He became Speaker of the Utah House in 2015 after the first female speaker didn’t seek reelection. Becky Lockhart succumbed to an extremely rare degenerative disease in mid-January of that year.
Current speaker Greg Hughes announced earlier this year that he will not seek re-election to his position. But as he told the media earlier this year ‘don’t consider him a lame duck, but a wounded wolf’ with much work left to do this year.
Hughes was in Cache Valley on Thursday and was on KVNU’s For the People program. Under his oversight, the House has taken a more prominent role when it comes to Utah issues.
“My time in House leadership, as a Majority Whip, was during Speaker Lockhart’s time as speaker. So I was part of her team for four years before I ran for speaker and won. When you describe Speaker Lockhart and then myself, I was part of her team and learned much from her approach.
“She did have that approach where there wasn’t nodding and there wasn’t toeing any line. There was real policy discussion and a battle of ideas,” said Hughes.
He said the late speaker tried to build consensus with lawmakers and that’s what he has tried to accomplish in managing a large caucus. As far as life after being the Speaker of the House, he has not ruled out a gubernatorial run.
“Just names off the top of my head, but if you had Jason Chaffetz and you had Lt. Governor Spencer Cox and you had Rob Bishop (who’s name has been batted around), if you had Josh Romney, who’s name has been batted around.
“People have asked me – I’ve not ruled it out, I’ve not decided – but if I was there, make the pool as deep and as tough as possible. Make those candidates earn the support of Utahns, and I don’t know how you could go wrong. What would be wrong with seeing that kind of election cycle coming up in 2020?”
Hughes said he likes the current governor but he’s been in for 10 years next year and maybe a new face is needed. Paul Mero, host of the weekly Mero Moment, which runs Thursdays on KVNU, has made the case for Governor Herbert to run for a third term.