House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, left, and Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton, talk prior to joining House Minority Leader Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, and Sen. Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City, in a panel discussion on the 2022 Legislative Session at the Thomas S. Monson Center in Salt Lake City on March 8. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)
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SALT LAKE CITY — Senate President Stuart Adams and House Speaker Brad Wilson will reprise their roles in the next legislative session, after Utah Senate and House Republicans held leadership elections on Thursday.
“I believe it happened for multiple different reasons, but one is I think Utah is one of the best managed states in the nation,” Adams said, explaining why he believes all Senate Republicans who were up for reelection won another term and the Senate leadership roster remained unchanged.
“I think we have developed good policies. We’ve led the nation in many metrics.”
Adams, from Layton, has been in the Senate since 2009, and has served as its president since 2018. Wilson, a representative from Kaysville, has held the top spot in the House since 2019.
While he said much work remains to preserve the Great Salt Lake, Adams took credit for a variety of other policies, including Utah’s COVID-19 recovery and the state’s economy.
“We were elected not to look at the past, but to look at the future,” he said during a news conference at the Capitol on Thursday. “There’s a few things that I think we want to focus on for the future, and we’re going to continue with a lot of the same policies that we’ve driven in the past.”
Senate Majority Leader Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, said that he is glad the campaign season is over and optimistic about what the party plans to do going forward.
“As we move forward and tackle some of the things like the president talked about … we are going to find solutions,” Vickers said. “I think we’re looking at an opportunity to do some generational-type things.”
Vickers said the caucus may look at increasing teacher salaries “to an extent we haven’t even thought of before” and also spoke about the importance of water and the Great Salt Lake. In a news release, the majority caucus said its priorities also include “(cutting) taxes to offset rising inflation caused by the federal government’s overspending, (keeping) Utah’s economy and thriving business community the best in the nation” and “sustaining Utah’s great quality of life.”
Senate Majority Whip Ann Millner, R-Ogden, said she ran for Senate leadership to “be able to serve the caucus” and “to be able to facilitate making good decisions.”
“I always feel this kind of enormous responsibility, because we’re making decisions that impact every individual in the state of Utah,” she said.
Sen. Kirk Cullimore, R-Sandy, was also reelected as the Senate Majority Assistant Whip.
The Senate Democrats held their own elections earlier on Thursday, and chose Sen. Luz Escamilla, D-Salt Lake City, as the minority leader.
“We want to congratulate them and look very much forward to working with them throughout this session like we have in the past sessions,” Vickers said.
There was little change on the House side, with House Majority Leader Mike Schultz, R-Hooper, and House Majority Whip Jefferson Moss, R-Saratoga Springs, each winning reelection alongside Wilson. Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, R-Clearfield, replaced Rep. Val Peterson, R-Orem, as majority assistant whip.
“The trust and confidence of my fellow representatives is humbling,” Wilson said in a statement. “I have never been more energized to serve or more focused on leading my colleagues as we address the challenges and opportunities of the coming years.”
“I am honored and thrilled to be a part of this leadership team,” Lisonbee said in a statement. “My colleagues have put a great amount of trust in me and I look forward to getting to work and making the most out of this opportunity.”
The House leadership team will serve in their positions through the upcoming term, which ends in January 2025.