TREMONTON - By Cari Doutre - Jan. 17, 2020 -
Thomas Wright has never been elected to a public office in Utah which means he’s not a career politician by any means. But that didn’t stop him from deciding that he wants a shot at being the next governor of Utah, and he has a lot of good reasons why he is the best fit for the job.
“When you don’t have the political entanglements, when you’re a fresh face, you see things in a new perspective. You can bring groups together that maybe disagree on an issue because you haven’t had a stance with those issues before or with those people,” Wright said. “You can bring fresh perspectives and new ideas and you can creative solutions that people haven’t thought of before.”
It’s that much-needed fresh perspective on politics that he feels will put him in the governor’s seat. Wright is one of three other candidates in their 40s. It’s more than his just his youth that he has to offer to Utah, he’s also an extremely successful businessman.
Wright became the president and principal broker of Summit Sotheby’s International Realty 2008. It’s those experiences he’s taken from the business world that he feels will give him an edge, if elected governor. That includes the ability to tackle the big issues.
“You learn how to anticipate problems and how to tackle them before they become too big or insurmountable,” Wright said.
Although he’s never held public office, he has been involved with his political party. Wright was the chairman of the Utah Republican Party twice and once for the Salt Lake County Republican Party. He was also a member of the Republican National Committee serving as vice chair for the western region.
Taking that knowledge and experience he’s gained, Wright officially announced his candidacy for Utah governor on Jan. 2, 2020, adding him the list of five other Republican candidates vying for the position.
As of Jan. 17, that list includes former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. and current Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox. Former Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes, Salt Lake County commission member Aimee Winder Newton and Jeff Burningham will also be on the ticket for the Republican primary election.
This year’s Republican primary election will be held on June 30, but the list of candidates can still get longer. The official filing date to run is March 19.
Once the primary election is held, and one Republican candidate is selected by their party, the next thing is to win the general election on Nov. 3. There are two Democrat candidates that have officially recorded their candidacy for Utah governor as of Jan. 17, Nikki Pino and Zachery Moses.
Wright didn’t waste any time hitting the campaign trail in Utah after his announcement. One of those stops included Box Elder County on Jan. 14. Wright spent the day visiting with residents, organizations and dignitaries in Utah’s most northern county. Personnel at Box Elder School District’s main office in Brigham City had the chance to meet Wright and discuss issues surrounding public schools in Utah.
Wright has made a point during his campaign that improving the public education system in Utah is extremely important to him.
“We need to make public education system in this state more effective. A lot of governors run on it and talk on but I’m going to do it,” Wright said.
He pointed out two main parts of this, the teacher shortage in Utah and their pay.
“We’re not paying our teachers enough,” he added. “I want to make it rewarding to teach.”
“We need to provide the same education opportunities in our public schools here as we do in the Wasatch front,” Wright said. “It’s equally important and we need to bring that equality to Utah students.”
The iconic Idle Isle Café on Brigham City’s Main St. was the site for lunch for Wright. He was joined by the three Box Elder County commissioners.
Wright made his rounds visiting local businesses and talking with residents before heading to Tremonton. Later that evening he hosted a town hall event in Brigham City allowing residents a chance to get to know him.
“The rural communities are part of our fabric and they’re important to our prosperity moving forward,” he said.
It’s his love for all of Utah that makes him so passionate about running for governor.
“It’s so fun and it’s so energizing to go and talk to people about their local communities and hear the passion they have for them and the belief they have in them and what they’re willing to sacrifice to make them better,” Wright said. “Issues are local, and every single community faces different challenges.”
Those issues are something Wright’s prepared to tackle.
“We have had great economic prosperity and our population has grown. People want to live in Utah. This is the best state in the country but it’s when you’re having the most success that you need the most strength and leadership. When things are going well you don’t have to make hard decisions, you can just ride it out but when things aren’t as good you will have wished you had made those decisions,” he said.
“While things are going well, we’ve got to step up and be bold and brave and we have to see those problems that are right around the corner and tackle them now when it’s a little bit easier than later,” he added.
The job ahead, if elected, is something he takes seriously.
“This is a big job and you have to want to do it and you have to be excited about it. I do have the energy. I have the passion. I’m ready and I feel like I have the training for it, and I love Utah. Utah matters to me,” Wright said.
One big turning point in his campaign so far was getting a big endorsement from someone he highly respects. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah stated on Jan. 13, that he is endorsing Wright for Utah Governor. It meant big things for Wright and he is grateful for Bishop’s support.
“I was so humbled and flattered by that,” Wright said after he learned Bishop was giving him his endorsement. “It was a highlight of my 11 days of campaigning.”
Just three days later another big announcement came from Wright and Bishop. Bishop will be Wright’s running mate, his lieutenant governor, if elected. It was announced in 2019 that Bishop will not be seeking another term in Congress.
Whatever is ahead of him Wright is prepared and he’s not worried about those also vying for the position.
“You don’t worry about the competition. You work hard and if you’re best self shows up and you pay the price then one of two things will happen. Either you’ll be successful, or you won’t, and you’ll be fine with that outcome,” he said.