SALT LAKE CITY — Several dozen Utah legislators and county commissioners will meet Friday with Trump administration officials in Washington for what House Speaker Greg Hughes says is more than a photo op.
"We're not all going to be chumming up with the president and hanging out with him all day and eating Burger King or McDonald's and cheeseburgers," Hughes, R-Draper, told House Republicans on Wednesday.
"It's not going to be like an intimate setting, but I promise you it will be better than you're thinking in terms of policy, substance and the work we can actually get accomplished when we go there."
Hughes said past presidential administrations typically worked directly with governors, but under President Donald Trump, the White House is reaching down to state lawmakers and county leaders.
"This administration wants to work with us more closely than that," he said.
Most of the Utahns attending the meeting are Republicans, though a handful of Democrats are going for what Hughes said is not a party exercise. Idaho also is sending a contingent to the meeting.
Officials pay their own way to attend.
Hughes, who met with the Trump administration on transportation in February, said GOP state lawmakers are well-prepared to talk about federalism, states rights and other issues with Cabinet members and agency heads.
"These are not just photo ops. It's not just cool to be inside the compound. These are going to be working meetings," he said.
Utah also is hosting a reception Thursday night to which Hughes has invited administration officials, including Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas.