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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah governor candidate Jon Huntsman, Jr. has named Provo's first female mayor as his running mate. The Republican and ex-U.S. ambassador to Russia said in a statement Friday that Michelle Kaufusi would bring “an important local perspective” as lieutenant governor. She was elected mayor in 2017, after six years in the Provo School Board. She says growing up with a single mother of seven taught her the value of hard work. Huntsman is one of several candidates vying for the GOP nomination for governor. Ex-GOP chair Thomas Wright has also already named a running mate, U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah polygamist who pleaded guilty for his role in a nearly $500 million biodiesel fraud scheme says a California businessmen who helped him carry out the plan offered protection from prosecution from law enforcement. Jacob Kingston said Thursday during a trial that he and Lev Dermen had meals with law enforcement officials, including two who have since pleaded guilty to corruption charges. He says Dermen called them his “umbrella.” Dermen has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts including money laundering and mail fraud. Kingston agreed to testify against Dermen after he pleaded guilty last year to money fraud and other charges.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The U.S. government is implementing final management plans for two national monuments in Utah that President Donald Trump downsized. The plans ensure lands previously off-limits to energy development will be open to mining and drilling despite pending lawsuits. Casey Hammond of the U. S. Department of the Interior said Thursday on a conference call with reporters that the agency can't wait for lawsuits to be decided. He said they have a duty to create the plans after Trump signed his proclamations in December 2017. Hammond says there has been limited interest from energy companies in the two years since the lands became open to development.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Mitt Romney’s status as one of few Republicans willing to publicly criticize President Donald Trump is well known is his adopted home of Utah, but many were still surprised by his impeachment vote against him and unequivocal speech Wednesday. Reactions were at odds in a state where Republicans are unusually divided on the president. There was plenty of frustration and anger from Trump supporters, but others were heartened to see what Romney described as an agonizing vote dictated by his conscience. Still, Romney has a deep well of goodwill in Utah and four years to explain his stance to voters before an re-election campaign.