The worm is turning for two Utahns who could have important jobs in the Donald Trump Administration – Attorney General Sean Reyes and state Rep. Mike Noel.
Last week Reyes flew off in a private plane to points unknown (Washington, D.C.?) and Noel went to Denver for a meeting of Mountain States Legal Foundation – who supports Noel’s appointment to director of the Bureau of Land Management.
Reyes is being considered for the Federal Trade Commission, an independent body that oversees proposed mergers, restraint of trade and other such issues.
Noel recently told UtahPolicy that he believes he has a “good chance” of being appointed BLM director. If that happens, and as director Noel is given his reins by Trump and incoming Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke, there could be big changes in Utah, where the BLM controls thousands of acres of land.
Noel is actually a retiree of the BLM, where he worked for 20 years; he knows the agency intimately and says one of his first actions would be to eliminate the bureau’s law enforcement personnel and armed officers.
The Foundation, made up of public land users, like ranchers, miners and oil producers, takes on a variety of legal challengers – and back’s Noel’s appointment, he said.
The group has produced some public lands leaders in the past, including one former head of the BLM and the Interior Department.
“They asked me to come to speak to them, and I did,” said Noel.
The BLM director’s appointment won’t be made until Zinke is officially approved by the Senate, which should happen this week, Noel added.
Zinke could come to Utah within several weeks, as he has promised various Utah officials that the Beehive State will be one of his first visits.
Here's what we know about Reyes' mystery trip last week.
Reyes' chief of staff Missy Larsen reportedly told people at a cybersecurity symposium in Park City on Friday that Reyes was getting on a private plane that day, but she did not know where he was heading.
UtahPolicy.com reached out to Larsen for comment. She would neither confirm or deny that she made such a statement. At first, Larsen tried to deflect the question, saying she was not in the office on Friday. When we clarified that this declaration was reportedly made at the Park City event, which she was attending, Larsen would not answer further questions.
Multiple attempts to Reyes' political consultant, Alan Crooks, for comment also have not been returned.
UtahPolicy.com reported last week that the chatter surrounding Reyes' possible pick by Trump to head the FTC had intensified, with sources saying he could be tapped for the position within the next two weeks.
If Reyes is picked for the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, his appointment would be subject to Senate confirmation. The job would likely include a small bump in salary for Utah's top cop.