Inside Sources: Don’t wait, start planning to assume role of governor, Leavitt tells two candidates

Aug 31, 2020, 6:12 PM

Picture by Chris Samuels, KSL file

SALT LAKE CITY — Don’t wait until after the election to begin plans to lead Utah and deliver on the promises made during the campaign, former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt advised the two gubernatorial candidates, Democrat Chris Peterson and Republican Spencer Cox.

Leavitt knows how difficult and exhilarating the transition to power can be, but it’s best to pass the baton of leadership seamlessly, with no loss of momentum.

Leavitt joined Boyd Matheson on Inside Sources to discuss the importance of planning and executing promised commitments during the transitioning of power.

Don’t wait on the plan to lead

The former governor said there just isn’t enough time to stand up a new administration between Election Day and a new president’s inauguration — about 70 days.

In the past, it appeared to be excessively presumptive for a campaign to plan for assuming power before the results of a presidential election were announced, Leavitt said.

“It took place in the shadows,” he said. “People were afraid to bring it up because it looked like they were measuring for drapes in the Oval Office.”

In his Deseret News opinion piece, Leavitt writes:

“In order to help the transitions go smoothly, nominees create transition teams. Prior to 2010, when Congress passed the Presidential Transition Act, presidential candidates were reluctant to begin serious planning until after the November election because of the concern that it would appear presumptive. The Presidential Transition Act addressed the concern by creating a legal obligation for the nominees of each major political party to create a transition team. The act also provided access to government office space and government agencies to provide security clearances and other critical functions. Now, beginning in the late spring of each presidential election, every viable campaign begins the formidable task of preparing to assume leadership of our country.”

In 2012, Leavitt led the transition team for then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the first campaign to implement the Presidential Transition Act. 

“I learned a lot from that experience and came to fully appreciate how important it is. It’s not just a time of opportunity but a time of great vulnerability in any kind of government where there is a transition of power,” he said.

With a global pandemic raging and a US economy struggling to get back on its feet, this may be as complicated as any time for any governor-elect facing a loss of revenue to assume power in Utah, he added.

Delivering on promises made

“Elections are an important time because it’s the moment in which a person makes commitments on what they’re going to do as an executive officeholder,” Leavitt said. 

The transition team is about implementing the candidate’s commitments once he or she assumes power.

“When people run for governor, they make very serious commitments — commitments that have an impact on the lives of every single person who lives here,” the former governor said. “These are not just large-scale promises. They’re things we’re going to deliver on. Things that you deliver on, you have plans for. And plans then have to be executed. So putting a team together, keeping track of what the candidate has committed to do, being ready on Day One to begin to implement — all of those things are important. 

“In the lifecycle of new governors, the first legislative session, the first 200 days — there’s a sense of not just opportunity but expectation that that’s when change will begin to occur. That can’t happen unless good planning has been done,” Leavitt said.


Read Leavitt’s opinion piece in the Deseret News.

Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 11:00 a.m to 12:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Inside Sources

Photo courtesy of Getty Images...

Curt Gresseth

Liberal arts education is a good choice for students, says professor

Education in the liberal arts is trending down in the US, but a University of Pennsylvania professor argues for pursuing liberal arts.

2 months ago

A newly implemented city regulation in Washington DC is making the city and childcare even more exp...

Devin Oldroyd

New law raises Washington DC childcare cost and affects childcare staff

A newly implemented city regulation in Washington DC is making the city and childcare even more expensive and unsustainable for families.

2 months ago

A customer checks prices while shopping at a grocery store in Wheeling, Ill., Friday, Jan. 19, 2024...

Curt Gresseth

Inflation eases but grocery store prices in Utah still stinging

Inflation eases slightly in April, but in Utah, consumers are still feeling the pinch of grocery-store prices.

2 months ago

utah valley university sign pictured, uvu freshman housing now available for first time...

Simone Seikaly

‘Don’t listen to the nos’ UVU commencement speaker tells students

UVU grads were just as inspiring to speaker Jamie Kern Lima as she hoped to be for them, she said of her 2024 commencement speech.

3 months ago

a person holds a smartphone, is the us moving away from organized religion?...

Isabella Sandston

LISTEN: Why we’re turning to politics for our lost worship

Is a shift away from organized religion feeding into the loss of community amongst Americans?

3 months ago

A green and brown sign hangs on a brick wall. It reads "The future of the world is in this classroo...

Mariah Maynes

Study looks into Utah voters’ opinions on curriculum transparency in schools

A Sutherland Institute study found that a majority of Utah voters support curriculum transparency. However, fewer of them support mandating it with legislation. 

4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

A young woman smiles while reading the menu at a lakeside restaurant, enjoying the panoramic view o...

Bear Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau

The best restaurants to try in Bear Lake

Save this guide to the best restaurants in Bear Lake when you need to find a place to dine during your next visit.

Female leg stepping on weigh scales. Healthy lifestyle, food and sport concept....

Health Utah

Sustainable weight loss: the science-backed way to achieve it

Learn more about Debbie's weight loss journey with Health Utah, who have a unique weight loss philosophy for success.

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...


Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

Inside Sources: Don’t wait, start planning to assume role of governor, Leavitt tells two candidates