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Hughes Chosen as Utah House Speaker

Utah House of Representatives
State Representative Greg Hughes (R-Draper)

  State Representative Greg Hughes will be the new Speaker of the House when the legislature begins its work in January.

Hughes represents District 51 in Draper.  The 60 Republicans in the House met Thursday evening and picked Hughes over two other candidates, Representatives Brad Dee of Ogden and Mel Brown from Coalville.

Hughes told reporters after the meeting that Governor Gary Herbert’s Healthy Utah plan is one of the most important issues they’ll have to deal with in the coming session – and the House will depend on the doctors and other medical professionals in the legislature to guide the debate.

Hughes said, “You’re going to see that expertise – that citizen legislature and the areas they understand be part of that debate about Healthy Utah – Medicaid expansion – it’s all one topic.  And we’re really going to drill down on that, with the guiding principle that we do right by our constituents.”

Representative Jim Dunnigan will become the new majority leader.  He’s chaired the state’s health reform task force and also led the House investigation of former Utah Attorney General John Swallow.

“I’ve studied the rules and the legislative process some over my last twelve years," Dunnigan told reporters, "and I think the public is best served when we have an open process when we invite and take public input, when the public is respected, when people are treated fairly, and I think we do a good job of that now.”

The Republicans’ leadership election was held behind closed doors, and the vote totals for each candidate were kept private.

Democrats are planning to hold their leadership election on November 19th.  They’ll have to choose a new minority leader to replace Jennifer Seelig, who didn’t run for re-election.

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