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Utah House Speaker Craig Moody made it official Friday, announcing that he's running for Congress this year.

It wasn't a well-kept secret. Moody, a Republican, has been appearing in congressional debates with other 2nd District candidates for some time. And he let it be known more than six months ago that he wasn't running again for the Utah House this year.Moody even led in a recent Deseret News/KSL-TV poll of 2nd Congressional District candidates.

In his official announcement, made at three locations in the Salt Lake County district, Moody said, "For those of you who don't know me, I'll tell you something: I am aggressive, and I will fight for your agenda, ahead of any special-interest groups, no matter how great the pressure. I've shown that before."

He certainly has shown he's aggressive.

In the late 1980s the majority Republicans were being chewed up in the public and press by several vocal minority Democrats. Gov. Norm Bangerter and other GOP leaders tapped Moody, a young, outspoken House member first elected in 1982, to be the new Republican state chairman.

Moody, a high school debating star, came on like gangbusters. But he didn't stop with just verbally hammering the Democrats. With then-speaker Nolan Karras, Moody set up the Committee for a Republican Majority, an internal political action committee that raised considerable funds for GOP legislative candidates.

In 1986, Democrats won 13 additional seats in the House. Within two years, the hemorrhaging stopped - the Republicans held their own in the House in the 1988 elections - with much of the credit going to Moody.

He then moved through the House leadership ranks - Rules Committee chairman, majority leader - and was elected speaker at age 40 a year ago - one of the youngest speakers ever.

Now it's on to bigger and better things. He recently told the Deseret News: "I always planned on a 10-year career in the (Utah) House. It's time to change."

Speaking to supporters Friday, Moody said: "I will do what I promise. I will do in Washington as I talk in Utah. I've proven that. I will work against the fiscal insanity which is robbing the people of this nation of their rights to health and financial security.

"I will not let people be sold down the river by a few profiteers who will let our people live amid toxic waste and tainted air for the sake of money.

"I will not stand by and let families go without access to health care nor will I cave in to nationalizing the health-care system. I will not be party to increased taxes, and I will help hold the administration to the promise `no new taxes.' "

Moody, who as speaker has had contact with national GOP leaders for several years, said he believes a third of the U.S. House may be new following the 1992 elections.

Moody is a real-estate broker and property manager. He was born in Provo but has lived in Sandy since he was 7. He has a political science bachelor's degree from the University of Utah. He and his wife have six children.