This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes met with members of President-elect Donald Trump's transition team in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, the same day that Trump announced his new pick to lead the Department of Transportation.
Hughes had been mentioned in some circles as a potential contender for the transportation secretary post, a job that Trump has promised former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Nonetheless, Hughes, who was in Washington for other meetings as well, had lengthy policy-related discussions with members of the Trump team. Earlier in the day, he visited the office of another Trump supporter, Sen. Orrin Hatch, whose staff posted on Hatch's Twitter account a picture of the two meeting.
Hughes had been perhaps the most prominent, unwavering Utah supporter of Trump during the campaign. He had been contacted by individuals close to the president-elect asking the Utah official to submit information pertaining to his work on transportation issues.
In addition to his role as a legislator, Hughes served several years on the board of the Utah Transit Authority, including serving as chairman of the agency's board.
It is still possible that Hughes could be offered a lower position in the Trump administration, however, he has said his family likely would not want to relocate to Washington, D.C., which would present a significant challenge for Hughes to take such a post.
Meanwhile, Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, said Tuesday that he plans to submit his résumé to be considered to be director of the Bureau of Land Management. Noel worked 22 years for the BLM and has been a leader in the Sagebrush Rebellion movement to give local governments access and control over federal lands.
"I understand the mission of the agency, and I feel like they've lost their way a little bit," Noel said.
Noel has been working with Hatch's office to advance the effort, and the senator said that Gov. Gary Herbert has talked to Vice President-elect Mike Pence about Noel as a potential contender for the office. Noel has also lined up endorsements from the Blue Ribbon Coalition, a lands-access group, and is working to get others on board.
Noel said he believes that he can lend "a unique skill set" to the position when it comes to access to disputed roads across public lands, water issues, power-line access and other Western issues. He said any decision on the job is likely months away, after an interior secretary and assistant secretaries are named, but if he is asked, he said he would take the job.