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PM News Brief: Utah’s U.S. attorney nominee, confronting wildfires & a primary challenge for Rep. Stewart

Brian Albers
Rep. Chris Stewart, R-UT, will face a primary challenge for the first time since his election in 2012. That story and more in this evening's news brief.

Wednesday evening, Jan. 26, 2022


Biden nominates first woman for U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah

Utah may see its first woman appointed as U.S. Attorney for the state. President Joe Biden nominated Trina Higgins for the position after she was recommended by Republican Senators Mike Lee and Mitt Romney. Higgins has been an Assistant U.S. Attorney for Utah since 2002, and she’s a graduate of the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah. In a joint statement, Lee and Romney expressed confidence in her qualifications and integrity. Biden nominated attorneys for six states Wednesday, including the first Black woman to serve as U.S. attorney in Connecticut. Higgins and the others still need to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. — Elaine Clark/Associated Press

Stewart to face primary challenger

Rep. Chris Stewart, R-UT, has a challenger from his own party for the 2022 midterm election. Erin Rider of Salt Lake City officially launched her campaign for the 2nd Congressional District Wednesday. Rider is a corporate law attorney and was a law clerk to former Senator Orrin Hatch on the Senate Finance Committee. Stewart has never faced a primary challenger on the ballot since being elected to office in 2012. — Elaine Clark

USDA funds head to rural Utah projects

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing nearly a million dollars into community facilities in four small towns in Utah. The money will go to projects in Moab, Price, Helper and Park City. Helper and Moab will each receive $50,000 grants to purchase police vehicles. In Price, more than $74,000 will go to purchasing radios for the public safety departments. A Park City charter school, Weilenmann School of Discovery, has secured an $800,000 loan for renovations on its existing building. — Caroline Ballard

Golden eagle may make list of state symbols

Utah’s state bird is the California Seagull because of its historical significance for early pioneer settlers. Now, lawmakers may add a bird of prey to the list of state symbols — and name it the golden eagle. Other states, including Idaho, have added similar designations. Sen. Mike McKell, R-Spanish Fork, is the bill’s sponsor. He said it’s a bird all Utahns can relate to, not just members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The golden eagle is one of many raptors found in Utah and it’s at the top of the food chain, or an apex predator, according to Jeremy Hanks, with HawkWatch International. Read the full story. — Lexi Peery


Federal plan for ‘Confronting the Wildfire Crisis’

The U.S. Forest Service recently announced a 10-year plan that includes a dramatic increase in treating forests through thinning and prescribed burns. They plan to treat 20 million acres of Forest Service land along with 30 million acres of other federal, state, tribal and private lands. It also mapped areas it wants to treat first, including land around Salt Lake City and in Southwest Utah. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

a map of high-risk firesheds in the West.
U.S. Forest Service

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