ST. GEORGE – Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser announced Wednesday he will not be seeking re-election. He is the latest in a number of state lawmakers who will be retiring at the end of the year.
“Today, I am announcing that I will not be seeking re-election at the end of my current term this year. It is time for a new face with fresh energy and ideas,” Niederhauser wrote in a statement. “It has been one of the great experiences of my life to be the Senate president and represent citizens of Senate District 9.”
The Sandy Republican has served as the Senate president for the last six years, an experience he said has changed him as a person and added value to his “character and abilities.”
Niederhauser had been planning to run for re-election, he said, but began to change his mind near the end of the legislative session that wrapped up last week. The reasons to run for re-election outnumbers the reasons not to, and that gave him pause.
“While on paper the decision seemed obvious, an inner voice said, ‘this is the very reason you shouldn’t run for office again,’” Niederhauser wrote. “This message may seem confusing, but to me the meaning is clear: when you begin to think you are even a little indispensable, it is time to step away.”
Outside of the Senate, Niederhauser works as a real estate accountant and described himself as “a bean counting budget wonk.” He has served in the Legislature since 2006.
Niederhauser is the latest legislator to announce his retirement, and the second one that will reshape the top leadership positions in the Legislature after the next election. House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, announced earlier this year he wouldn’t seek re-election.
Two Southern Utah legislators will also be leaving the Legislature.
Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, of House District 73 and Rep. John Westwood, R-Cedar City, of House District 72 also said they’d be stepping down at the end of their current terms.
San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman has since filed for candidacy for House District 73 and Rex L. Shipp has filed to run for House District 72. Both are running as Republicans.
In all, 16 members of the Utah House and five members of the Utah Senate, counting Niederhauser, aren’t seeking re-election. That accounts for one-fifth of the Legislature, which has 29 senators and 75 representatives.
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