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'Utah Politics: The Elephant In The Room' With Rod Decker On Monday's Access Utah

Signature Books

From the tempestuous fight for statehood to the evolution of Utah voters from Democrats to Republicans, Rod Decker analyzes the intersection of politics and faith in the complex political culture of modern Utah. Beginning with the state’s roots as a communal theocracy, Utah Politics deftly examines how Mormon morality influenced and continues to shape conflicts on both the local and federal levels.

Some themes reoccur: governors become popular by fighting federal oversight—signaling a lingering distrust that Washington could alter the Mormon way of life—and liberals use the court system to circumvent conservative legislatures who see public morality as a defining feature of government.

Through this lens, issues both deceptively innocuous and deeply complex underscore Utah’s dance with religious freedom and civil liberty.


Known for his reporting on Utah’s KUTV Channel 2, as well as for his column and editorials in the Deseret News, Rod Decker understands the complexity of Utah culture, politics, and faith like few other observers. A graduate of the University of Utah, Decker attended graduate school at the University of Chicago and spent a year at Harvard as a Nieman Fellow after serving as a military intelligence officer during the Vietnam War. His first book, An Environment for Murder, turned his intimate acquaintance with sagebrush politics into a page-turning mystery.

Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.