Who is House Speaker Greg Hughes?
I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, the son of a single mom. Growing up, I lived with my mother, grandmother and aunt. When we talk about at-risk kids — what we call Title One kids today – I was one of those kids. Although my mother worked very hard, times always seemed challenging and that has left me with an invaluable perspective. I have a deep appreciation for the struggles that people go through, that my late mother went through, that I went through.
Politics, in fact, came as an afterthought. Upon graduation from high school, I was a bellhop at the Sheraton and had a friend whose mother was working on the presidential campaign of then-Vice President Herbert Walker Bush. I thought it would be fun getting involved but also discovered an untapped passion within me that extended beyond campaigns and elections. Inside the Bush for President campaign office they had filing cabinets filled in alphabetical order with every issue and public policy that a presidential campaign would ever need, or want to share. At night I would study those issue papers and weigh what I was reading against what I thought the world looked like, or should look like, and discovered that I had a passion for public policy and cared about things that were bigger than myself.
I would go on to serve an LDS Church mission to Australia and Papua New Guinea before returning home to Pittsburgh, which you need to know is a drinking town with a football problem. When that’s how your friends are spending their down time, you can see how a newly returned missionary might feel out of place. I did have a few LDS friends who had moved to Utah – Provo to be specific – and I followed their lead by packing up the car and heading west to go to college. I met my wife Krista, who’s from American Fork. She’s from Utah and that made me from Utah. We’ve been married for over 20 years and have three children – Sophie, my oldest daughter, is 16, Holden is 14, and my youngest son, Reagan, is 12. I started a small business with my business partner that I own and operate today. Fourteen sessions ago, at the age of 32, I ran for an open legislative House seat, won a tough race against some very good candidates and have represented District 51 in Draper ever since. I still remember talking to Krista and my business partner prior to getting into that first race and telling them how this whole legislative thing was only 45 calendar days and that I didn’t see it being that much of a time commitment; something that I could fit in along with everything else I was doing.
Throughout my legislative service, education has been and remains the biggest issue we grapple with. It certainly is the one issue that receives the most of our state dollars. I ultimately served as chair of the House Education Standing Committee for two terms and I still have a passion for education, working hard for our kids and getting education policy right. I also served in leadership for four years as House Majority Whip before being selected Speaker by my colleagues last year following the retirement of the late Becky Lockhart from the Legislature.