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Salt Lake County GOP elects replacement for outgoing Rep. Ken Ivory

Steve Christiansen will represent District 47 in the Utah House of Representatives, a special election determined Thursday.
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SALT LAKE CITY — Steve Christiansen will represent District 47 in the Utah House of Representatives after a vote held by the Salt Lake County GOP Thursday.

He replaces former Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, who resigned from his seat in August to accept a new position at artificial intelligence company Geomancer.

Christiansen defeated Nathan Brown and Stacy Norton in Thursday’s party vote, the Salt Lake County GOP said in a statement. He will be sworn in at the state Capitol on Monday.

A biography for Christiansen on the Salt Lake County Republicans website lists “helping restore proper balance” between the federal and state governments, “removing federal ‘handcuffs’” from parents and educators, “obtaining rights to our public lands to better fund education and lower the tax burden,” and “defending religious freedom while providing appropriate minority protections” as some of Christiansen’s priorities.

“Mr. Christiansen is very well-qualified to represent the fine residents in House District 47,” said Salt Lake County Republican Chair Scott Miller in a statement. “We look forward to Steve’s principled leadership on the Hill on issues important to his district, our county, and the state of Utah.”

Christiansen has worked as a small-business owner, according to his campaign profile, has lived in three of the 30 different countries he has visited, and speaks two languages. He is a father of four children and a grandfather of five.

As a legislator, Ivory was a vocal critic of federal land management policies and advocated for Utah to take control of federally managed public lands. He sponsored the Transfer of Public Lands Act, which attempted to force the federal government to transfer the title of millions of acres of public land to the state.

Ivory has accepted an executive level position at Geomancer, a company under a $700,000 contract with the state’s Federalism Commission. The former lawmaker inked the initial $25,000 contract with the company, but does not sit on the Federalism Commission that expanded the contract. Still, Ivory’s decision to take a job at the artificial intelligence company was criticized by some.

“A big thank you to Rep. Ken Ivory for his years of dedication and hard work,” Miller said. “We will miss Rep. Ivory’s insight and leadership. Mr. Christiansen has big shoes to fill, but he has the full support of our county leadership team and the county party as a whole.”