Politics

Political news

Dan Bammes

  A group that wants to change Utah’s caucus-convention system for nominating candidates began its campaign this morning.  Count My Vote wants to allow candidates to qualify for primary election ballots using petitions signed by voters.

The group’s leaders include former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt and Norma Matheson, the wife of Utah’s last Democratic governor and the mother of Congressman Jim Matheson.  She says the current system leaves too many voters out of the nomination process.

Lt. Gov. Greg Bell Stepping Down

Sep 16, 2013
Utah Governor's Office

  Utah Lieutenant Governor Greg Bell announced his resignation Monday.  Bell says financial pressures are making it tough to stay in the job he’s held since 2009. 

Bell told reporters he’s about to turn 65 and he needs to save money for retirement.  He was in the real estate business before he was appointed Lieutenant Governor, and he says the recession was pretty tough.

Brian Grimmett

The investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into Utah Attorney General John Swallow has apparently come to a close without any charges being filed.

Brian Grimmett

The special counsel and investigator for the House Special Investigative Committee of Utah Attorney General John Swallow formally introduced themselves to legislators today and outlined their plan for the investigation.

Brian Grimmett

Democratic state Senator Luz Robles officially kicked off her campaign for Utah’s 2nd congressional district today at an event at the state capitol.

Utah Senate Democrats

Democratic State Senator Luz Robles says she’s planning to run against Republican incumbent Chris Stewart for Utah’s 2nd Congressional district seat in 2014.

Brian Grimmett / KUER

A week before their second meeting, the House Special Investigative Committee is already collecting documents and creating a list of potential witnesses as it looks into allegations against Utah Attorney General John Swallow.

Andrea Smardon

There was a packed house for Utah Congressman Chris Stewart’s Town Hall in Salt Lake City last night. In fact, there were many who didn’t get into the small library conference room in the Avenues neighborhood. Constituents had questions about the Congressman’s stance on environmental protection, immigration reform, and military action in Syria, but a number of people left feeling they did not have their voices heard.

Brian Grimmett

In the wake of Murray mayoral candidate David Wilde withdrawing from the race for health reasons, voters in Murray will have only one box to check on in November.  The primary’s third place finisher says he won’t mount a ballot write-in campaign.

City Attorney Frank Nakamura says state law prohibits the third place finisher in a non-partisan race from moving up. City Councilman Jim Brass placed a very close third to Wilde. Brass says his campaign was shocked at first by the announcement of a third place finish but he’s fine with it now.

State Audit Says Agencies Have Too Few Auditors

Aug 29, 2013
Dan Bammes

  The state auditor’s office released a report this week showing that many agencies don’t have internal auditors even when the law requires them.

State law requires 11 state departments to have internal auditors, and a new report from the state auditor’s office says four of them do not – Agriculture, Commerce, Environmental Quality and Public Safety.

File: Carriage for Hire website

Salt Lake City Councilman Charlie Luke is moving forward with what he says is a broad scoped inquiry into the death of Jerry the draft horse. The Carriage for Hire horse collapsed on a downtown street nearly a week and a half ago and several days later died. The owners didn't announce the death until Monday. Luke says he met with the owners and horses of the Carriage for Hire Tuesday. He says he’s looking at many factors related to the horse collapse including the specific incident itself and even best practices around the country.

Terry Gildea

Dr. Lobsang Sangay is the Prime Minister of Tibet, but he oversees his country from India as an exile while China continues its Tibetan occupation.  He landed in Salt Lake City on Tuesday and spoke at the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law.  In the evening the Utah Tibetan Association and Zions Bank hosted a reception for him in downtown Salt Lake.  KUER’s Terry Gildea caught up with Dr. Sangay at the Grand America Hotel to ask him about his role as an exiled leader and about his relationship with Utah’s Tibetan Community.  

Brian Grimmett

Utah Republican Party chairman James Evans addressed the media today about inflammatory comments made by Salt Lake County GOP Chairman Chad Bennion. Evans’ comments come more than a week after Bennion first said that District Attorney Sim Gill might be a cop hater and then helped promote a rally aimed against him.

Courtesy of the Utah Democratic Party

This week, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean attended two rallies in Utah in an effort to get more voters to register as Democrats.  The former chairman of the Democratic National Committee says he’s not discouraged by the numbers: only 25% of voters in Utah cast ballots as Democrats.  KUER’s Terry Gildea sat down with Dean to talk about the challenges of cultivating Democrats in a red state and about his own political future.  

