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Attorney General GOP primary voter guide: What to know about Derek Brown, Frank Mylar and Rachel Terry

The Republican primary candidates for Utah Attorney General are Derek Brown, Frank Mylar and Rachel Terry.
Derek Brown for Attorney General Campaign / Frank Mylar for Attorney General Campaign
Rachel for Utah Campaign
The Republican primary candidates for Utah Attorney General are Derek Brown, Frank Mylar and Rachel Terry.

Current Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes is not seeking reelection, opening up the office to a new candidate. Three Republican attorneys are vying to replace Reyes. They are:

  • Derek Brown, an attorney, former lawmaker and former chair of the Utah Republican Party
  • Frank Mylar, an attorney from Cottonwood Heights
  • Rachel Terry, an attorney with experience in the Attorney General's Office and the current director of the Utah Division of Risk Management

We asked Utahns what mattered to them during the primary season and that feedback informed this primary voter guide.

Methodology: An identical survey was sent to all three campaigns. Provided answers were fact-checked prior to the publication of this guide and we included links and/or editor’s notes on our findings. If a candidate did not respond, KUER leaned on public statements, interviews and additional reporting to provide voters with useful information. Candidates appear in alphabetical order by surname.

What motivates you to run for office? (Ireland, Weber County)

  • Brown: My primary motive for running is an opportunity to serve and make the state of Utah a better place. I believe that it is important for citizens of Utah to step up, serve in the public sector, and then step back to the private sector. I have done this on several occasions, in the Utah House of Representatives, and serving three different United States Senators from Utah. I have also done the same as the Chairman of the Utah Republican Party, serving on boards and in other places in our community.  Our system of government is designed for people to serve for a time, and then return to the community and continue to serve. 
  • Mylar: I help a lot of people as a private attorney vindicate their constitutional rights. I could be of a lot more help if I were the Attorney General. In many ways, I have acted as a citizens' attorney. I have even brought "citizens" petition to the Utah Supreme Court. Presently, I am filing a lawsuit to find the Corporate Transparency Act unconstitutional for its intrusion into small business owners' privacy in Utah who are not engaged in interstate commerce. The Attorney General should be helping defend and protect the constitutional rights of Utah Citizens. I will do that as your next Attorney General.
  • Terry: I am passionate about the work of the Attorney General's Office. I spent seven years at the Attorney General's Office (2015-2022) handling some of the most significant cases in the State's history. I am now the Director for Utah Division of Risk Management where I oversee a team of professionals and attorneys handling litigation, legislation, policy, budgeting, and management. I'm running because I love working to protect Utah.

How do you define accountability to the public? (Cheri, Davis County)

  • Brown: Being accountable to the public requires setting very clear priorities and then reporting regularly on your progress towards achieving those priorities to those individuals to whom you are accountable. As Attorney General, I have three priorities. 1) Supporting the professionals within the office. 2) Pushing back against federal government expansion, in areas where they are overreaching and violating the rights of Utahns. 3) Protecting the rights of Utahns, including those who are the most vulnerable. These priorities will guide everything I do, and I expect to be held accountable by the public for my progress on each of these priorities. 
  • Mylar: The public should know your calendar and travel that is related to the business of being the Attorney General. Not taking donations from special interest groups, lobbyists, credit unions, banks, and corporations is another way to not be compromised by the sway of money. Money often corrupts. I will not accept gifts from donors and other influence peddlers.  
  • Terry: I define accountability to the public as being transparent and accessible and taking responsibility for my decisions. I will have an online portal where constituents can report concerns and give feedback. I will have a whistle blower hotline that I personally oversee. I will have an annual report to highlight the accomplishments and progress of the office and define goals for the future year.

The Utah Attorney General’s office is currently the subject of a legislative audit. How would you build and keep trust with the public? (Melissa, Salt Lake County)

  • Brown: It is my understanding that, within a short period of time, the public will have an opportunity to see the final results of audit that is being conduct[ed] by the Legislative Auditor. There are several different areas which are being analyzed by the auditor, including things like the governance structure and culture. I believe that public trust is paramount, and if elected, would work with legislative leaders to adopt findings contained within this audit. Building public trust requires honesty, as well as regular communication and transparency, which is why I have committed to having transparency in areas such as making my calendar public. The more that the public understands what it is that an elected official is doing, the more trust can be maintained with the public.
  • Mylar: I will Carefully review the audit and determine whether changes need to be made in the office. Also, just being more transparent about what the office is doing. When people file a complaint, there needs to be a response.
  • Terry: Transparency is at the heart of trust. I will have a constituent services team to receive and respond to questions and concerns. I will also have town halls and provide information so the public knows what the Attorney General's Office is doing. I will make my calendar public. I will not only improve the relationship with the public, I will improve the relationship between the Attorney General and all stakeholders in the state, such as legislators, schools, universities, advocacy groups, counties, cities, and others.

