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Michelle Obama expected to headline Utah fundraiser

Published June 30, 2011 6:07 pm

Politics • Date for event is uncertain but it should take place in July.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Washington • Michelle Obama is expected to headline a fundraiser in Utah in late July, marking her first visit to the state since she made a brief campaign stop in 2008.

The president's re-election team is still working on the details of the first lady's trip. Utah Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Holland initially said the fundraiser would take place July 26, with Obama starting the day in Colorado before flying in for events in either Salt Lake City, Park City or perhaps both. After receiving a call from the Democratic National Committee, which would host the event, Holland says the date is fluid but the fundraiser is still a go.

"We hope as many people as possible have some contact with her," he said. "I hear people saying that they see her as someone who has added a lot of class to the White House."

And he added, "There is historical value to this visit."

President Barack Obama has yet to visit Utah since taking the oath of office. He did make a quick stop in Park City in 2007 and he planned to attend a rally in 2008, but canceled because it was scheduled on the same weekend as the funeral for late Mormon President Gordon B. Hinckley.

His wife arrived in his stead on February 5, 2008, speaking to a group of 1,000 Utahns at a Salt Palace gathering in the days before Utah's presidential primary.

At that time, she told the crowd: "When you look at me, I don't want you to see the next first lady. I want you to see the product of public education."

Utah Senate Minority Leader Ross Romero didn't attend that rally but plans to be there when Michelle Obama arrives in July.

"We're very pleased to be able to host the first lady. It's an honor to have that opportunity," he said.

State Sen. Pat Jones, D-Holladay, said it would be nice if Obama brought a few other members of the first family.

"I think that is exciting," she said. "I hope she brings her two little girls too."

mcanham@sltrib.com Twitter.com/mattcanham