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Former lawmaker picked to return to Utah House

Former lawmaker picked to return to Utah House
Former lawmaker picked to return to Utah House
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(KUTV) Democrats in House District 40 have elected a new representative after their old one resigned amid a political scandal.

On the second ballot, Lynn Hemingway defeated attorney Amy Fowler and was picked by delegates to fill the seat held by Justin Miller. Miller resigned from his position in October and pleaded guilty after being charged with felony communications fraud.

"I'm just so thrilled and anxious to get back to work," Hemingway told 2News following the vote.

This marks a return to the Legislature for Hemingway. He represented the House district for eight years before Miller.

"It's been a rough, rough year," Hemingway said, referring to the former representative's scandal. "I hope we can put this behind us."

Hemingway touted his experience in his speech to delegates Wednesday evening at the Salt Lake County Council chambers. He was joined by Democratic Reps. Marie Poulson and Carol Spackman Moss who asked the crowd to support Hemingway.

The representative-elect said his experience will come in handy in a place where Democrats are rare.

"When you're outnumbered 63 to 12 it's hard to be relevant, but the fact of the matter is I've served with these guys a lot," Hemingway said. "I can get hearings and I can get committee time where an inexperienced person might not be able to do that."

The party's nomination must now be approved by the governor to serve out the term Miller would have spent in office. Once that happens, Hemingway could be sworn in as early as next week.

Miller, who served in the House just nine months, was charged in Third District Court last month with communications fraud, a second-degree felony, for failing to reimburse the Ben McAdams' For Salt Lake County Mayor campaign fund more than $24,300 he wrote out to himself in a check to cover catering costs for a campaign event in 2014, according to charging documents.

Miller is set to be sentenced in December.

Two other candidates also ran for the vacant seat -- accountant Chris Stout and graduate student Michael Shea.

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"We welcome Lynn back into the caucus," said House Minority Leader Brian King (D-Salt Lake City). "He has been a stalwart member of the caucus who strongly represents House District 40 with every issue he takes on. Lynn will be a great representative and the caucus is glad to have him back."

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