Political news

Murray City Councilman Jim Brass Announces Mayoral Bid

Jun 4, 2013
Brian Grimmett

Murray City Councilman Jim Brass announced today that he’s running to replace Murray City Mayor Dan Snarr, who recently disclosed he will not be running for re-election. 

Jim Brass has been on the Murray City Council for ten years. Before that, he served on the planning and zoning commission. Democratic state Representative Carol Spackman-Moss was at Brass’ announcement. She says she’s giving her support to Brass because of his experience.


Cottonwood Heights Mayor Kelvin Cullimore Jr. has filed for re-election. Cullimore was elected as the first mayor of Cottonwood Heights back in 2004 following a successful incorporation referendum. Cullimore says his administration has done an excellent job of providing services at a reasonable cost.

In his re-election announcement, Mayor Cullimore stressed the important things Cottonwood City has not done under his leadership.

Governor Gary Herbert appointed six members to the newly formed Prison Relocation and Development Authority today. The group is tasked with examining the potential of moving the state prison that is currently located in Draper.

File Don Christensen Campaign

West Valley City Councilman Don Christensen announced his plan Tuesday to run for Mayor of that city. Christensen says after current mayor Mike Winder declared he would not run for re-election, many of his friends and associates encouraged him to run.

“And I thought man if everybody wants me to run I’d better do it,” says Christensen.  “So I decided, I thought long and hard about it, talked to my family about and we decided that it would be a good…good step and we’d go ahead and do it.”

WVC Mayor Mike Winder Won't Seek Re-Election

May 22, 2013
West Valley City

West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder announced today that he will not run for re-election later this year. Despite problems plaguing the city’s police force and a scandal where Winder admitted writing articles under a pen-name praising his city, he says he’s proud of his tenure as Mayor.

Winder says the $35K annual salary he receives as Mayor is not enough to provide for his family and he’ll be looking for a better paying job when his term ends next January. He says West Valley City’s economy blossomed on his watch.

U.S. Air Force

Correction: In an earlier version we made the mistake of saying civilian contractors will be furloughed. That is not the case. Civilian federal employees will be furloughed.

The majority of Utah’s congressional delegation met with the U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff today to discuss key issues surrounding the future of Hill Air Force Base.

Rep. Rob Bishop, R-UT, says he feels good about the long-term viability of Hill Air Force Base after meeting with U.S Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh.

Brian Grimmett

For the first time since the 1980’s, the Salt Lake City Planning Division is renewing its effort to create a master plan for the city’s future development. The public comment period for Plan Salt Lake began last fall and today the official kick-off of the campaign took place at Salt Lake City and County Building. Planning Division Director Wilf Sommerkorn says businesses and residents are an important part of this over-arching program.

Andrea Smardon

Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love officially declared Saturday that she will run again for the congressional seat occupied by Democrat Jim Matheson. Love's announcement came during a speech to several thousand delegates at the Utah Republican Party's annual organizing convention.

“You and I have some unfinished business with Jim Matheson. So combining my confidence in you delegates, with the inspiration you’ve given back to me, we are stronger than ever, and I am certain, we will win,” said Love to applause.

Andrea Smardon

Utah GOP Chairman Thomas Wright gave his final address to Republicans as their state leader on Saturday. Wright called on his fellow party members to be more inclusive.  

Thomas Wright announced earlier this year that he would not run for re-election as the state Republican Party leader.  At Saturday’s organizing convention, he called on Utah Republicans not to push away groups that may not traditionally embrace conservative values.

Andrea Smardon

Utah Republicans decided at their convention on Saturday to keep their system in place for choosing party nominees. A proposal to raise the percentage of votes needed to avoid a primary sparked heated debate about how best to give lesser-known candidates a fair shot. 

Andrea Smardon

Utah Republicans elected former state legislator James Evans to lead the state GOP.  Evans is the first African-American to hold the post. 

Outside of politics, Evans is the owner of Checkline, a payday loan franchise. Going into the convention, he had support from Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser and other state lawmakers in his bid for party chairman. During his speech at the GOP organizing convention, Evans showcased his experience and his ability to successfully market GOP values.

Some members of the Utah GOP Caucus favor changes to the delegate system that could increase the number of primary elections in the state, according to a recent survey. This weekend at the state Republican convention delegates will consider the proposed changes including an increase in the vote threshold candidates must obtain to avoid a primary.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill has confirmed that he and Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings are looking into whether or not the Utah Attorney General’s office has violated any state laws.

Brian Grimmett / KUER

The State Government Operations Interim committee discussed today the possibility of making Utah’s Attorney General an appointed position rather than an elected one.

