SALT LAKE CITY — Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes has been in contact with President-elect Donald Trump's transition team and could be among those under consideration for transportation secretary.
The Draper Republican's speech at a national transportation conference in Sacramento last Thursday apparently triggered interest in his work and ideas on transit issues.
"I was contacted and I forwarded some information," Hughes said. "There was a lot of conversations after I had heralded our Utah model at that conference. I imagine that some of the things we're hearing now are from the transportation leaders that were at that conference."
A former Utah Transit Authority board chairman, Hughes is a proponent of a comprehensive transportation approach that includes roads, light rail, fixed rail, buses and rapid transit. He has spoken about Utah's transportation system at various places around the country.
Hughes was one of the first Utah politicians to get behind and stay behind Trump during the presidential campaign. He was among elected leaders who hosted Donald Trump Jr. for a fundraiser in September.
Hughes said he doesn't know how much he wants to talk about the possibility of working in the Trump administration because he doesn't want to sound like he's planning on anything. He said he doesn't really know how the process works.
"If I could be impactful and make a difference, and if our president-elect were to ask me to serve, it would be pretty hard not to take that seriously," he said.
Hughes has served in the House since 2002 and was just re-elected to a second two-year term as speaker. He said he's not looking for anything beyond that and doesn't know if anything would come of it.
"I'm not measuring for drapes," he said.
At least one person has made it known that he wants the transportation secretary job.
Florida Republican Rep. John Mica, who lost his re-election bid, told reporters last week that he has talked to the Trump team about the position. He has been an avid Trump supporter.
Other possibilities mentioned in various news reports include former Reason Foundation analyst Shirley Ybarra, the Trump transition team member tasked with finding the new transportation secretary; James Simpson, who ran New Jersey’s Department of Transportation; and Mark Rosenker, a retired Air Force general who led the National Transportation Safety Board.