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Utah keeps toehold in D.C. with part-time office

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Savings » Under a previous administration in 2004, Utah spent $236,000 on rent and salaries for its D.C. employees. Herbert spent $134,000 last fiscal year; the drop-off was largely due to cheaper office space.

The Hall of States houses the Washington offices of 22 states, and Utah spent $2,300 per month on the posh locale eight years ago. Spendlove found the current office, a block away in the National Association of Realtors’ glass-encased triangle, for $1,515.

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"We are getting the best bang for the taxpayers’ dollars to advance Utah’s agenda," Herbert said.

More than 30 states had representatives based full time in D.C. in 2009. That number has dipped to 27, according to the National Governors Association, which has seen more states ask employees to track federal issues from the statehouse.

Chaffetz sees value in the state’s chief executive having a part-time surrogate, appreciating easy access to an adviser to the governor on issues ranging from energy to tribal relations. But he still sees no reason for states to have permanent representation in Washington.

"The Robert Spendlove model works for me," he said. "It seems like a less expensive way to do that."


Twitter: @mattcanham

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