Republican delegates plan special elections next Tuesday to fill two vacant legislative seats. Eleven candidates — ranging from lawyers to a doctor, engineer, teacher, developers and businesspeople — are running in the two races.
The vacancies were created when Sen. Brian Shiozawa, R-Cottonwood Heights, a doctor, resigned to become regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Denver, and when Rep. Dean Sanpei, R-Provo, resigned to become senior vice president of Centura Health, also in Colorado.
GOP delegates from Shiozawa’s Senate District 8 will meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Cottonwood Heights City Hall to elect a replacement. Delegates from Sanpei’s House District 63 will meet the same time at Provo High School.
Winners will be forward to Gov. Gary Herbert for formal appointment to the Legislature.
Senate District 8
Nine candidates are seeking Shiozawa’s seat:
• Jesse Curtis, an elementary-school teacher, is seeking office for the first time.
“I am running because I believe in civil engagement and citizenship responsibility,” he said. “I believe I can make a difference in public education, in Utah’s future and Utah students.”
He also vows to “advocate for any sort of legislation that responsibly affects” his district and and its residents.
• Hal Davis, a lawyer, says he is running to help reduce the size of government.
“I can give voice to many who yearn for a return to freedom — freedom from burdensome taxation, from overreaching regulation, and especially freedom from politicians who believe government is the answer to all our problems.”
He adds he has worked in law firms, insurance companies and state government.
• Jaren Davis, a businessman who has owned and operated retirement homes and now heads a nonprofit group, said he hopes to continue serving the state as he has on boards that oversee state parks and planning.
“Our greatest threat is perhaps our greatest opportunity. That is the growth our state is realizing,” he said. He vows to help plan for the future to protect Utah lifestyles, help keep crime rates low and protect outdoor recreation.
• Mark Griffin was general counsel for Overstock.com, former director of the Utah Securities Division, former Nevada deputy secretary of state and a prosecutor and investigator of fraud.
“My extensive experience in legal, business development and financial matters will guide me when looking for solutions to our community’s problems,” he says on his website.
He says key issues he will focus on include improving education and improving air quality.
• Laynee Jones, a civil engineer, says she wants to use her professional background “to bring a fresh perspective and innovative thinking to the Legislature.”
She adds, “I am a consensus builder and a problem solver, and I take a real practical approach to problem solving. When you bring the right people around the table and you have trust, you can solve just about anything. That’s how I’ve been successful.”
She says she would like to focus on transportation, the environment and public lands issues.
• Larry Mulcock, owner of the Affordable Legal Documents company, says he would like to separate Utah from the U.S. Department of Education in a revenue-neutral way.
“I am firmly convinced that state legislatures are key to taking back our rights and pushing back against the federal government,” he said.
He adds he would fight to “take back from the federal government the things that belong to the state that have been taken away.”
• Raymond Poole, former owner of Valpac direct mail advertising, has run unsuccessfully for the Legislature previously.
He said he is running “because government has gotten away from its proper role” as outlined in the federal and state constitutions.
He said he wants to limit increases in spending to no more than the inflation rate, and wants the state to focus on improving education and public safety. “I want to promote simplification, deregulation and freedom.”
• Mike Squires, a policy adviser to Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, says he is a moderate similar to outgoing Sen. Shiozawa.
“The citizens in this district  are more ideologically moderate than most. I can retain control of that seat,” he says. Squires adds that he has worked in numerous campaigns, was finance director for Love “and can raise the money needed to win.”
He said he would focus on four primary areas: environment, health care, education and government accountability.
• Brian Zender is a physician, as is Shiozawa, and says his experience could help with health-care issues.
“With a caring spirit and a never-give-up approach, we can improve the health care of our state and solve problems together,” he said. “I have a balanced approach to solving the needs of the citizens of the state. I am deeply passionate about the needs in our community.”
He also says elected leaders should “be courageous without being condemning of others.”
House District 68
Two candidates are seeking Sanpei’s seat in Provo.
• Leo Lines, a former developer now involved in commercial property maintenance, is a longtime political activist and a member of county and state GOP central committees.
He said since he was a legislative intern in 1989, he has volunteered to help push issues of interest in the Legislature — including writing and lobbying for bills.
“I caught the bug when I was an intern and have always been involved since then,” he said. “Service is in my blood. I’ll always do it. … I have the time to devote to these things.”
• Adam Robertson is an electrical engineer who operates a business related to counterterrorism technologies.
“I have had the privilege of briefing generals and other officials in the Pentagon on numerous occasions” because of his work, he said.
“I feel that same sense of duty and the importance of defending our freedoms.” He added, “I feel very strongly about having the government be efficient, ensuring that government spending is kept in check and that our precious tax dollars are spent only on the highest-priority items.”