Hughes Not Taking a Trump Administration Job…For Now

Speaker Greg HughesWhile saying he’s not taking anything off the table, Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes saidWednesday he’s not looking toward Washington, D.C., for a new job.

Hughes, R-Draper, wasn’t picked by President-elect Donald Trump to be federal Department of Transportation secretary.

That job goes to Elaine Chao, former Labor Secretary, and wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Rumors have it Hughes is interested in being director of the Federal Transit Administration, inside the Transportation Department.

Hughes has become somewhat of a transit guru; he was on the Utah Transit Authority board, and chairman for two years, as the UTA was rapidly building out FrontRunner and TRAX in recent years.

And while Trump has final say in top administrative jobs, Hughes’ connection is with Donald Trump Jr. And how much Jr. has a say in a Trump/Chao undersecretary picks is unclear.

In any case, Hughes told UtahPolicy that looking at D.C. jobs, and his wife’s desire to keep the Hughes clan together in Utah, all that is playing with what may lie ahead.

“I am interested in influencing transportation, transit, policy,” said Hughes. But what are the best way to do that in comparison to his current speaker’s job, his private business (Hughes is a partner in an apartment/landlord firm), and his family life remains to be seen.

“I’m putting my focus on Utah. I love being speaker.” He was just elected unanimously to a second, two-year term.

“Right now I’m excited about the upcoming session,” said Hughes, who was traveling back to his hometown of Pittsburgh on Wednesday and doesn’t expect to fly down to D.C. for more talks with the Trump transition team while back East.

“How I could best influence (national) transit and multimodal policy, it’s anyone’s guess.”

Of course, if a call comes from Trump or Chao, that may change everything.