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Legislators' backgrounds include circus performer, Disneyland train conductor

Rick Bowmer, AP Photo

Legislators' backgrounds include circus performer, Disneyland train conductor

By Hallie Golden and Michelle L. Price, Associated Press | Posted - Mar. 9, 2017 at 3:07 p.m.

4 photos

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SALT LAKE CITY — As Utah's legislative session wraps up, the political views of each lawmaker have become clear. But what about their lives outside the Capitol?

Here are some interesting details about some of them:

Circus performer

Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, devoted the majority of his teenage years to performing on the high-wire and trapeze in a circus.

For about seven years, he and fellow performers traveled with Indiana's Peru Amateur Circus. More than three decades later, Ray says he still likes to swing on a trapeze every now and again.

Santa Claus

Anyone who visits the Wal-Mart in Perry around Christmastime might spot Rep. Lee Perry, R-Perry.

Look for someone with a long white beard and bright red coat, because the lawmaker has been dressing up as Santa Claus to hand out presents to children for more than a decade.

Wheat grinder

For at least four decades, Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, has spent time grinding her own wheat.

The lawmaker says she loves the way fresh bread tastes, so she will pick up wheat from Lehi Roller Mills, grind it up in her personal grinder and bake about four loaves of bread a week.

Tortilla Frisbee

Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, was a freshman at BYU when he was kicked out of a school football game for throwing tortillas.

It was the big game between BYU and the University of Utah in 1985, and Weiler says he thought it would be fun to throw the tortillas around like Frisbees to try to get them on the football field. The security guards did not agree.

Rock musician

Those who went to Utah State University in 1999 may remember Rep. Jeremy Peterson, R-Ogden, and his band "The Attack Bobs" performing around campus.

The band broke up when they graduated, but Peterson says he still writes his own acoustic rock music and plays guitar with some fellow lawmakers at the end of each legislative session.

Disneyland conductor

Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, had just graduated from high school in 1958 when he headed to California to work at Disneyland. Hillyard started out as a ticket-taker, and by his second summer there, he became a conductor of the train that runs around the park.

Trombone performer

Rep. Elizabeth Weight, D-West Valley City, spent her first few years in Salt Lake City playing trombone with fellow musicians every Sunday evening during the summer in Liberty Park.

The group has long been disbanded, but four decades later, Weight still plays trombone on her own and hopes to bring her music to Utah's Capitol sometime soon.

Disc jockey

For three decades, Sen. Gene Davis' voice has been heard at the Capitol. Before that, the Salt Lake City Democrat could be heard on the airwaves.

Davis was a rock 'n' roll disc jockey, working more than two decades at Salt Lake City radio stations, starting in the mid-1950s.

The senator's memories from his DJ career include meeting Pete Townshend and Keith Moon of The Who, and taking song requests from drivers cruising Salt Lake City's main drag, State Street, something Davis said could have been straight out of the 1973 film "American Graffiti."


Hallie Golden
    Michelle L. Price


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