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Top Utah Legislator Floated As Potential Trump Administration Pick

Greg Hughes/Twitter

Utah’s Speaker of the House, Rep. Greg Hughes, has been rumored as a possible contender for a job in the upcoming Trump administration.


A smiling Greg Hughes appeared on theInstagramfeed of Sen. Orrin Hatch on Tuesday, shaking hands with the senior Republican member of the Senate.


Hughes has been in Washington this week for a number of meetings, including one with members of the transition team of President-elect Donald Trump.


Hughes’ name has floated around Utah political circles for weeks as a contender for a high-profile role such as Transportation Secretary.


Tuesday’s announcement that Trump selected former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao would seem to squash those rumors, but Rep. Michael Noel, a longtime friend and colleague, says not so fast.


“I don’t know if an assistant secretary would be good too, because he has such a great background in transportation,” says Noel.


Hughes was first elected to the Utah legislature 14 years ago, and has served as chairman of the board of the Utah Transit Authority. Noel says Hughes would be a good fit because of his policy expertise.  


“He’s able to take information and assimilate it and then articulate the points very, very well. So he’s really good on policy,” he says.


Another thing he’s got going for him is loyalty. Hughes was an unwavering supporter of Trump throughout the presidential campaign, surprising some of his colleagues.


“He looked at the big picture of what he [Trump] could do for the country with the Supreme Court and some of the other things and he wanted to do and he just stayed with him from the get-go,” says Noel. “So, very loyal.”


Hughes is not the only one with potentially higher political ambitions. Rep. Noel has submitted his name for consideration for the national director of the Bureau of Land Management and says, if chosen, he’d love to have Hughes come along with him.

Julia joined KUER in 2016 after a year reporting at the NPR member station in Reno, Nev. During her stint, she covered battleground politics, school overcrowding, and any story that would take her to the crystal blue shores of Lake Tahoe. Her work earned her two regional Edward R. Murrow awards. Originally from the mountains of Western North Carolina, Julia graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2008 with a degree in journalism. She’s worked as both a print and radio reporter in several states and several countries — from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to Dakar, Senegal. Her curiosity about the American West led her to take a spontaneous, one-way road trip to the Great Basin, where she intends to continue preaching the gospel of community journalism, public radio and podcasting. In her spare time, you’ll find her hanging with her beagle Bodhi, taking pictures of her food and watching Patrick Swayze movies.
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