PLEASANT GROVE -- Mr. Frank's wild ride came to a victorious -- for him -- end Wednesday night as county delegates returned him to the legislative office he was ousted from just over a year ago.
Former representative Craig Frank beat out real estate company owner Jeremy Washburn and the former leader of the Pleasant Grove Business Alliance, Deanne Taylor, to win the support of delegates to the tune of 69 percent. Frank said he is excited to return to Utah's Capitol Hill.
"I'm looking forward to starting on Monday with the Legislature and getting the people's business done," Frank said.
He was bounced from his seat in January 2011 when it was discovered that he had moved to a residence outside of his district. The area was believed to be inside of his district, but official state maps showed otherwise and Frank was forced to resign.
Frank credited his overwhelming victory for the seat to his experience at the capitol and to the fact that the delegates knew what they were getting by voting for him instead of another candidate.
"I know these delegates. I've been working with them for eight years," Frank said. "They know me and what I will do up there."
Frank will have to jump into hyperdrive to be prepared for the upcoming session, which starts Monday. He said he does not have any bills he is ready to pursue but said he will work hard to make sure the state is fiscally responsible with the taxpayers dollars.
"I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Legislature to support good policy to make sure our budget is sound and make sure that we are not spending superficially and that we are in fact finding places to cut the budget and make sure we are being the people's fiduciaries in the highest level," Frank said.
His drama isn't quite over, though. While Frank will be able to hold the House seat in the upcoming session, he won't be eligible to run for re-election in the seat come November. Frank recently moved his family to a residence that will be in the new boundaries drawn for the district during the redistricting period last year, but Frank did not move into the new district in time to meet the requirement that a candidate live in his district six months prior to the filing deadline, which is in March.
Frank says he intends to run for the Senate seat that he lives in, which is held by Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem. Valentine has been an ally of Frank's; he ran legislation last year that attempted to fix the boundary problem in Frank's district so he could regain his seat. Frank, though, has said it might be time for a new face in Senate district 14.
Frank replaced Holly Richardson in Utah's House of Representatives, who replaced him when he resigned a year ago. Richardson left the post to work for the Dan Liljenquist for Senate campaign. Sixty-five percent of the delegates attended the special election. Frank won't be officially reinstated as a legislator until Gov. Gary Herbert appoints him in the coming days.