surplus and has been slow to adopt innovation in education. She also criticized him for being a career politician.
"Do you trust Governor Herbert not to raise your taxes? Number two, do you trust Governor Herbert to lead by getting rid of the Common Core and personalizing and localizing our public education? And Number three, do you think Utah can do better?"
On the Democratic side, Vaughn Cook announced Jan Garbett had accepted his invitation to be his lieutenant governor even though the two had not met in person until Monday morning.
Cook said Garbett's name was on a list of candidates for the spot and he communicated with her by phone and text while Garbett was in Mexico and did a video conference before they met. Garbett was a registered Republican until Monday when she changed her party affiliation to Democrat, which she had been in college when she worked on U.S. Rep. Wayne Owens' campaign at Brigham Young University.
Her husband, Bryson Garbett, was a Republican member of the Utah House for two terms in the mid-1980s. Together they own Garbett Homes, one of the state's largest home developers. Bryson Garbett said he would remain a Republican.
"I thought, wow, what an honor, what an opportunity for an everyday person to actually advocate for her community," Jan Garbett said of the invitation to be on the ticket. "We're passing on too big of burdens to our children. … I think it's time to switch parties [from] a party that is more concerned maybe about political posturing and special interests and really isn't giving too much thought to the ordinary person."
Cook's opponent for the Democratic nomination, Michael Weinholtz, also announced his selection of Kim Bowman, a lawyer who works in research at the University of Utah Health Sciences, to be his running mate.
Bowman had taken time off from the university to run for Salt Lake County Council, but dropped out of that race Monday to run with Weinholtz and is endorsing the Democratic nominee, Catherine Kanter, against incumbent Republican Richard Snelgrove.
"This is one of those really exciting things because the issues I really care about are the ones Mike has been talking about for a long time. He articulates a vision, and that's what we've been missing," Bowman said. "This is a place that is going to be growing … and it's about having smart growth, smart leadership that takes care of people."