Reid to Retire from Legislature in 2014

Written by Bob Bernick on . Posted in Today At Utah Policy

State Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden, will not run for re-election next year and retire at the end of 2014, he told UtahPolicy Sunday night.

 

“This will be the end of my public service,” said Reid, 57, meaning he has no plans to ever run for office again.

Reid said he had always planned on only one, four-year term in the 29-member Senate, a decision he made with his wife, Laura, soon after his strange 2010 election. (More on that later.)

“I was only going to serve one term on the (Salt Lake) City Council; and only one term in the Senate,” he said.

There are advantages for having some long-time elected officeholders, he added.

But there is also good public policy in having short-termers, who come in and then leave quickly.

He’s one who believes in being a short-termer, Reid said.

Reid’s departure will end a 20-year political/government career.

A brief history of Reid’s work:

-- Reid served from 1980 to 1990 as an LDS Church chaplain in the U.S. Army.

-- In 1990 church leaders asked him to come to work for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints itself. He soon was moved into the church’s public relations/government affairs department, where he worked closely with a number of church leaders. He left the church job in 1997.

-- In 1993 he ran for Salt Lake City Council seat from the city’s westside; and won the nonpartisan post.

-- In 1997, before his four-year term ran out, then-Salt Lake Mayor Deedee Corradini hired Reid as the city’s economic development boss.

-- In 1997 Reid ran for mayor, a non-partisan post. But Reid ran as a conservative Democrat, and a better choice, he believed, than the liberal Democrat Rocky Anderson. Reid lost to Anderson.

-- Clearly needing a job once Anderson took office, Reid was hired by the GOP Ogden City mayor to be that city’s economic development director.

He served in that post from 2000 to 2006.

-- In 2006 he ran as a Democrat for the state Senate in District 18.

At the time, Reid was serving in the Ogden City administration with then-Police Chief Jon Greiner.

Greiner was a friend, Reid said Sunday. Reid didn’t know that Greiner was going to file as a Republican in the Senate 18 race.

“After he did, I didn’t want to ruin a friendship. So I barely campaigned. I didn’t even debate Jon,” said Reid. And Reid lost handily.

-- In 2006 Reid left Ogden City and started his own private economic development consulting firm, a firm he will continue to operate for some years to come, Reid says.

-- In 2010, on the last day to file as a legislative candidate, Reid switched parties and filed to run in Senate 18 as a Republican.

While Reid understands that there will be those who say he’s leaving next year because of the “unique” situation in which he was elected to the Senate, he said he always planned for just one term in the Legislature.

In 2010 Greiner was fighting various decisions by federal officials that he had violated the Hatch Act, which, among other things, prohibits local officials that oversee federal funds from running for a partician political office.

As Ogden police chief, Greiner had signed and oversaw more than $270,000 in annual federal crime-fighting grants; thus the charge that he had violated the Hatch Act.

Refusing to give up his political career, Greiner filed for re-election in March of 2010 to run for a second term.

Reid told UtahPolicy Sunday that he had not talked to Greiner before he filed in 2010, and did so because a number of Republicans asked him to switch parties and run.

Reid said several GOP leaders, including several Republican senators, believed that Greiner would lose his challenges to the Hatch Act decisions against him, and the Democratic candidate would win by default.

“The Democrats asked me to run again in 2010. I always said no to them. They found another candidate. At the same time, some Republicans were asking me to run for the same Senate seat.”

Reid said he stood outside of the Weber County Clerk’s Office on the eve of the candidate filing deadline, even asking several folks who walked out of the office what race they had just filed for: “They filed for House races. If any other Republican had filed for Senate 18, I wouldn’t have filed. But no one did. I walked in with five minutes left and filed.”

Less than a month later, Greiner indeed had to get out of the Senate District 18 race or face losing his police chief job. (In fact, Ogden City reluctantly fired Greiner the following December in order to keep its federal police grant money.)

Reid, now the only Republican in a heavily GOP district, went on to win the seat over the Democrat.

He has since been a valued member of the Republican Senate caucus, several Senate sources told UtahPolicy recently as speculation grew over whether Reid would run again or not.

While no other Republican has yet announced a run for the eastside Ogden/Weber County district (it also goes up into Morgan County), it would be fair to assume that some GOP candidates would have challenged Reid in his re-election.

Known as a moderate-to-conservative Democrat, Reid said Sunday that his personal politics didn’t change after he switched parties in 2010.

On issues dealing with race, the poor and disadvantaged, “some would say I was a moderate, even a liberal” Democrat, said Reid.

But he said he’s always been a fiscal conservative, and a conservative on moral issues as well.

Still, with much of his life identified as a Democrat, Reid may have had a hard time with the 100 or so GOP delegates in the 2014 State Republican Convention, where he would have had to get 60 percent of the vote to win the nomination outright, or 40 percent to get into a closed GOP primary in Senate District 18.

Reid has had an interesting term in the conservative, GOP-controlled Senate.

Among things, Reid has at times been a go-to guy for behind the scenes advice on what LDS Church leaders may feel about this or that issue or legislation – although Reid says he does not speak for the church and wouldn’t presume to do so.

Reid and wife Laura decided long ago that they would live and raise their family in poorer areas of the towns they resided in. Thus the Reids lived on Salt Lake City’s westside, when they could have afforded a higher rent area.

The Reids also lived in a racially mixed area of Ogden City, after moving north when Reid became that city’s economic development director.

“We felt like living in those areas would be best for our children. We felt we could make more significant contributions living and serving among the poor and minorities.

“My wife’s work has been with the disabled. And we’ve dedicated out lives to helping those under-privileged and under-appreciated.”

Reid points to legislation dealing with immigration, child welfare reform and education governance reform as the issues he’s most proud of over the last three years.

Here is a list of the bill files Reid has already opened for the 2014 Legislature, which begins Jan. 27.

They include a bill on abortion, another on government ethics.

Reid recently surprised his Senate colleagues when he notified them that considering the allegations against embattled Attorney General John Swallow, and Swallow’s responses to some of those allegations, that he, Reid, may not be able to sit without bias as a Senate juror in any Swallow impeachment trial.

Reid brought up the possibility that, should Swallow end up being tried for impeachment in the Senate (as the state Constitution requires) Reid may have to recuse himself.

But Reid has put off that decision pending any House action on Swallow.