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Episode #206

Greg Hughes

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Former Speaker of Utah House of Representatives & Current Candidate For Utah Governor Shares His Story


Guest Bio:
Greg Hughes grew up in a rough blue-collar neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Raised by a single mother, with the help of aunts and his grandmother, Greg was taught lessons of faith, hard work and strength of will.

After serving a mission for his church, Greg moved to Utah to work on a political campaign and ended up staying, attending Utah Valley State College and BYU.

In his early 20’s, Greg started what has become a successful small business doing real estate development and property management. He and his business partner still operate this business today.

In 2002, he was elected to the Utah House of Representatives. In 2010 and 2012 he was elected as the House Majority Whip and in 2014 and 2016 his colleagues elected him as the Speaker of the House. He also served as Chairman of the House Education Committee and he founded the Conservative Caucus.

During his time in the Legislature, Greg passed legislation to implement state spending limitations, reformed Utah’s liquor laws, created a public private partnership early childhood education program that has become a model across the country, has been a leader in education reform, and supported truth in bonding and other spending reform legislation. Hughes was a key figure in passing comprehensive tax reform that lead to a flatter state income tax and $400 million in tax cuts.

He is known as a champion for our veterans running bills and supporting legislation that reflect the gratitude and respect that we all feel for our military men and women. He created the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs, passed a tuition waiver for Purple Heart recipients, passed the Scott B. Lundell Tuition Waiver that provides free college tuition to surviving dependents of National Guard members killed on active duty, passed a property tax exemption for disabled veterans, increased the pay for members of the National Guard, and he negotiated the development of three new veterans nursing homes

As Speaker, Greg worked extensively on issues that would help attract business and increase job availability for the citizens of Utah and he led the effort to relocate the state prison. Despite unprecedented political pressure, Greg stood strong to defeat multiple attempts to expand Obamacare in Utah. He fought to increase education funding at historic levels ($1.7 billion) while cutting taxes. He led the effort to reform Utah’s homeless services delivery model, and he launched Operation Rio Grande to combat the lawlessness that had grown out of control in Salt Lake City. He also led the effort to go after the manufacturers of opioids and increase drug treatment options for those struggling with addiction.

Greg is known for his ability to get things done by bringing opposing sides together to develop unique Utah-solutions to controversial issues such as medical cannabis, justice reform, developing the inland port, and protecting religious freedom while opposing discrimination.

Hughes founded Red Meat Radio in 2008 and co-hosted the Saturday morning show for six years, until 2014. He was also a co-host of KCPW’s “Both Sides of the Aisle” which received a UBEE award from the Utah Broadcasters Association for Best Personalities in 2014.

Outside of his legislative and business experience, Hughes is active in the community. He has coached little league football and he served in many board positions including Chairman of UTA, Summit Academy Charter School, the United Way of Salt Lake, the Pioneer Park Coalition and the Lone Peak Hospital.

Greg has been married to his wife Krista for 25 years. Together they have three children (Sophie, Holden and Reagan) and reside in Draper, Utah.

Show Notes

  • Introduction (1:38)

  • Early age and growing up with a single mom (2:34)

  • Growing up in Pittsburgh then to Utah (3:12)

  • Getting into politics (7:38)

  • Shying away from being apart of the Democrat Party (8:49)

  • Speaker of the House (11:28)

  • The power of feeling loved (15:45)

  • Choosing to serve an LDS Mission (21:14)

  • The importance of budget control and the economy (28:033

  • Cheering for the President (32:09)

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