SALT LAKE CITY — Brian Zehnder was sworn in Tuesday as a member of the Utah Senate, filling the vacancy left when Sen. Brian Shiozawa, R-Cottonwood Heights, accepted a position with the Trump administration.
Zehnder, a family medicine doctor in Magna, was visibly moved as he repeated the oath of office, administered by Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, at the state Capitol.
"I have a deep desire to see health and access to health care improved in our state," Zehnder said.
"(Utah faces) many health-related problems — marijuana, opioids, access to health care and Medicaid expansion, to name a few," he said. "A good doctor or senator listens well, gathers facts and uses their toolbox of gifts to solve problems.
"My gifts include a hunger for knowledge, the skill set in being a small-business owner, and a view that there is always room for improvement."
Zehnder was chosen from a pool of 10 candidates by Salt Lake County GOP delegates. He will serve until a new senator can be elected in November 2018 to fill the remaining two years of Shiozawa's term.
Shiozawa resigned from the Legislature in December and retired from his career as a doctor to become one of 10 regional directors for intergovernmental and external affairs for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
He was appointed to the Denver-based position by President Donald Trump, representing the department in Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.
An emergency room doctor, Shiozawa practiced at St. Mark's Hospital for more than 27 years. He was elected to the Utah Senate in 2012.