- January 12, 2015
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman is the latest Republican heavyweight to speak in Sarasota thanks to the Ringling College Library Association Town Hall Lecture Series.
Huntsman, who ran for president unsuccessfully in 2012, lamented the current state of the educational system and the role of money in politics, but painted a rosy vision for the future of the U.S. during a roundtable discussion before his lecture.
"I think the next 10 years will be the most promising years this country has seen." Huntsman said. "I think the decade we're embarking on will be the decade of North America."
Before accepting an acrylic portrait Ringling College of Art and Design senior Cameron Kramer painted of him, Huntsman praised innovation in the U.S. and the economy's rebound from the Great Recession as factors paving the way for the next decade.
Huntsman cited his own experience as a presidential candidate after criticizing the growing influence of single-source donations in elections. As co-chairman of No Labels, a political organization aimed at reducing partisan fighting in American politics, Huntsman has called for more problem-solving and less gamesmanship in Congress,
"It isn't the name on the jersey anymore that matters — it's the color of the jersey," Huntsman said.
Using his background as a U.S. ambassador, Huntsman stressed the importance of negotiations in foreign policy, but according to him, his most successful negotiations have culminated in raising his children.
"I found that the toughest negations have been around our kitchen table," Huntsman said. “Far more difficult than any negotiation with the legislature or the Chinese — and that’s with your own kids.”