Jeff Burningham announces run for governor

The following is a transcript from Republican Jeff Burningham’s announcement speech given on September 10, 2019.

As we gather here this morning, Utah is uniquely positioned to seize the moment, to shape its own destiny and step onto the world stage.

That’s why the campaign for Utah’s next Governor isn’t about yesterday’s ideas or today’s status quo. It’s all about tomorrow’s opportunity.

It’s not the government, but the people of Utah who’ve built the most diversified economy in the country, the second-fastest-growing tech sector, and made Utah the best state for upward mobility.

We live in a rapidly-changing world and our state government needs to adapt to those changes.  It’s time to challenge the inertia of bureaucracy and bring new ways of thinking to government.

Think about this – the private sector’s on the verge of making self-driving cars widely available.  But government still makes us stand in line for hours just to renew a drivers’ license.

The politicians say we need a governor who understands how government works.  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.

And that’s why today I’m announcing my candidacy for Governor of Utah.

I’m running because we need an innovative outsider to bring game-changing leadership to capture the once-in-a-generation opportunity before us.

I’ll bring game-changing leadership because I have a track record of a job-creating entrepreneur, the mindset of an innovative outsider with a smart plan for the decade ahead, and the heart and soul to uphold this state’s conservative way of life.

For Utah, game-changing leadership means bringing new thinking to government, treating citizens not as people who vote in elections but as customers who deserve responsive service, and no more kicking the can down the road. Because the right time to do the right thing is right now.

I intend to run an aggressive and positive campaign in every county of Utah.  I’ve already held almost 200 meetings to listen to voters in every county of this state.  And know this, I’ll be coming back because we’re in this together.

Here’s my pledge to Utah: I am all in and I will go all out.


We live in a time of exponential progress.   Which means that we need leaders that not only act today but think strategically about tomorrow.

Game-changing leadership means having a plan, a smart plan, to innovate and sustain our prosperity and conservative way of life.


We’ve had a good last decade in Utah.  Our entrepreneurs have been on a tear.  They’ve created thousands of jobs for Utah.  But we all know that economies cycle and the next 10 years might be a different story.

To keep our economy revving, we’ll need a governor who understands how Utah’s new economy works, and how old government doesn’t work.  I’m a job-creating entrepreneur with a broad view of the economy from first-hand experience.

It’s time to re-think corporate tax giveaways and stop picking winners and losers.

It’s time to address our housing shortage, traffic congestion, and air quality.

It’s time to end overregulation of small businesses.

Government needs to think differently about the economy – and focus more on infrastructure and growth planning.


In Utah, our conservative way of life is based on personal responsibility, free enterprise, and limited government.

That’s why as governor I’ll get more satisfaction signing bills that eliminate existing laws than signing those that add new laws.

I’ll also work with the legislature to cut outdated and unnecessary regulations.

Game-changing leadership recognizes that government is absolutely not an engine of growth and opportunity, but a barrier to them.

I’ll get government out of your way.


We need to modernize our education system.

It’s time to create an education system that meets each kid’s unique needs. And prepares them for the jobs that exist and are coming.

I firmly believe that parents and teachers know best what their kids and students need, not the government.

Here’s the bottom line: If we want better outcomes then we have to have the confidence to do things differently.


I’ve been on a listening tour throughout Utah for the last 8 months. The biggest surprise to me has been the impact of heavy government regulation on rural Utah.

I met a sheep rancher who lost 40% of his livestock to predators last year. His hands were tied because of bureaucratic red tape. It was financially devastating to his ranching business.

Stories like that are all too common. Rural Utah needs a fighter in their corner.   I am that fighter.

Land and natural resources are the foundation of the economy.  I’ll fight for responsible access to Utah’s land and natural resources to ensure sustainable economic opportunity.


I enter this race not with a long political resume, but with the track record of a job-creating entrepreneur. I started my first tech company with a friend in college at a rickety DI coffee table in student housing. But we worked hard and bootstrapped our way through.  Not long after we graduated, we were fortunate to sell our company to a NASDAQ-listed firm.

Next, I started investing in real estate with a couple of friends. Investing during the recession was a bumpy ride. We didn’t know if we’d make it. But we worked our way through it and built a successful business that we’re proud of. And we’re very proud of the jobs we’ve created.

Through my own experience and eventual success, I learned how difficult it is to start a company without capital. Because I’d been in their shoes, I wanted to help Utah’s up-and-coming entrepreneurs pursue their own innovations and big ideas. So I decided to act. My partners and I created a venture fund and we’ve invested more than $40 million in startups along the Wasatch front.

The entrepreneurs who lead these companies have helped build Utah’s economy into the thriving economic engine we see today.

It’s been the privilege of a lifetime to invest in, mentor, and work with them as they’ve built their businesses and created more than 4,000 jobs.

In closing, I’ll say again that we have a rare opportunity to shape our own future instead of just letting it happen to us.  Our next Governor needs to bring game-changing leadership to capitalize on this opportunity. Our next Governor — has to have a smart plan that’s consistent with our conservative way of life. Our next Governor – should be a job-creating entrepreneur and an innovative outsider to challenge the way government thinks and operates.

With your help and support in the days ahead, I intend to be that Governor.

Join me in bringing game-changing leadership to Utah together, we can ensure the best is yet to come.

Thank you.