Utah governor’s legislative liaison Karen Peterson to replace Paul Ray in Utah House

Ray announced his resignation earlier this month to take a position in the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.

(Bryan Schott | The Salt Lake Tribune) Karen Peterson speaks during Saturday's special election to choose a replacement for former Rep. Paul Ray.

Karen Peterson, the governor’s legislative affairs director, will replace former Rep. Paul Ray in the Utah Legislature.

Davis County Republicans elected Peterson to represent House District 13 during a special election Saturday. The vacancy opened up after Ray, who had spent two decades in the Legislature, resigned his seat to take a job as assistant director of legislative affairs for the Utah Department of Health and Human Services.

Peterson has been working as a legislative liaison for Gov. Spencer Cox. Before that, she served as former Gov. Gary Herbert’s education adviser.

“Her knowledge and experience of the legislative process will be invaluable,” House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, tweeted Saturday in response to Peterson’s election.

Utah State Superintendent Sydnee Dixon tweeted that Peterson “listens and works collaboratively to solve problems and find solutions. She is right and ready for this role!!”

Peterson beat four other Republican candidates during Saturday’s election, capturing 54% of the vote.

— Tribune reporter Bryan Schott contributed to this report.