Wave of lawmaker retirements to hit Utah’s Capitol Hill (Updated)

The candidate filing to run for the Utah Legislature starts Friday, just one day after the 2018 session ends.

Already it is known that a number of House and Senate members will not be back come 2019 – they are retiring from the Legislature.

Not only that, but there will be new leadership in both bodies, as House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, has already said he’s retiring this year, and Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, while seeking re-election to his Salt Lake County east side district is not running for president again.

That means there will be a new Senate president and a new House speaker – making for some interesting politics in this general session.

In any case, here is a list of known retirement and possible retirements coming:


  • Rebecca Chavez-Houck, D-Salt Lake.
  • Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab
  • Justin Fawson, R-North Ogden.
  • Jeremy Peterson, R-Ogden
  • John Westwood, R-Cedar City.
  • Ed Redd, R-Logan.
  • Curt Webb, R-Logan.
  • Dixon Pitcher, R-Ogden.
  • Gage Froerer, R-Huntsville.
  • Becky Edwards, R-North Salt Lake.
  • Rep. Scott Sandall, R-Tremonton, is running for the seat being vacated by the retiring Sen. Pete Knudson’s, which means he won’t be back in the House next year.

In addition, Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, is rumored to be calling it quits, but he tells UtahPolicy as of Thursday he is running again.

Rep. Keith Grover, R-Provo, is running for the state Senate against Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, who says she plans on seeking re-election.

So Grover is out of the House, at the very least.

Rep. Lynn Hemingway, D-Millcreek, has missed all of the 2018 Legislature, tending to his wife who fell ill in New York while they were visiting family.

It is unclear if Hemingway will run again, although he told UtahPolicy he is now planning on doing so.

Rep. John Westwood, R-Cedar City, and Rep. Dixon Pitcher, R-Ogden are also thought to be considering retirement.


  • Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake.
  • Kevin Van Tassell, R-Vernal.
  • Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper
  • Sen. Pete Knudson, R-Brigham City

In addition, Dayton is being challenged for the GOP nomination. Her district is very Republican, but she may decide to retire, or could lose to Grover.

Senate Majority Leader Ralph Okerlund, R-Monroe, has been in and out of the session with a lingering, serious medical condition. He is not up for election this year, but it is unclear if he will continue in office.

Finally, there are half a dozen lawmakers who were appointed over the last two years to the House or Senate due to resignations of elected members.

They were put into office by their district party delegates, but have not faced voters.

They must stand for election this year, as all 75 House seats and 15 Senate seats are up in 2018.