This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated.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.
Donald Trump supporters launched his Utah campaign on Monday with some well-known legislators, business leaders and longtime political activists heading his state committee.
"I really believe it's an opportunity to have a Reagan kind of administration that can come in and make America great again," said Utah Senate Majority Leader Ralph Okerlund, R-Monroe.
Appearing with him on the Utah Capitol steps were Sen. Stuart Adams, R-Layton; Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce President Stan Parrish; Donald Peay, founder of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife; and historian and activist Ron Fox, who was George W. Bush's Utah campaign director.
Some other names of note on Trump's Utah committee are state Sen. David Hinkins, R-Orangeville; Sen. Kevin Van Tassell, R-Vernal; Beaver County Commissioner Mark Whitney; Tracy Rawle, head of the Check City payday loan company; and retired four-star Air Force Gen. Robert Oaks, an emeritus LDS general authority, who served in the faith's Presidency of the Seventy.
The launch comes as billionaire Trump leads national polls after primary wins in New Hampshire and South Carolina but trails in Utah.
For example, a poll released Monday by UtahPolicy.com showed Trump in third place among Utah Republicans with 18 percent support behind Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (24 percent support) and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (22 percent).
Supporters said some of Trump's more controversial statements such as proposing a ban on immigration by Muslims and building wall along the Mexican border may have turned off some Utahns, even them. But they say they like many of his other stands and attributes.
"I don't even agree with my wife on everything," Adams said. "I think they [Utahns] need to get to know him better."
"The more they get to know him, the more they see what his values are, the more they are going to support him," Okerlund said. "I think he's going to moderate and come more to the middle as the campaign progresses…. But he is who he is, and he's going to say what he thinks."
Parrish, who also was a long-time aide to Sen. Orrin Hatch and was a congressional candidate, said Trump "speaks out to those things that people are thinking but not saying. I think he is an agent for change, and we need to change in this country."
He added, "He appeals to a completely different constituency than a lot of the traditional Republicans," so he believes Trump can win the presidency.
Peay who spent recent days introducing Donald Trump Jr. around Utah to campaign for his father, and even went hunting with him said Trump wants to keep public lands public, but provide more local control of their management to help improve it.
"I think you all know his signature line: if they don't do a good job, they're fired," which he said many times on his TV show, "The Apprentice," Peay said.
Okerlund added, "It's so nice to have a candidate who understands Utah issues, who understands how important resources are to our country."
Adams also said, "Government is not the answer. The answer is to try to make the private sector do well. I think Donald Trump understands that."
Fox said Trump also "will provide defense for the world and keep terrorism out."