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Tanner Ainge leaving Utah County Commission

Tanner Ainge, a Republican congressional candidate in the 3rd District, is interviewed in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, June 20, 2017. (Photo: Ravell Call, Deseret News)

(Ravell Call, Deseret News, File)



SALT LAKE CITY — Tanner Ainge will step down from his position as a Utah County commissioner and accept an appointment on the Governor's Office of Economic Development board, his office confirmed Wednesday morning.

Ainge had served on the commission since 2019. As its chair, he oversaw a contentious debate about property tax increases and the county's mask mandate, which he supported in September 2020. Ainge has been in Virginia since February, attending training for the Utah National Guard.

In a statement to the Utah County Board of Commissioners, Ainge announced his resignation and said he'd originally intended to continue serving as a commissioner remotely. But he failed to "submit the post-arrival notice required by state law," he said, creating an effective vacancy on the commission.

Utah law requires elected officials taking an absence for military training to formally notify the entity they intend to continue their work remotely within 10 days of arrival.

"Because my wife Heidi and I decided several months ago that I would not seek another term, having the county party hold an election in my absence — only for me to return and vacate the seat again — does not feel like the right path forward," Ainge wrote. "Instead, I am offering my notice of resignation and pledge to make myself fully available for a smooth and orderly transition."

Ainge has now been nominated to the GOED board and will work there with executive director Dan Hemmert, a former state senator and fellow Utah County resident.

"Our Board frequently meets, serving in an advisory capacity and focused on supporting Gov. (Spencer) Cox's economic priorities, including providing economic opportunity to Utahns," Hemmert said. "We gratefully recognize the service of (outgoing board members) Mel Lavitt, Peter Mouskondis, and Margaret Jacobs, and with equal enthusiasm welcome our three new Board members and look forward to their unique contributions to the state."

Kira Slawson and Geri Gamber were also nominated to the board with Ainge. He told the Daily Herald that, in addition to his work with GOED, he also looks forward to getting back involved with "other private sector projects."

Ainge, 37, is the son of former BYU basketball star and current Boston Celtics general manger Danny Ainge.

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