By TERESSA GENETTI-SCOTT
Utah House Majority Leader Christine R. Fox-Finlinson is leaving behind a decade of legislative work as her resignation from House Seat 56 takes effect today.
The unexpected resignation came on Tuesday, only three months before the end of Fox-Finlinson’s term. She said resigning now frees her to lobby for clients without having to worry about conflict of interest.
She said,”I didn’t want to have any questions raised about impropriety.”
Fox-Finlinson announced she would not seek re-election earlier in the year. She said it is time for her to move on professionally and to spend more time with her family.
Utah County Republicans Chair Rod Fudge said he has already submitted the names of the two Republican challengers, David Cox and Steven W. Roll, to the governor for consideration.
A newly-enacted state law requires the party to submit names selected by delegates from the lawmaker’s district. In Utah County, if one of the candidates receives 60 percent of the delegates’ votes, theirs would be the only name submitted to the governor.
Fudge said normally this would mean holding a mini-caucus of delegates for the upcoming elections, a second new caucus was not needed.
Fudge said he submitted both names to the governor because neither Cox nor Roll had the required 60 percent of votes at the nominating convention. However, Fudge said he recommended that Cox be selected for the position.
He said,”It will be our recommendation for the governor that he appoint David Cox because he was the overwhelming favorite in the primary.”
Cox said he did not find out about Fox-Finlinson’s resignation until late Tuesday.
He said, “It (the nomination) was quite a surprise. The whole position is extra work, but it would be a neat opportunity to serve.”
Fudge said the Utah County Republicans were very influential in getting the nominating system changed.
The old law required the Central Committee, a group of 450 county-wide political leaders, to send three nominations for the position to the governor.
He said, “It didn’t make any sense to me for someone in Alpine to have any say in who should represent South Provo.”
Fudge said the old law was not representative of the will and desire of the people in the legislature’s district.
“It brings more power to the people,” Fudge said.
Fox-Finlinson was appointed in 1987 to replace her late husband Rep. Merrill Fox. She has held the office since that time and was selected in 1995 to be the House Majority leader.
She is not alone in her decision to resign. In August Utah Senate Majority leader Craig A. Peterson, R-Orem, announced he would resign from his office on December 1.
Fudge said the Republican party will hold a mini-caucus for delegates in Peterson’s district in November.