Head of Utah Legislative Research and General Counsel retiring

The longtime head of the Utah Legislature’s largest staff agency, Mike Christensen, is retiring Aug. 11 after 17 years as the director.

Christensen, 70, has a long history of public service, both inside and outside of government itself.

As director of Legislative Research and General Counsel, Christensen oversees a staff of 65 full-time attorneys and researchers.

His office gives legal advice to the 104-member part-time Legislature, staffing dozens of committees and researching any number of topics.

The staff drafts hundreds of bills for the annual 45-day general session.

At 6 foot 6 inches, Christensen has towered over the legislative branch of government, both figuratively and literally.

But he’s known for his soft-spoken nature and has avoided involving himself in partisan or personal politics.

Christensen played tennis for Utah State University (believe me, you don’t want to look down the service of a 6-foot-6 college tennis player, I have), and soon after graduation went to work for the Legislative Research and General Counsel as a policy analyst.

He left there in 1985 to become deputy director of then-Gov. Norm Bangerter’s budget and planning office.

He left there in 1991 to be director of the Utah Foundation, a nonpartisan government policy and research think tank in Salt Lake City.

In 2000 Christensen was rehired by LRGC to be its director. During his tenure, the office has won many awards for government transparency, research, and various operations.

Christensen told UtahPolicy he has had some offers post-retirement, but for now will travel to the British Isles for a cruise and vacation with his wife.

Good luck Mike, you are one of the good guys.