As elected officials and public health leaders around the country grapple with rising coronavirus cases, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert joined a video call Thursday with President-elect Joe Biden to discuss the nation’s pandemic response.
The governor said in a statement on Twitter afterward that there was a “good discussion” on the call between Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and members of the executive committee of the National Governors Association.
“We had a good discussion about how states and the federal government can work together in the nationwide fight against COVID-19,” he said. “I wished the president-elect every success and am grateful for his efforts to engage the nation’s governors in these important discussions.”
While the Utah governor praised his “good friend Mike Pence” and said it had been a privilege to work with President Donald Trump’s administration, Herbert noted that he had also worked with the newly-elected president when Biden served as vice president.
“He’s very aware of Utah,” Herbert said of Biden. “He’s told me on numerous occasions with admiration of the great success we’ve had here in Utah economically and socially. He knows Utah is a great example [for] the rest of the country.”
Herbert said he believes Biden’s primary concern in addressing the coronavirus is bringing people together “in a united effort that’s supportive of each other.” At the same time, the governor said he thought the president-elect would forge a path “allowing for various differences of opinions but following the science and the medical advice we have to guide us.”
The governor said he expected to see the Biden administration roll out additional resources to help with economic recovery for businesses and individuals who have been struggling as the pandemic wears.
But Herbert said the main thing he’d like to see from the Biden administration as it prepares to take over the nation’s COVID-19 response is a focus on local control.
“I hope that he will still continue to let states conduct their own declarations and make their own recommendations to the public and our own mandates rather than a national mandate,” he said. “I don’t think he’s going to go that direction. I hope not.”
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert looks forward to working with President-elect Joe Biden on COVID response /p>