Greg Hartley New House Chief of Staff

Incoming Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, is making several staff changes as he prepares for a new era of Republican leadership – including, perhaps, a crying baby.

Sources tell UtahPolicy that current House deputy chief Joe Pyrah will be leaving the House.

Pyrah is the top political appointee of retiring House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo.

She brought Pyrah in when she upset the previous speaker, David Clark, by one vote following the 2010 elections. Previous to that, Pyrah was a political reporter for the Provo Daily Herald.

Longtime Republican political operative Greg Hartley will be named House chief of staff, a new title and one that matches the current Senate political staff hierarchy.

Hartley has known and worked with Hughes for years, running a number of his re-election campaigns. Besides Hughes’ re-election this year, Hartley also oversaw the successful races of incoming GOP freshmen Reps. Sophia DiCaro and Mike Schultz.

Most recently, Hartley has worked in national government relations for 1-800 Contacts, an Internet contact lens firm.

But Hartley has worked on any number of GOP campaigns in years gone by, including those of GOP Govs. Jon Huntsman Jr. and Gary Herbert.

Outside of partisan politics, Hartley has worked in the governor’s office of economic development and other state agencies, as well.

The baby (perhaps at times crying) comes with a new mother taking a position in the speaker’s office, sources say, perhaps as an administrative assistant.

This won’t be the first time there’s been a cry baby in House leadership offices, but the first time the cries have come from a two-month-old baby boy – who reportedly will be by his mother’s side at least part-time during the work day.