It was announced today that Lt. Governor Greg Bell (Republican) will step down from his office, citing financial pressures on his family.
Bell, 64, who created a career from real estate law, currently earns $104,400 for his service to the state annually and cites the downturn due to the Great Recession and the inability to sell certain unnamed assets for the decision.
Bell has served as the mayor of Farmington and was elected as a state senator for that area in 2002. In 2009, Bell was tapped for lieutenant governor when Gary Herbert replaced Jon Huntsman in the governor’s chair after Huntsman vacated the spot to serve as US Ambassador to China.
His office recently came under fire after it was suggested that Bell was improperly using the office to sway the decision of the Division of Family Services – a charge that was eventually dismissed. The office, which also enforces election laws statewide, is also currently involved in investigating a campaign complaint against Attorney General John Swallow.
Bell told Fox 13 that he will not “stand in the lobby” of the capitol building, implying he does not intend to use his position to become a lobbyist.
A powerful force on Capitol Hill, Bell focused much of his legislative career on the rights of crime victims, child protection, and education.
At this time, no date has been set for an announcement of Bell’s replacement. The Governor is expected to name a replacement in October or November, and Bell will remain in office until the Senate can confirm the appointment of a new Lieutenant Governor.
Here’s a copy of the official press release:
Lt. Governor Greg Bell Steps Down
Sep 16 2013
After four years as Utah’s second in command, says it’s time to take care of family’s needs
SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Lt. Governor Greg Bell announced this morning he is stepping down as Utah’s seventh lieutenant governor. After four years in his present post and 23 years in public service, Bell has decided to return to the private sector.
“Serving the people of Utah as Lt. Governor has truly been an honor. The uniquely collegial and collaborative partnership with Governor Herbert has been a privilege,” said the Lt. Governor.
“It’s difficult to leave a post as substantive and dynamic as this, and I have enjoyed every minute. It’s simply time to take care of my family’s long-term financial needs.”
Governor Gary R. Herbert said Bell leaves a large hole in the administration. “This is not an administration of caretakers or ribbon cutters. Greg Bell has worked incredibly hard and sacrificed a great deal. He has given every measure in dedicated public service, not just the past four years, but throughout his career.”
The Governor added, “I have valued Lt. Governor Bell’s loyalty as my partner and friend. He is a true statesman-a man of principle, integrity and resolve. And he has been key to our ongoing success, particularly on the education front.”
Bell will retain his post and numerous assignments until the Governor’s nominee to replace him is formally named and officially confirmed by the Utah State Senate on a date yet to be determined.
The Governor is not ready to announce whom he will nominate as Utah’s next lieutenant governor at this time. “I have a short list already in mind, but I am going to take a bit of time to finalize my selection,” he said. “I expect we will make a formal announcement in the near future.”
Bell, 64, has served as the Lieutenant Governor of Utah since September 1, 2009, chairing or participating in over 20 committees or working group assignments and serving as the Governor’s legislative lead. Elected in 2002, he served as a Utah State Senator and in the leadership of the Utah State Senate.
Bell was born in Ogden, and raised in Ogden and Spring Glen, Utah. He graduated from Ogden High School, Weber State University and the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah. He practiced law specializing in real estate development and finance.
Bell is a past mayor and city councilman of Farmington, past chair of Envision Utah, and past president of the Farmington Bay District of the Boy Scouts of America. Lt. Governor Bell and his wife, JoLynn, reside in Fruit Heights and are the parents of six children and 20 grandchildren.