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As the new face in the state Senate, Stuart Adams enters with a distinct advantage -- colleagues already view him as an effective policymaker who can bring people together.

Adams established his record through nine years on the Layton City Council and almost four years in Utah's House of Representatives.

The 55-year-old real estate developer also chaired the State Transportation Commission and the Military Installation Development Authority (MIDA), a board now in the thick of the 550-acre Falcon Hill development on the west side of Hill Air Force Base.

"Stuart understands how local and state governments operate," said MIDA's Executive Director Rick Mayfield. "And he has a keen knowledge of private development -- how it takes place and what it takes to make it work."

"He is just a guy who knows how to deal with people," Mayfield added.

As a House member, Adams successfully shepherded legislation in 2005 to get the controversial Legacy Highway project -- which had languished in litigation over environmental concerns -- back on track for successful completion.

"Legacy became a high priority for him. He pitched right in," said Salt Lake City Planning Director Wilf Sommerkorn, who formerly headed up community and economic development in Davis County.

"He was a pretty level head," Sommerkorn said. "To have him come back [to the Legislature] will be a positive all around."

For more than three decades, Adams has worked with his dad, Dave Sr., and his brother, Dave Jr., in the family-owned Adams Company, a residential real estate and development firm, headquartered in Kaysville.

"I'm a fifth-generation Davis County type of guy," Adams said of his deep Utah roots. He credits his 89-year-old father -- who still comes into work every day -- for nudging him back into politics.

In July, his name surfaced on Gov. Gary Herbert's short list for lieutenant governor. After Sen. Greg Bell was selected for that slot, Adams then entered the queue to fill Bell's vacated legislative seat.

"My dad told me there's probably no more critical time to be involved," Adams said. "He said that whatever I needed to do, to do it."

Adams was picked by GOP delegates in the Senate district and was sworn in on Sept. 16. Former colleagues applaud his Capitol Hill comeback.

State Rep. Mike Morley, R-Spanish Fork, hopes Adams can wield the same influence in the Senate that he did in the House.

"He was always able to listen to both sides and bring them together," Morley said.

Asked where he sits on the political spectrum, Adams described himself as "probably a hard-core Republican" -- but said he personally dislikes labels.

"I haven't seen any politics" -- in Adams' pragmatic approach, said Carlos Braceras, deputy director for Utah's Department of Transportation. "He's very interested in economic development and sees transportation as the facilitator."

As a state senator, Adams said he hopes to continue to champion those efforts throughout the Beehive state.

Former Layton Mayor Jerry Stevenson worked with Adams in several capacities and for many years, and said he's backed him "in everything he does."

"He's very logical, very credible," Stevenson said. "And he doesn't get mad. He's just a good thinker."

When not working to bring opposing opinions together, Adams finds time for his other passions -- which include his wife, four grown daughters and soon-to-be five grandchildren.

"I have four sons-in-law and we chase baseball and football games together -- wherever we can find one," Adams said.