What are you doing to lessen political polarization? (Erika, Salt Lake County)

  • Brown: Good leaders are able to unite people toward a common goal. As Chairman of the Utah Republican Party, I was able to unite our party during a time of significant infighting. I have always tried to avoid divisive rhetoric and have a track record of building teams and consensus in a way that accomplishes critical objectives, without creating a polarizing environment. While sometimes a good leader will have to stand alone, it is critical to build coalitions and direct those coalitions towards common goals. I have been supported by some of the top legislative leaders in our state precisely because of my ability to bring disparate groups of people together to achieve a common goal.
  • Mylar: I am an attorney, not a politician nor a lobbyist and not a government bureaucrat. I want to simply and fairly apply the Constitution and the laws as written. there is too much politicization of the law and that has to stop. I commit to fairly investigating and prosecuting criminals. I will not defend a state agency who has wrongfully violated a person's constitutional rights without trying to "right" the wrong they have suffered. I want the rule of law to speak the loudest in my office and not lobbyists and politicians. this is supposed to be an independent legal office and it should not be swayed by other politicians or donors to a campaign. 

    [Editor’s note: Mylar has government experience working for the Utah State Department of Health (1998-2000) and the Utah Attorney General’s Office (1988-1998) and the Department of Corrections (1996-1997).]

  • Terry: The Attorney General is the general counsel for the entire State -- not just the Governor or Legislature. I will provide sound legal advice grounded in conservative legal principles not political rhetoric. I will stay focused on the mission and work of the Attorney General's Office, which is to defend and uphold the laws of Utah. I value and excel at building broad coalitions with a variety of stakeholders. I am trusted and respected by people working in and represented by the Attorney General's Office.

What is your top priority if elected? (Carol, Utah County)

  • Brown: As mentioned previously, my three top objectives as Attorney General are 1) Supporting the professionals within the office. 2) Pushing back against federal government expansion, in areas where they are overreaching and violating the rights of Utahns. and 3) Protecting the rights of Utahns, including those who are the most vulnerable. However, none of these can be achieved without first achieving public trust. As I have done throughout my professional career, I will work to build trust with stakeholders and the public in order to accomplish these goals.
  • Mylar: I want to protect girls sports and bathrooms and bring back the original meaning of Title IX. This federal statute was passed in about 1973* to protect women sports in college and in lower schools from unequal treatment. It is unfair for a biological boy or man to compete in sports and it violates girls/women's privacy and religious rights to allow a biological boy/man to use their bathrooms and showers. I also want to protect rural cattle ranchers so they can continue to use the land they have always used for years. I will fight the federal government over unreasonable restrictions to Utah lands.

    [Editor’s note: *Title IX was signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1972.]

  • Terry: I have two top priorities: (1) doing the job of the Attorney General, which entails representing Utah agencies in their legal battles, supporting the law enforcement community, and addressing federal overreach; and (2) improving accessibility, transparency, and accountability for the Attorney General's Office.

What is your stance on abortion? What is the role of the government in regulating abortion? (Kate, Salt Lake County)

  • Brown: I am and always will be pro-life. Utah currently has laws in place that are representative of the public’s views on this subject, and as Attorney General, I will vigorously defend these laws.

    [Editor’s note: A Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll in June 2023 found 52% of Utahns support the state’s law to ban nearly all abortions with exceptions for maternal health and cases of rape and incest. That law currently faces a lawsuit.]

  • Mylar: I am pro-life, but I cannot pass laws, that is the job of the Legislature. It is my job to apply the law fairly. If. See a problem with a law, or some unconstitutional provision, I will bring this to the attention of lawmakers. 
  • Terry: I am pro-life. As ruled by the US Supreme Court, each state has the right to regulate abortion. Utah has already passed laws regarding abortion, and my role as the Attorney General will be to defend and uphold those laws.

