Hughes to Meet with Trump Team in Washington Next Week

Greg HughesNext week, when Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes attends Donald Trump’s Washington, D.C., inaugural, Hughes will meet with transition officials, he told UtahPolicy Thursday afternoon.

But, said Hughes, R-Draper, he believes the meeting(s) will be “more policy related than position related” in the new Trump administration.

The Hughes-goes-to-Washington rumors have died down in recent weeks.

Hughes, former chairman of the Utah Transit Authority and somewhat of a rapid transit guru, wanted to be named the secretary of transportation.

He didn’t get it.

Trump nominated Elaine Chao, wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and a former Labor Department secretary.

It’s rumored that Hughes was then interested in being director of the Transportation Department’s rapid transit division. No word on that yet.

Hughes has become personal friends with Donald Trump Jr.; the two often exchange texts. And Hughes was one of the first major Utah officeholders to endorse Trump and stuck with him even when some other Utah leaders dumped Trump after the embarrassing audio/video came to light with the then-candidate making disparaging remarks about women.

While the Hughes’ rumors have gone temporarily dark, much is brewing about 2nd District Rep. Chris Stewart.

Stewart, a retired Air Force pilot, is interested in being named Secretary of the Air Force. And there has been a positive buzz about that in recent days.

As reported first in UtahPolicy, however, there is uncertainty about how Utah would proceed in calling an election should Stewart get the post and have to resign from the U.S. House.

The U.S. Constitution says House vacancies must be filled by a special election called by the governor. Utah law only says the governor will call such an election, but in no way details how that election will be run.

State lawmakers come into general session Jan. 23. And, depending on what happens with Stewart, one of the first major items before them may be to pass a law detailing how such a special election will be handled in 2017.

Trump will take the oath of office next Friday.

He clearly wants to hit the ground running. In fact, the GOP-controlled U.S. Senate is hurrying to confirm his cabinet posts.

Under-secretary and division and agency posts – which also must be confirmed by the Senate – are up next, but few have been named.

So Hughes and Stewart may have a few weeks to wait until they find out their fate – and must decide if the job offered (if any) is worth quitting their high elective posts: Hughes one of 50 state house speakers; Stewart one of 435 U.S. House members.