After nearly 20 years, Utah state Rep. Patrice Arent is retiring

After nearly 20 years, Utah state Rep. Patrice Arent is retiring

(Kristin Murphy, KSL)

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SALT LAKE CITY — A longtime Democrat in Utah’s House of Representatives has announced the year 2020 will be her last as a lawmaker.

Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, issued a statement Thursday she will not be seeking reelection when her term ends at the end of the year.

“After serving for nearly 20 years in the Utah state Legislature, it is time to move on to the next chapter in my life,” Arent said.

“My family instilled in me the value of public service and exemplified some of the many ways to have a positive impact on our community,” she said. “Serving in the Legislature is only one path.”

Arent said she wants more time to “pursue other paths, including working with some of the wonderful organizations devoted to improving our community and quality of life.” Arent also said she plans to spend more time skiing and traveling to visit family out of state and “explore new places.”

“I did not arrive at this decision lightly,” Arent said, assuring it wasn’t made because of her health.

Last year, Arent revealed she was being treated for cancer, though she said she felt “remarkably good” and the cancer “has not prevented me from fully living my life.”

“Thanks to immunotherapy that was not available until recently, I am still able to work 15-hour days and carry on life as usual,” Arent said Thursday. “I am fortunate to be in good health and expect to live for a very long time.”

Arent has been a Democratic fixture in the Legislature for nearly two decades. She was first elected to the Utah House in 1996 and served from 1997 to 2002 before going to the Senate from 2003 to 2006. She returned to the House in 2011.

Arent, an attorney, also served as a division chief in the Utah Attorney General’s Office, worked in a private law firm, and was associate general counsel to the Utah Legislature. She also taught at the University of Utah College of Law. She first began her work on Capitol Hill as an intern to then-Gov. Scott Matheson.

During her time in the Legislature, Arent passed more than 80 bills, including clean air legislation, Utah’s newborn safe haven law, identity theft and consumer protection legislation, campaign finance and ethics reform, the state’s presidential primary law, and legislation aimed at improving education, health care and outdoor recreation.

As I begin my final year in the Legislature, please know what a tremendous honor it has been to work on many critical issues facing Utah.

–Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek

Arent served in Democratic leadership, founded and co-chaired the Legislature’s bipartisan Clean Air Caucus, co-chaired the House Ethics Committee, co-chaired the Legislature’s Cultural Caucus and was co-president of the National Association of Jewish Legislators.

Arent has also volunteered in several capacities, including on nonprofit boards for Utah Newborn Safe Haven, Ronald McDonald House, University of Utah Hospital, United Jewish Federation, Utah Women’s College Task Force, Congregation Kol Ami, Governor’s Clean Air Action Team, and Hale Center Theatre.

Born and raised in Utah, Arent is a graduate of the University of Utah and Cornell Law School. She currently helps manage a small family business with her husband. She has two children and one grandchild.

“As I begin my final year in the Legislature, please know what a tremendous honor it has been to work on many critical issues facing Utah,” Arent said “To every person who volunteered on my campaigns, voted for me, or otherwise supported me on the Hill — thank you for putting your faith in me. Serving in the Legislature has been one of my life’s greatest rewards.”

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