    [Editor’s note: State policies on abortion vary as do the allowable exceptions in states that curtail access to the procedure. Common exceptions include in the case of rape, incest or to protect the life of the mother. Utah’s trigger law ban on abortion, which is currently blocked by courts, includes those exceptions.]

What are your plans to support marginalized and minority groups? (Klarissa, Utah County)

  • Brown: The Utah Attorney General’s Office must ensure that the rights of all Utahns are upheld and respected, regardless of age, sex, race, religion or sexual orientation. As Attorney General, I will ensure this standard is adhered to.
  • Mylar: Well, I am the only attorney, I believe, on all sides of the political spectrum who has actually brought lawsuits relating to racial, gender, and religious discrimination. I did this both when I worked in the Attorney General's office in the 1990s and as a private attorney within the last 24 years. Minorities should be treated fairly under the law without exception. I want minorities to know that I will defend them against unequal treatment in government. I have defended students' rights in both high schools and universities in Utah also.
  • Terry: I will save a seat for marginalized and minority groups at the decision-making table. I will make sure that the law and access to justice applies equally to everyone, regardless of political connections or financial status. As an attorney and leader, I use the law to solve problems and to provide equal justice for all. I will do that as Utah's Attorney General. I have been a practicing attorney for 20 years, and I have worked on some of the most contentious and difficult cases that have faced our state in the past decade. In many of those cases, I was able to negotiate settlements that had seemed impossible. I was able to do that because I am committed to first understanding the problem and then hearing a variety of perspectives and opinions. I work hard to fight for my clients' interests while finding common ground. As your Attorney General, I will continue that practice.

What is your plan for addressing immigration issues? (Judy, Salt Lake County)

  • Brown: I will work with both state and our federal partners to help strengthen border security. Our immigration system is tragically and chronically broken, which is why literally millions of people crossed the border illegally just in the last year.* It does not look like Congress will fix the problem anytime soon, which leaves a vacuum in leadership on this issue. I believe that the vacuum of congressional inaction should be filled by the states, as outlined in the Tenth Amendment, stepping up and working together to address the problems caused by the lack of leadership on immigration.

    [Editor’s note: *Pew Research Center reported that December 2023 marked a record high of 250,000 migrant encounters on the U.S.-Mexico border. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol recorded nearly 2.5 million encounters for 2023.]

  • Mylar: Utah should not allow the state of New York, or other states, to dump illegal aliens in our state.  many illegal aliens these days are nothing like the illegal aliens of 20 or 30 years ago. Many are dangerous or are being exploited by drug cartels. Legal immigration can be good. Illegal immigration makes it harder for legal immigration to happen and it needs to be stop[ped] on Utah's borders.
  • Terry: Many seek to reduce immigration to oversimplified arguments, but the issue is incredibly complicated and nuanced. One of my greatest concerns includes the uptick in fentanyl trafficking* and use that stems from inadequate enforcement at the southern border. Another is the humanitarian crisis caused by overwhelmed social systems. I will do everything I can do to address this crisis, including working with Utah sheriffs and the Legislature to find Utah-specific solutions. I will also work with other Attorneys General across the country.

    [Editor’s note: According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, April 2023 marked the highest fentanyl seizures on the Southwest border at 3,200 pounds. The agency accounted for 1,300 pounds in April 2024.]

What role does Utah’s Attorney General have in regulating social media and AI, and what are your priorities in this area? (Avree, Weber County)

  • Brown: The passing of social media legislation is the prerogative of the legislature, with the Department of Commerce tasked with passing regulations. Fortunately, the Utah legislature has tackled the difficult area of social media legislation during the last two legislative sessions, creating legislation that would give parents tools to regulate and monitor their children online. This is something that I have worked on closely and am familiar with. It also prohibits these companies from doing things like marketing to, or collecting data from, minors. While there are still steps that need to be taken in the future, these bills, sponsored by Rep. Teuscher and Sen. Cullimore, mark good first steps in addressing this issue. The Department of Commerce has been tasked with creating regulations to monitor this issue and ensure that social media companies are complying with these new laws. The legislature has also recently passed laws beginning to address some of the complexities of AI, and we can expect far more in the years to come.
  • Mylar: The Utah Attorney General does not "regulate social media and AI." However, there are some active lawsuits on this issue and I will need to explore these suits and determine whether they are the best approach. To some degree, parents should monitor their children's usage of social media, but also these outlets should not be providing harmful materials to minors or to easily enable predatory conduct online.
  • Terry: Social media is harming our children and social media companies know it. My role will be to hold social media companies accountable by continuing the current lawsuits regarding social media and defending the recent social media legislation.

    AI presents a lot of opportunities if handled correctly and perils if it is not. I will have an AI task force to guide and inform the Attorney General's Office as it addresses AI. And I will work with all stakeholders to maximize the positive contributions of AI while protecting Utahns from misuse.

Do you believe the 2020 election was stolen? Will you accept the results of the 2024 presidential election? (Rebecca, Davis County; John, Salt Lake County)

  • Brown: One of the most critical issues in our society is having confidence and trust in our election system. This is an issue I worked on at length as the Utah Republican Party Chair, and is something I will also work on as Utah’s Attorney General. I will make it a priority to work with not only the Utah Elections Office, but with the individual county clerks to provide support and resources to them to ensure that our elections are conducted legally and fairly in Utah, and that Utahns can have confidence in the results. I do not believe the election was stolen in 2020, and as Attorney General, I will follow the rule of law which includes accepting the legal results of the 2024 election.
  • Mylar: Hillary Clinton stated on several occasions that the 2016 election was stolen from her, yet media sources seem to forget this fact.* I will not assert that an election was stolen from me unless I have some compelling facts. I have not investigated the facts of the 2016 or the 2020 elections and I cannot comment upon that which I have no knowledge. One important fact is that there has been election fraud going on in various places in this country for years and there have been convictions that substantiate such fraud.** Some of this fraud is encouraged by state laws that do not require verification of driver's license and voter cards*** and when states send out multiple mail-in ballots.*** That is a problem that must be fixed. Right now, there are many people who are losing trust in our election system.*****  We need clear laws that help eliminate fraud so people can trust our system. Further, incidents of election fraud must be prosecuted. 

    [Editor’s notes: *An analysis by the Libertarian think-tank The Cato Institute looked at Democratic claims of stolen elections. While Hillary Clinton did make some references to the 2016 election being stolen, those came in 2019 following the Mueller Report.

    ** The conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation maintains a database called “A Sampling of Recent Election Fraud Cases from Across the United States.” Of its 1,513 “proven instances of voter fraud,” it lists one Utah case in which three people in Daggett County pleaded guilty to false registrations in the 2006 sheriff’s race. Meanwhile, the progressive Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law finds voter fraud to be rare.

    *** The National Council of State Legislatures says 36 states request or require some form of identification to vote. The other 14 use other methods to verify voters.

    **** Election officials argue that when voters mistakenly receive two ballots, if they are both returned, there are systems in place that prevent them from being counted twice.*

    **** An October 2023 Gallup poll found that while only 40% of Republicans are very or somewhat confident in election accuracy, that number is 80% and 67% for Democrats and independents respectively.]

  • Terry: I do not believe the 2020 election was stolen, but it was deeply impacted by untested and poorly managed Covid-driven election policy changes in other states.* The 2020 election revealed that many Utahns have lost confidence in our elections.** It is not enough to tell the public that elections in Utah are safe and secure. We must be transparent and show them how they are safe and secure and address real concerns, such as voter ID and ensuring that ballots are sent to the right people. I will work with the Lieutenant Governor, county clerks, and all stakeholders to improve election integrity and will investigate and prosecute voter fraud.

    I will accept the results of the 2024 election once they have been verified and been through the legal process afforded each candidate.

    [Editor’s note: *The progressive Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law reports on election changes states made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including early voting, expanded mail-in voting and expanded opportunities to cure ballot defects.

    ** An October 2023 Gallup poll found that while only 40% of Republicans are very or somewhat confident in election accuracy, that number is 80% and 67% for Democrats and independents respectively.]

KUER's Sean Higgins, Elaine Clark and Jim Hill contributed to this guide along with independent fact checkers Connor Sexton and Allison Shafter.

This voter guide was produced in collaboration with PBS Utah and America Amplified.

KUER is listener-supported public radio. Support this work by making a donation today.