Former Weber State University president F. Ann Millner invited community members to join her in the kickoff of her campaign for the Utah Senate at Best Western on Tuesday evening.
Originally recruited by the Democratic Party for its House seat, Millner declined, deciding to run for the Republican Party after Sen. Stuart Reid retired.
Millner will compete against James Humphreys in the electoral race for the Utah Senate, District 18, which consists of part of the Layton, Weber and Davis counties.
“Ann Millner would be a very strong and competent member of the Legislature,” said WSU Provost Mike Vaughan in an email. “She is familiar with the issues confronting the state . . . she would serve as a good steward for the citizens of Northern Utah and the entire state.”
Millner’s open house gave supporters, representatives, community members and news organizations the opportunity to get to know her and talk with her one on one.
“Ann Millner was a very successful and effective president for Weber State University,” said Brad Mortensen, WSU vice president for University Advancement. “The skills she demonstrated in that role would likely be a strong benefit if she is elected to the Utah Senate.”
Millner welcomed everyone as they came in by shaking their hands, asking their names, and thanking them for their time and support for her campaign.
“She comes on board running; she’s the best fit we have for the seat,” said Utah legislator Dixon Pitcher. “She has a strong education background, knows the processes that we go through, weighs the issues at hand and adds insight for us.”
In discussing her decision to run, Millner said she had been engaged in the legislative process for the last 20 years, representing WSU and the community, so it was an easy decision for her when the seat opened up.
“Several people encouraged me for running,” she said. “I realized this tie between Weber, Morgan and Davis County, which we have focused on in serving this region together, and I felt I already had the skills, expertise and experience of the process so that I could represent this region respectfully and make a difference.”
Millner said she had no ties to any political party and was free to choose which party she wanted to represent in this election, though she did say she has a strong conservative background tracing back to her childhood.
“I need to work with everybody; everyone had different opinions on politics, so I had to work with Democrats, Republicans . . . basically everyone!”
Millner said she will focus on three main goals if elected to Senate; first, economic development through increasing jobs and sustaining economic growth and development for Weber, Davis and Morgan counties; second, education, making sure K-12 students are reaching the bench marks in public education, easily moving them into college; third, to enhance the quality of life for Utah residents by making Utah an enjoyable place to live and play.
Millner worked at WSU for more than 30 years, 10 of those years as president. When elected into the presidency at WSU, her main focuses were enhancing education through teaching and learning, student engagement, service learning and undergraduate research. She created a campus-wide institutional planning initiative, opened the Davis campus, revitalized multiple facilities on the Ogden campus and completed a $90 million capital campaign.
Along with her efforts at WSU, Millner advanced her experience in working with state and local lawmakers, as well as civic leaders, on issues such as welfare in Ogden City and at WSU.
Millner’s main message to voters is to “get engaged in politics, become an engaged citizen, because it’s a wonderful way to become involved in your community.”