(KUTV) — 2News Anchor Heidi Hatch poses tough questions to former legislative lawmakers Greg Hughes (R) and Jim Dabakis (D).
Get to know them a little better and listen to their weekly podcast, Take 2.
HEIDI HATCH (2News Anchor)
Heidi Hatch, an Emmy award-winning anchor and reporter loves politics, reading and sarcasm. All three are proving useful in her new podcast “Take 2.”
The weekly podcast features two of Utah’s biggest names in State politics: Greg Hughes, Utah’s former Speaker of the House (R) and Jim Dabakis a long time (D) State Senator.
Heidi has always loved politics like many others love football. Her interest was fanned by the flames of Florida politics while anchoring for FOX 35 in Orlando. Returning to Utah in 2011 she instantly hit the ground running following Mitt Romney’s Presidential Campaign. In 2016, she spent 2 weeks at the RNC and DNC In Cleveland and Philadelphia getting an inside look at how Utah politicos punch above their weight in national politics.
In 2017 Heidi launched KUTV’s “Connect to Congress” where she connects Utah voters with their elected leaders in Washington D.C. You can also catch Heidi on KUED’s Hinckley Report giving insight and analysis.
Heidi knows Utah and its diverse populations. She was born in Cache County, raised in Salt Lake County and graduated from Southern Utah University with a BS in Broadcast Journalism. She knows and loves the State of Utah and hopes to create an open dialogue across political lines making Utah stronger as it grows into and increasingly diverse state.
GREG HUGHES (R)
Former Speaker of the House Greg Hughes represented Draper in District 51. He is a small business owner, working in real estate development and property management.
During his time in the Legislature, Hughes passed legislation to implement state spending limitations and supported a flatter state tax, truth in bonding and other tax and spending reforms.
He has worked extensively on issues to help attract business and increase job availability for the citizens of Utah through tax reforms and incentives.
Hughes has worked on a number of bills to support our military and veterans, including sponsoring a Purple Heart tuition waiver for injured vets.
He participated in the negotiations that allowed Utah to maximize federal money in a unique way to build three desperately needed new veterans nursing homes.
Outside of his legislative service, Hughes is active in the community and has served in positions on the boards of Summit Academy Charter School, United Way of Salt Lake, Lone Peak Hospital and EDC Utah, as well as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Utah Transit Authority.
He and his wife, Krista, are the parents of three children.
JIM DABAKIS (D)
Former Sen. Jim Dabakis came to Utah from Massachusetts to go to college in 1971. He has called Utah home ever since.
Dabakis was involved in radio and television from 1976 to 1989. He worked for all three major network television stations in Salt Lake City as well as numerous talk radio stations.
Dabakis was recognized with national awards during his time as a journalist and talk show host. He was a guest on several national television shows including NBC's Today Show, CBS Nightly News and CNN.
Dabakis was known as "Mr. Democrat" during his 13 years on Utah talk radio. Starting as a volunteer intern at a small radio station, Dabakis eventually ended up as a partner with a small chain of stations that he sold in the mid-1990's.
Sensing opportunity in 1989, Dabakis quit on-air broadcasting and moved to Eastern Europe living in Leningrad and Budapest. He spent most of the next 20 years in Russia, China and living abroad, successfully developing a business around his passion – art.
Dabakis is passionate about equality and was the Chair for the Utah Pride Center and the founding Chair of Equality Utah.
He has remained an active Democrat through the years, giving support and encouragement to officeholders and candidates.
He began his political service as a volunteer for candidate Scott Matheson during his first run for Governor of Utah in 1976.
In July of 2011, Jim was elected Chair of the Utah Democratic Party. He called that full-time job (which paid $1 a year) "one of the most engaging, fun, challenging and exciting things I have ever done. I love Utah Democrats!"
In December of 2012, Dabakis was elected to the Utah State Senate. Running for re-election for a four-year term in 2014, Dabakis received 75% of the vote without accepting money from PACs, corporations or special interests.
Dabakis has been with his partner, Stephen Justesen for 30 years. In December of 2014, the two wed the first day that marriage equality was allowed in Utah.