Rep. Jon Stanard, R-St. George, abruptly resigned from the Utah House on Tuesday, but the reasons were not clear.
A terse resignation letter said he was stepping down immediately for “personal and family reasons.”
Stanard told The Associated Press in a text message Wednesday that he was going to spend a few weeks out of state with his father while he can.
The lawmaker spoke about his father’s cancer in 2016 at an event at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, AP reported. Stanard said then his father was rushed to the institute after his doctors in Montana weren’t able to perform the right tests on a tumor in his throat.
House Speaker Greg Hughes released a short statement.
“Last night Rep. Stanard unexpectedly resigned due to personal and family concerns,” he said. “We will honor his request for privacy, and ask that others do the same. We wish Jon and his family the best at this time.”
Several House members said Standard’s resignation was announced in a special, closed-door caucus meeting on Wednesday.
They said Stanard’s resignation letter was read, but no other explanations behind his resignation were given.
House Chief of Staff Greg Hartley said in a text message that Stanard, to his knowledge, was not facing any legislative ethics investigation or disciplinary action. “We are trying to honor his request for privacy and let the statement [from Hughes] stand,” Hartley said.
Senate President Wayne Niederhauser said Stanard’s resignation “comes as a shock for us,” and added that he is a “great legislator.” He added he also did not know anything further about reasons for the resignation, and he respects the privacy requested.
Stanard’s campaign web site and Facebook page were both shut down.
Stanard was first elected in 2012. He had been serving as vice chairman of the House Rules Committee.
On Wednesday, Rep. Val Peterson, R-Orem, was named as the new replacement vice chairman of the Rules Committee. Also, Rep. Mike Kennedy, R-Alpine, was appointed to fill the vacancy on that committee created by Stanard’s departure.
Stanard is president of a St. George-based marketing company called Direct Hit and is managing partner of Wasatch Savings, a marketing and management firm in Sandy.
He previously was employed by Dixie Applied Technical College in business relations and student placement and internships.
Republican delegates in Stanard’s district will eventually meet to elect a replacement for him, who then must be formally appointed by the governor.
The story will be updated as more information becomes available.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.