After Deidre Henderson was sworn in as Utah’s 9th Lt. Governor, she broke new ground and became the first L.G. to speak at inauguration.
She spoke of the “answerable courage” that her 11th great-grandfather, William Bradford had deemed necessary to meet the demands of settling a new land, that pioneers faced as they crossed the plains and settled in Utah and that Utahns today have shown in the face of the year that was 2020.
“Like any noteworthy occasion,” she said, “today is an opportunity to process this moment, while both looking backward and forward in time.”
“That is especially true now, as we gather on the very day that Utah became a state 125 years ago. Those first leaders of our state demonstrated “answerable courage,” when they risked the very statehood they sought by including women’s rights in the state Constitution.
Article 4, Section 1 of the Utah Constitution was forward-thinking for its day. It reads: “The rights of citizens of the State of Utah to vote and hold office shall not be denied or abridged on account of sex. Both male and female citizens of this State shall enjoy equally all civil, political and religious rights and privileges.”
She also noted that the difficulties of 2020 have exposed some of the inequalities that exist in Utah. “I want to assure all Utahns that there is room at the table for you,” she said. “In fact, she continued, “my promise to you echoes our state’s founding documents. Your place at the table shall not be denied.”
She said that the Cox/Henderson administration is committed to continually asking, “Whose voice is missing.” All voices are welcome at the table.
“And I want to be clear about one thing,” she said. “We don’t need more women in the public sphere solely to provide expert opinions on women’s issues. We don’t need more people of color in the halls of government only to help us resolve issues related to minorities. And we don’t need more rural Utahns serving in our administration simply to help the people in their hometowns.
No, we need representation of all of our voices, so that we can solve the hard problems in front of us in the best way. We need more women, minorities, and rural Utahns speaking up about every aspect of how our state is run.
There will be no token leadership at our table.”
Watch her speech here.