Former Vermont Governor and presidential hopeful Howard Dean will be in Utah today hoping to motivate Democrats more than a year ahead of midterm elections. KUER’s Terry Gildea reports.

Dean served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2005 to 2009. His visit to Utah on Monday isn’t under the official banner of the party, but he does hope to get grassroots volunteers excited about recruiting more Democratic voters in a state many believe to be held strongly by Republicans.

Brian Grimmett

About 50 people showed up outside the Salt Lake City and County building this afternoon in protest of District attorney Sim Gill, but the demonstrators weren’t without opposition.

Bob Nelson

Seven candidates for Mayor of West Valley City are now running campaigns. That long list may be a good sign the city is set to put an equa lly long list of struggles behind it. From where I’m standing near the new Fairbourne TRAX station in West Valley City, on the water stairs in the park next to the TRAX station, facing east I see the newly restored Valley Fair Mall bustling with shoppers, right in front of me the City Offices and the beautiful new Embassy Suites Hotel is to my left just beyond the TRAX line.

Salt Lake County

Last week Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill determined that two West Valley City detectives were not justified in their shooting of an unarmed woman. In response, the County’s GOP Chairman Chad Bennion offered some harsh criticism of Gill that isn’t sitting well with some.

Mt. Pleasant Election Sees a Crowd of Candidates

Aug 12, 2013
Dan Bammes

  Cities and towns across Utah, from Big Water to Smithfield, are holding primary elections August 13th, narrowing the field of candidates for mayor and city council positions.  There’s one town in Sanpete County where the mayoral primary has drawn intense interest this year.  

About a hundred people gathered in the Wasatch Academy gymnasium in Mount Pleasant for a ‘Meet the Candidates’ night on July 31st.  It was another indication of the intense interest in this year’s municipal election – something this town of 28-hundred hasn’t always shown in the past.

File: Office of Governor Gary Herbert

Governor Gary Herbert’s Senior Environmental Advisor, Alan Matheson, is adding the duties of the State Planning Coordinator to his job in the governor’s office.  The governor’s communications deputy Ally Isom says demand for Matheson’s experience in balanced resource management will be important in his added role.

Brian Grimmett

The House Special Investigative Committee is naming Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP as the outside counsel they’ll use in their investigation of Utah Attorney General John Swallow.

Brian Grimmett

The House Special Investigative committee of Utah Attorney General John Swallow held their first meeting today and received a general overview their new responsibilities.

File: Utahns Against Hunger

Cuts in the food assistance program known as SNAP are looming as fall approaches. Utahns Against Hunger is trying to soften the blow to the 253,000 residents who will be affected. Gina Cornia is the executive director of the Salt Lake City-based non-profit organization. She says this is the first time ever that there has been an across-the-board cut in SNAP.

Brian Grimmett

Utah House Speaker Rebecca Lockhart has removed Representative Lowry Snow from the special investigative committee of Utah Attorney General John Swallow.

While Democrats piece together their own party-specific plans, a Republican group is preparing to file a statewide ballot initiative.  

Utah Democratic Party delegates voted last month to keep the caucus and convention system with the understanding that a committee of Democrats would spend the next year studying possible changes to the status quo.

Utah Democrat Jim Matheson introduced legislation in Congress today to protect wilderness and watershed areas along the Wasatch Front.                

UTA Not Seeking Tax Increase After All

Jul 25, 2013
Brian Grimmett

Several news outlets reported last week that a Utah Transit Authority official asked state lawmakers for a sixty-six percent increase  in its share of sales tax revenue. A UTA spokesman now says those reports are inaccurate.

Brian Grimmett

The Utah Lt. Governor’s office has picked the law firm Snell & Wilmer to be the special counsel in the investigation into whether or not Attorney General John Swallow violated state election laws.

Courtesy of Congressman Jim Matheson

Utah Democratic Congressman Jim Matheson has joined a growing list of Republicans and Democrats in the No Labels Congressional Problem Solvers Coalition. Former Utah Governor John Huntsman Junior is co-chair of No Labels. Matheson says joining this group is a way to approach the challenge of the polarized dynamics of politics right now in Washington.

Brian Grimmett

House Speaker Becky Lockhart has announced the names of the representatives who will serve on the special committee investigating Utah Attorney General John Swallow.

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