Brian Grimmett

The Utah legislature is meeting this week for their monthly interim meetings but they don’t plan on discussing the fate or potential impeachment of Attorney General John Swallow.  

Speaker of the House Rebecca Lockhart says she’s concerned about the recent allegations brought against Attorney General John Swallow and that they’re looking into how the legislature might address them.

Police Integrity Crucial to WVC Mayor Candidate

May 14, 2013
Dan Bammes

  Restoring the credibility of West Valley City’s police department is the top priority for Margaret Peterson, who announced her candidacy for mayor of Utah's second-largest city this week.

With its drug investigation unit disbanded, more than a hundred cases dismissed by prosecutors and several officers on administrative leave, Margaret Peterson believes it’ll take strong leadership from the mayor to bring the police department back.  But she says the city should stop short of a wholesale housecleaning.

The Salt Lake Tribune (pool photo)

Utah Lt. Governor Greg Bell will seek special counsel to investigate three of the 12 allegations brought against Attorney General John Swallow that he violated election law.

Members of the Boy Scouts Great Salt Lake Council met today to discuss how to vote on a proposal to partially lift a ban on gays in the organization.  A final vote on the plan will take place at a national meeting later this month. 

Utah Governor Wants to Hurry AG Investigation

Apr 17, 2013

  Utah Governor Gary Herbert wants to see federal authorities hurry up with their investigation of Utah’s attorney general.   The governor said this morning that the delay is impacting the Attorney General’s office and the investigation has taken too long.

Utah lawmakers are still in the process of deciding whether or not to override Governor Gary Herbert’s veto of House Bill 76. Some who voted for the bill have decided not to challenge the Governor.

Office of Senator Orrin Hatch

Utah’s Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee voted no today on a motion to proceed with legislation in the U-S Senate that could alter regulations for buying and owning guns. 

Chaffetz Calls for Piecemeal Immigration Reform

Apr 8, 2013

Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz called for a piecemeal approach to immigration reform while speaking at the Hinckley Institute of Politics today. He says if you want to solve the overall problem you have to start by fixing legal immigration.

“You never ever solve this problem unless you fix legal immigration," he says. "I don’t care how big, far, wide your fence is, if you don’t fix legal immigration you never solve the problem.”

Democrats in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have launched a national organization to promote their political values. Leaders of LDS Democrats of America announced the development during a virtual press conference this morning . 

On the heels of the 2012 Presidential election and the so-called “Mormon moment,” LDS Democrats are looking to extend their reach. Robert Taber directed the national Mormons for Obama Campaign in 2012. He’s now chair of the newly-minted LDS Democrats of America, an outgrowth of the LDS Democrats caucus in Utah.

Utah Republican Party Chairman Thomas Wright announced today that he will not seek re-election when the state GOP meets in May. 

Office of Senator Mike Lee.

Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee has joined two other lawmakers who say they will block any legislation dealing with gun control.  

A deal made more than 30 years ago between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Salt Lake County could end up saving taxpayers millions of dollars.

Brian Grimmett / KUER

With Governor Gary Herbert’s veto of House Bill 76 Friday, lawmakers in the Utah House and Senate will have to decide whether or not to call a special session and attempt to override that veto.  HB 76 would allow anyone over the age of 21 who can legally possess a firearm to carry it concealed from view without a permit as long as a round of ammunition is not loaded in the chamber of the gun.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert has vetoed HB 76, a bill that would allow any Utahn over the age of 21 to carry a concealed firearm without a permit unless the weapon has a round in the chamber. Now it’s up to Utah lawmakers to decide if they want to overrule the governor’s decision.  

Governor Herbert says he vetoed HB 76 because Utah’s current gun laws have served the state well and have become a model for the nation.

“So that’s a reason why if it ain’t broke don’t fix it," Herbert says.

Pollster Dan Jones Retires from the University of Utah

Mar 20, 2013
Andrea Smardon

Prominent Utah pollster Dan Jones is retiring from his position as Political Science Professor at the University of Utah.  Jones is stepping down after more than 50 years of teaching, but says he will continue his work in political polling. 

The end of Jones teaching career was marked by a crowd of politicians, academics, and students at the U’s Hinckley Institute of Politics. 

“Dan Jones has had the largest impact of probably anyone in Utah on civic participation,” said the institute’s Director Kirk Jowers.

Andrea Smardon

When the 2013 Utah Legislative session ended at midnight on Thursday, lawmakers had passed three bills aimed at improving air quality, but let four other bills expire without consideration.