Petersen urges hands-off approach to pandemic economic recovery

If elected to the Utah Legislature, GOP candidate Mike Petersen of North Logan says he will encourage colleagues in the Utah House of Representative to unleash Utah businesses to forge their own paths to recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

NORTH LOGAN – While Utah remains deeply mired in the coronavirus pandemic, political debate continues over the best way to spark economic recovery once the threat of COVID-19 infection recedes.

In the campaign to replace incumbent Rep. Val Potter in the House District 3 seat in the Utah Legislature, GOP candidate Mike Petersen believes that the state government should take a hands-off approach to economic recovery from the coronavirus.

“I think our best route out of this pandemic is to unleash our businesses and allow them to finally get back to doing what they know how to do best,” Petersen said in a recent candidate forum sponsored by the Cache Valley Chamber of Commerce.

The Republican candidate credited the Chamber’s leaders, along with those of organizations like the Downtown Business Alliance and Ski Utah, with working hard to sustain local businesses during the ongoing health crisis. He also believes that the state was too quick to impose health restrictions on businesses, rather than letting their owners develop their own individual solutions within broader safety guidelines.

“Business owners know that they need customers to survive,” Petersen argued, “so they’re going to do what they need to do to keep their customers safe and comfortable so that they can continue to generate revenues and pay their bills and salaries.

What government needs to do is stay out of their way.”

The North Logan businessman has experience practicing what he preaches. As co-owner of LetterPress Software, an instructional design consulting firm, Petersen said he has spent more than 20 years, “helping businesses – including my own – survive and thrive in hard times.”

Over the years, Petersen’s clients have included the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Forest Service, the Ute Indian Tribe, the School of Medicine at the University of Chicago as well as corporations like Ernst & Young and Lockheed-Martin Aerospace.

That background, Petersen said, has taught him the wisdom of President Ronald Reagan’s often quoted observation that, “government is not the solution to our problems, government is the problem.”

“What government can do most (to spark economic recovery from the pandemic) is to remove barriers to that process,” Petersen emphasized. “We need to look at and remove any regulations that keep the doors of local businesses closed.”

Petersen’s opponent in the 3rd District race is Holly Gunther of North Logan, who agrees that government rules are no substitute for community support when it comes to stimulating economic recovery from the pandemic.

“We need compassion, not compulsion,” Gunther said during the candidate forum.

Petersen and Gunther will face off in the general election balloting on Nov. 3.

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  • Ty October 27, 2020 at 2:06 pm Reply

    I disagree with Mr Peterson. The owner of the company I work for doesn’t believe that covid is real, so at the beginning of last week when the number of cases jumped over 1,000/day in our state, he ordered us to open up and remove the barriers that kept customers at a safe distance from employees. Government so far has taken a hands off approach and let people decide for themselves if they will distance themselves or mask or wash hands or not. That approach has left us with too many unmasked people gathering in large crowds and spreading a virus that they don’t even know they have. Too many have already died from this, and they died because the government won’t do what needs to be done. We’ve stayed at a green level of business as usual and this pandemic is flooding our country and our hospitals are now overwhelmed. New Zealand shut down for 2 months at the beginning of the pandemic and they are wide open now. Their cases are minimal and their deaths are almost in the single digits. Look at any place that goes full shut down and they have similar results. A quarter million dead Americans so far, and we still don’t bat an eye. Are these deaths not ours? Are they just fat old losers who deserved to die anyway? Where is our humanity? Where is our value of human life? Those who think like Mr Peterson don’t deserve to survive this pandemic, but sadly, they probably will. It’s their family and friends and neighbors who will ultimately pay the price they owe because they believe making money is more important than taking care of each other. Shame on all of us. This country should be better than this. We shouldn’t have to be told to do the right thing. We should be willing to put a blue dot on our noses if doctors said it had a .01% chance of keeping someone from getting sick. But wearing a mask is too uncomfortable. I’ve been wearing a mask every day everywhere I go since March. And I have to do this because unlike New Zealand, we won’t bite the bullet for 2 months. Now I have to give up Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and new year’s indefinitely and keep wearing this mask because you all insist on getting together while an invisible virus ravages our world. We could have been back to normal by now. Schools could be at full operational capacity. Stores and businesses could have been back to normal hours and we wouldn’t have to wear masks or avoid each other. This really disgusts me that we can’t delay gratification even for a trip to the store. It’s far too important that people like mr Peterson don’t ever get remotely inconvenienced for us to ever shut down and get to the other side of this. A lot more people will have to die so that some selfish business owners can make some money. God forbid we look after the poor, the sick, the needy, the ones who are less fortunate than we have been!

    • Jessica Hanson October 27, 2020 at 3:24 pm Reply

      100 percent correct. It has been disgusting to see public figures discount the lives of people during this pandemic. It’s sad to see people like Mr. Peterson care so little for the safety of the public.
      I would like to know what is not open? Everyone lives their lives like nothing matters but them, while hospitals are begging us to do the bare basics so they don’t have to turn people away which can result in risk of complications (which has already happened in UT) or death.
      In the end, it’s all about the money and there is no value for human life. Sure, they are quick to point out suicide, DV and other issues, but they never cared about those issues before today. Sad to live somewhere where it supposedly a place where people care about their neighbors but they are too selfish to even wear a mask and spare someone death, or a life long list of complications after they “recovered”.
      I’m sure Mr. Peterson, like others, if you lost a family member or someone you loved (heaven forbid yourself) “recovered” and spent the rest of your life on oxygen, needing a transplant, having an amputation, or needing a pacemaker, you would change your mind.

    • Blayne October 27, 2020 at 4:27 pm Reply

      How can you say we would be back to normal by now? Nowhere in the world is back to normal. If you remember, in the very beginning of Corona, there were no cases in the US. Then slowly, but surely it crept in from the coast, and it spread like wildfire. How do you propose the US, and the US alone will distinguish the virus? We can’t – especially as long as it’s alive somewhere in the world. Trump is right, only China could have prevented this.

      Also – masks clearly are not the answer. More and more people are wearing masks, and more and more people are getting the virus.

      Nobody wants to lose a family member or neighbor to the virus. Just like nobody wants to lose anyone to cancer, a car accident, or anything else. But we still have to live our lives. Not locked up, hoping for the grim reaper to pass.

      A vaccine will be here soon, then everyone can sleep easy.

  • John October 28, 2020 at 8:45 pm Reply

    Of course I should be trusted to set the speed limit on the street in front of my house even if the neighbor across the street disagrees. Let me put my head back in the sand. Wake me when this is over.

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