Governor expected to fill two legislative seats next week

Governor Gary Herbert is expected to fill two legislative seats next week with vacancies left from former elected members to the Senate and House. (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) - Governor Gary Herbert is expected to fill two vacant legislative seats next week from winners of special election outcomes by Republican delegates.

The open seats occurred following the resignations of Sen. Brian Shiozawa (Dist. 8), R-Cottonwood Heights, and Rep. Dean Sanpei (Dist. 63).

Shiozawa accepted a job in Denver as the regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which caused his resignation.

Sanpei also accepted a job offer that caused his voluntary termination of his legislative role when he became the senior vice president of Centura Health, also in Colorado.

Dr. Brian Zehnder ran for Shiozawa's seat against eight other candidates but came out victorious. Like Shiozawa, Zehnder is a physician.

According to an article in U.S. News & World Report, Zehnder is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including Intermountain Medical Center and Jordan Valley Medical Center. He received his medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine and has been in practice for more than 20 years.

Electrical engineer Adam Robertson ran against Leo Lines, a former developer, and member of county and state GOP central committees in a special election at Provo High School on Tuesday.

Robertson received more votes, thus his name has been forward to the governor along with Zehnder's.

Utah's constitution says that the governor is responsible for filling a legislative vacancy from party-recommended successors. He then formally appoints the new legislative members.

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