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Rolly: Wayne Owens’ son hopes to replace Scott Matheson’s son

By PAUL ROLLY

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Jan 28 2014 06:26 pm • Last Updated Jan 29 2014 11:20 am

Could Republican-dominated Utah replace one son of a famous Democratic politician with the son of another famous Democratic politician.

Doug Owens hopes so.

At a glance

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The son of the late Rep. Wayne Owens is running for the 4th Congressional District seat being vacated by Jim Matheson, son of the late two-term Gov. Scott Matheson.

Doug Owens says he plans to earn his votes on his own and not rely on the reputation of his father, who represented Utah’s 2nd Congressional District from 1973 to 1975 and again from 1987 to 1993.

Wayne Owens was a populist who successfully merged his role as a leader in the LDS Church with his liberal politics. Between his congressional stints, he was an LDS mission president in Canada.

Doug Owens says his philosophies are similar to his father’s. He wants to work for the middle class, which he says has suffered the past several years.

So far, the 50-year-old lawyer is the only Democrat who has announced for the race. The leading Republican candidate is Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love, who lost to Matheson in 2012 by about 700 votes.

Speaking of races » The northern Utah County area represented by House District 57 has been in political turmoil the past few years and will experience more tumult this election year between two conservative Republicans.

Conservative blogger and State Records Committee member Holly Richardson was elected to the seat in a special election in 2011 to replace then-incumbent Craig Frank, who had to resign after learning he didn’t live in the district.


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Then Richardson stepped down to work on the failed campaign of former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist, who challenged Orrin Hatch for the Republican nomination for Hatch’s U.S. Senate seat.

Frank, who had moved into the district, then was re-elected to Richardson’s seat in another special election. He ran for the state Senate, which he lost, and was replaced by Rep. Brian Greene.

Now, Richardson is challenging Greene, mostly on the argument that she has a more-collaborative and less confrontational style.

Greene has been known to have a few run-ins with folks at the Capitol, the most famous being the interim legislative session in late summer when he stomped out of an informational meeting for legislators with Utah School Board members concerning the Common Core, which Utah has joined with dozens of other states.

When school board members didn’t step in line with the Eagle Forum-led arguments that Common Core is a federal government conspiracy, Greene dubbed the meeting a waste of time and walked out.

Name from the past » Bill Geer, who was director of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources in the 1980s, is running for the Legislature — in Montana.

Geer, who moved to the Big Sky State after his DWR stint, has served on his local town council the past two decades.

An avid conservationist, he has worked for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.

His policies in Utah landed him in trouble more than once with then-Gov. Norm Bangerter and the conservative Legislature. He is running in Montana as a Democrat.

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