Salt Lake County councilwoman enters race for Utah governor

October 23, 2019 GMT

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Salt Lake County councilwoman announced Wednesday she’s aiming to become the state’s second female governor.

Aimee Winder Newton said her experience on the bipartisan council overseeing the state’s biggest county gives her the policy chops to make a strong governor.

“I believe I bring to the table someone who’s bold, willing to make tough decisions on policy, but also someone who knows how to work with people and get things done,” Newton said.

Winder Newton joins current Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox and businessman Jeff Burningham in the race for the Republican nomination.

Utah’s first female governor, Olene Walker, stepped into the role in 2003, after Gov. Mike Leavitt resigned to head U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She served until 2005, but GOP delegates did not vote her into a spot on the next primary ballot.

If Winder Newton gets enough delegate support or gathers enough signatures, she would be the first female gubernatorial candidate on the primary ballot.

Other possible candidates in 2020 reportedly include former Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes, former Gov. Jon Huntsman and former Utah Republican Party Chairman Thomas Wright.

Current Gov. Gary Herbert has said he does not plan to seek a third term.

Winder Newton said Utah is a “pivotal moment” with its economy doing well but the state facing challenges in retaining quality of life while accommodating population growth.

She also said education would be another priority for her as governor.