Shiozawa resigns from state Senate for position with HHS; Allen announces plans to run for seat

In this file photo, Sen. Brian Shiozawa, R-Cottonwood Heights, speaks to media as a part of a press conference concerning the state of proposed medicial marjuana legislation, Salt Lake City, Utah, Jan. 27, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Fox 13 News, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Republican state Sen. Brian Shiozawa announced Monday that he has resigned from the Legislature to take a position with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Screenshot of a post from Sen. Brian Shiozawa MD’s Facebook page on Dec. 11, 2017 | Image courtesy of Facebook, St. George News

In the wake of the announcement, Kathie Allen, a former congressional candidate, announced her intent to run for Shiozawa’s seat in 2018.

Shiozawa, in a Facebook post Monday, wrote that he was sworn in as the regional director of Intergovernmental and External Affairs of District 8 of the Health and Human Services Department Monday morning. District 8 consists of Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.

As Regional Director, I will ensure the Department maintains close contact with State, local and tribal partners and address the needs of communities and individuals in these States,” Shiozawa wrote in his post.

Taking the position will require Shiozawa relocate to Denver. Because of this, he will also be retiring from his career as a physician and will be leaving St. Marks Hospital where he has practiced medicine for 27 years as an emergency room doctor.

The Cottonwood Heights resident was elected to the Utah Senate in 2012 and has pushed health-related legislation, including bills related to Medicaid expansion and medical marijuana.

“I want to thank the citizens of Utah Senate District 8 for whom I have had the honor to serve these two terms,” Shiozawa wrote. “While my role with you will now be different, I am honored to serve in this new capacity and will strive to continue to serve this great state in all the ways I can.”

Bidding a fond farewell to Shiozawa Monday was the Utah Democratic Party.

Democrats have greatly appreciated Sen. Shiozawa’s support of Medicaid expansion in Utah,” a statement issued by the party read. “The party hopes he will bring this common sense approach to his newly appointed position with HHS.”

Daisy Thomas, chairwoman of the Utah Democratic Party, added, “Sen. Shiozawa is truly an admirable leader who believes in promoting good policy over politics. Sen. Shiozawa’s absence will be noticed during the upcoming legislative session.”

Republican Party delegates will pick a replacement for Shiozawa and submit the choice to Gov. Gary Herbert for appointment. The interim replacement will serve until next year’s general election. The winner of the 2018 election will serve the remainder of Shiozawa’s term, which ends in 2020.

Shortly after Shiozawa announced his resignation, fellow Cottonwood Heights resident and physician Allen announced over Twitter she will run for the seat in 2018 as a Democratic candidate.

“Big change: My State Senator resigned today to go work in the Trump Admin. I’m going to run for his seat!” Allen wrote over Twitter.

Allen previously ran for Utah’s 3rd Congressional District in the special election to replace former Rep. Jason Chaffetz. She subsequently lost that race to Provo Mayor John Curtis. Allen is already setting up avenues of support for her pending campaign.


Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.


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  • Caveat_Emptor December 12, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    Dr. Shiozawa has often been referred to as a “moderate” Republican, in a wildly conservative party. One has to wonder why he would associate himself with the current administration and their policy platform.
    Replacing him will not be hard, but Dr. Allen is probably better suited to this role, where she can demonstrate her abilities to the Cottonwood Heights electorate, and running as a Democrat, she would have a better chance than Draper. A success in the Utah Senate would be a good credential for statewide office in the future.

    • Lee Sanders December 15, 2017 at 10:21 am

      I was surprised in a way that he would join this administration. I’m hoping it’s a career improvement for him. I hope it doesn’t become the old saying, “You crawl into the pig pen, you come out smelling like a pig.”

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