Courtesy Peterson for Utah

University of Utah law professor Chris Peterson announces candidacy for Utah governor

By Graham Dudley, KSL.com | Updated - Mar. 5, 2020 at 12:28 p.m. | Posted - Mar. 4, 2020 at 6:36 p.m.



SALT LAKE CITY — Chris Peterson, a University of Utah law professor who previously served in the U.S. Department of Defense and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, announced Wednesday he will compete for the Democratic nomination for governor of Utah.

Peterson joins a field crowded with Republicans vying to replace outgoing Gov. Gary Herbert. Zachary Moses is also running as a Democrat.

In a news release, Peterson said he is running to "fight for working people."

"Despite all of Utah’s success, too many of our families are still struggling to get by,” Peterson said. "In 2020, every Utahn deserves access to affordable health care, a great education, clean air, and a government that respects public opinion.”

He made mention of "sensible ballot measures" that Utah legislators have "second-guessed," referencing 2018 propositions on medical cannabis, Medicaid expansion and independent redistricting that have since been tweaked by the Legislature.

He also assailed the tax reform bill that was recently passed and then repealed by the Legislature.

Peterson is described in the release as a "national leader and authority on consumer protection."

Peterson said he is a fifth-generation Utahn who was born and raised in Salt Lake County. He and his wife Tera, an assistant solicitor general in the Utah Attorney General's Office, have three children.

“Too often our laws are orchestrated behind the scenes by lobbyists and special interest groups. I will fight to put the interests of the public first," Peterson said in the release. "As governor, I will work tirelessly to promote affordable health care, ensure quality education, uphold environmental stewardship, and safeguard consumers.”

His campaign Wednesday released supportive statements from Utah House Minority Leader Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, Utah Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, and Salt Lake County Councilwoman Shireen Ghorbani.

"He's intelligent, principled and honest. ... Utahns will benefit from his leadership," King said.

Arent called Peterson a "strong leader who has the judgment and experience to be an excellent governor," while Ghorbani said he is "exactly the governor Utah needs."

Peterson's announcement comes two weeks after Jan Garbett became the seventh entrant into the Republican race.

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