BY REBECCA PALMER
FARMINGTON — Sen. Stuart Adams has been elected majority whip for the 2013 session of the Utah Legislature.
He represents Senate District 22, R-Fruit Heights, Farmington, Layton and Kaysville.
The Davis County senator expects education funding to be a major issue in the upcoming session, and wants to ensure that the state is fiscally responsible and that it enhances the private sector.
It’s the senator’s first time in Senate leadership since his appointment in 2006. He was heavily involved in the fight to build the Legacy Parkway and worked with Hill AFB during the last Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) review.
“There’s 29 senators in the senate and it’s very difficult in life or anywhere to get anything done alone, so it’s nice to be in leadership,” he said. “But there’s a lot of good individuals down there, and most everything that gets done will be done as a group.”
Adams is the only Davis County Republican to have been elected to a leadership position. He is the first Davis County elected official to serve in the senate leadership since Sheldon Killpack left his position as Senate Majority Leader in disgrace in 2010.
Adams has been on the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee, but doesn’t yet know whether he will be re-appointed there.
Regardless, he’s excited to see technological innovations in education, such as those being developed by Imagine Learning and the Waterford Institute, both of which are in Utah,” he said.
“It’s unbelievable, the innovation that’s coming out,” he said. “The other day I saw a computerРbased math program. “At least for elementary schools, it’s Sesame Street on steroids. It’s just some great opportunities.”
Adams also wants to allow businesses in Utah to take full advantage of their opportunities, and believes doing so will improve the public sector through increased tax revenues. He has not released specific ideas for doing this, but told a story about the kind of thing he wants to avoid.
“As we attempted to build Legacy Parkway through Davis County, some of the federal water regulations actually put a higher priority on wetlands than they put on homes,” he said. “Hopefully as a state we’re not doing the same thing.”
Transportation, like education and fiscal responsibility, will be a top issue in 2013, Adams said.
Among Democrats, Rep. Jennifer Seelig of Salt Lake City was elected to lead in the House. She is the first woman to hold that position. Seelig will be joined by Rep. Tim Cosgrove, as Democratic whip; Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck, D-Salt Lake City, as asst. Democratic whip; and Rep. Joel Briscoe, D-Salt Lake City, as caucus manager.
Adams will be joined by Senate Pres. Wayne Neiderhauser, R-Salt Lake, Majority Leader Ralph Okerlund, R-Monroe, and Asst. Majority Whip Pete Knudson, R-Brigham City.
In the Utah House, Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo, has been re-elected. Also elected were Majority Leader Brad Dee, R-Ogden, Majority Whip Greg Hughes, R-Draper and Asst. Majority Whip Don Ipson, R-St. George.
In the Utah Senate, Democrats are waiting for Rep. Ben McAdams to be replaced before deciding on leadership. McAdams, who had been caucus leader, has been elected Salt Lake County mayor.