Republicans back Mike Schultz as Utah’s new Speaker of the House
Republicans have chosen Rep. Mike Schultz as the next Utah Speaker of the House. In addition to Schultz’s ascent, the Nov. 14 closed-door caucus meeting also solidified the full leadership team.
The official House floor vote for Speaker will be on Nov. 15. Republicans currently have a supermajority in both the Utah House and Senate.
“We’re very fortunate to be able to go through the process and earn the support and trust from our caucus members,” Schultz said of the caucus vote. “One of the things that I know is a top priority for everyone sitting at this table is that we make sure we put Utahns first. The citizens of the state will come first.”
First elected to the Legislature in 2014, Schultz has been Majority Leader since 2021.
This evening, the Utah House Majority Caucus elected a new leadership team:— Utah House Majority (@utahhousereps) November 15, 2023
Speaker of the House – Mike Schultz
Majority Leader – Jefferson Moss
Majority Whip – Karianne Lisonbee
Majority Assistant Whip – Casey Sniderhttps://t.co/pDyMD4xScZ pic.twitter.com/wpBmBBZVKE
The reshuffling of leadership was necessary after Speaker Brad Wilson announced his resignation in October to run for the U.S. Senate. Sen. Mitt Romney said he would not seek reelection in September and will leave office when his current term expires.
A home builder by trade, Schultz now devotes his time to his family’s cattle ranch when not in the Legislature.
When it comes to his priorities for the upcoming legislative session, Schultz pointed to water, transportation and energy as areas where the House will be focused come January.
“Energy is probably one that you're going to hear a lot about this session,” he said. “Utah doesn't produce enough energy. We had to import it from other states. That's not a place I don't think any of us want to be.”
Schultz said the looming transition to more electric powered cars and transportation will be a “top priority” and pledged that the Legislature would “try really hard not to be caught flat footed on that, and we're going to try really hard to get ahead of it.”
Besides acting as the House sponsor of the new Utah flag bill in the last session, Schultz also sponsored bills raising taxes on electric vehicle charging stations, Utah’s Inland Port projects and the creation of the Great Salt Lake commissioner.
The caucus meeting ran nearly an hour longer than anticipated as Republicans aligned behind the entire leadership team.
“We appreciate those that challenged the members of leadership,” added Schultz. “I think that’s always a good process and makes us all better when there’s a little bit of competition.”
Ultimately, Rep. Jefferson Moss, R-Saratoga Springs, was elected to fill Schultz’s place as the new majority leader. The Utah County resident previously served as majority whip. And Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, R-Clearfield, moved up from majority assistant whip to majority whip.
“I suspect that the integrity, the competency, the expertise that our members bring every day to the legislative session will continue to yield good results for the state of Utah,” said Snider. “I’m completely confident in that, regardless of the role.”
Future committee chairmanships are to be determined by the new leadership team, Schultz said, but he anticipates some reshuffling before the new year.
The 2024 Utah legislative session starts on Jan. 16.