Policymaker profile: Getting to know James Dunnigan

Utah Policy regularly profiles policymakers from across the state. In this edition we profile Utah Representative Dunnigan, Republican, District 39.

Occupation: Small business owner, insurance agency.

Education:  B.S. Business Management, U of U.

Growing up:  Millcreek area, graduated from Cottonwood High School.

Fond memory: Feeding baby animals that my dad would bring home.

Childhood ambition: Astronomer.

Family: Wonderful wife, 2 kids, 6 cute grandkids.

Why politics: To make our part of the world as good as it can be; to make Utah a great state to live in, raise a family, work and recreate.

My perfect day: Spending time with my entire family doing something involving ice cream.

Hobbies: Camping, competitive volleyball, exploring red rock Utah.

First job: Doing cleanup at Mits Produce farm market, 50 cents per hour.

Current motivations:  My grandkids motivate me to provide good educational opportunities, clean air and future employment options.

Lesson taught me by my mother:  Have faith, be honest.

Hottest issues I’m watching: COVID, education processes and funding, transportation needs, minimizing taxation.

Biggest challenge in public life: Representing a swing district where constituents have a wide variety of beliefs.

Biggest accomplishment: My family.

Proudest moment: Convincing my wife to marry me.

My philosophy of government: Minimal regulation, help those in need, provide opportunities for all to succeed.

Why my political party: My dad was a union Democrat, my mom was a Republican.  I am grateful to pull out the best from both parties.

Playlist: Neil Diamond, Shania Twain.

Personal motto: People over politics.

Inspiration: My dad, who worked as a union electrician for 40 years. He taught me to work hard and build things that would last.

Retreat: Kauai.

Favorite book: Lord of the Rings.

Indulgence, guilty pleasure: Ice cream.

I admire most in the world: My dad.

My district is cool because: People volunteer enormous hours to make our community better and to help others.

I like serving in the Legislature because: I like having a voice in establishing policy for our state. Utah is consistently named as one of the best managed states in the nation and I like doing my part to make that happen.

Running for political office is: Rewarding and challenging.

Historical figure I’d like to take to lunch: George Washington.

Sports team: U of U football.

Favorite pet: Puddles (rabbit).

My desk is:  Manageable.

Biggest issues ahead in 2021 session: Economy, jobs, healthcare.

My priorities for 2021 session:  Getting our economy going, providing a safety net for those that need help.