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The University of Utah's lobbyist will head the school's Hinckley Institute of Politics.

Jason Perry, who had been serving as interim director, will keep the job, the school announced Friday. He succeeds Kirk Jowers, who stepped down in June to become vice president of corporate relations at doTERRA International, a multilevel-marketing company that sells therapeutic oils.

"I've always admired the work of the Hinckley Institute," Perry said in a prepared statement. "The activities of our elected officials and the work of government bodies impact all Utahns, and I'm honored to be in a position to continue to ensure the next generation of citizens is engaged and informed."

The 50-year-old center hosts forums and speeches from politicians, academics, writers and heads of state. Its directors also provide analysis and commentary on elections and public policy.

Perry's lobbying background, said University President David Pershing, will help him create more opportunities for U. students. Hinckley interns already work in Utah and Washington, D.C., as well as internationally.

Jim Hinckley, the institute's chairman, said Perry is "eminently qualified" to oversee the center established with donations from the Noble Foundation and Robert H. Hinckley.

In 2010, Perry stepped down as chief of staff to Gov. Gary Herbert to become the U.'s vice president for government relations. Before that, he was head of the Governor's Office of Economic Development under former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., when the office began aggressively recruiting businesses. He also led the Department of Commerce and prosecuted Internet crimes against children as an assistant attorney general.

Perry is a graduate of the U.'s law school, where he now is an adjunct professor.