Looking southeast towards Vernal from the Ashley National Forest


During the recent state work period, I was privileged to spend a few days in Duchesne, Uintah, and Salt Lake counties to meet with Utahns about what issues matter to them most.

While the economy along the Wasatch Front has surged in recent years, the Uinta Basin has been hard-hit economically. Unemployment has hovered around 3 to 4 times higher than the national average in this part of the state, and thousands of rural Utahns from these areas have been unable to find work.

Fortunately, this trend is starting to reverse course. Not only are energy developers starting to hire again, the tech, service, and agriculture industries are also expanding. It was great to spend time in the Basin and see first-hand how this unique community is turning things around.

Waxy Crude Conference – Duchesne, Utah

I began my time in The Basin meeting with energy producers in Duchesne County at the 8th Annual Waxy Crude Conference organized by the Governor’s Office of Energy Development, Duchesne County, USTAR, and Utah’s Department of Natural Resources.

The Waxy Crude Conference brings together energy producers, policy makers, and local governments to collaborate on how to support and expand the development of energy sources in the Uinta Basin.

I am excited about the future of the energy industry in Utah, and I appreciate being able to participate in such an important and informative conference.

Union High School – Roosevelt, Utah

As part of my trip through the Uintah Basin I met with students from Union High School in Roosevelt.

I learned a few things from these Union High students while visiting. I learned they care about issues like term limits, social security reform, national security, and about what it’s like to be a United States Senator. I also learned that many of them can recite lyrics on the spot from the musical HAMILTON.

I love spending time with students and talking about the issues that matter most to them. In a few short years, these students will be leaders in our community and nation. If other students are anything like those at Union High, I’m confident our country will be in good hands.

Uintah County Ranchers and Grazers – Jensen, Utah

Representative Chew, who represents Utahns from Uintah County, invited me to meet with ranchers near Vernal, UT. We met on the banks of the Green River at a corral that has been used by the ranching community in the area for over 100 years.

Watching a sheep-shearing operation in action was exciting and educational. I was frustrated to learn of some of the difficulties Utah ranchers are having when working with federal land managers. I am confident that my staff can help with federal casework when issues like this arise.

Utahns are welcome to visit Lee.senate.gov to contact my office if they ever need assistance with federal agencies.

Golden Age Senior Center – Vernal, Utah

While in Vernal I stopped by the Golden Age Senior Center to visit with some of the wonderful Vernal area seniors that are part of the Golden Age community.

I always enjoy being able to be among Utahns and hear directly about what issues matter to them most. In addition to the areas of social security and Medicare, topics such as federalism and national defense were discussed frequently during my visit. I appreciate the time, candor, and conversation that was shared with me during my visit.

As federal issues arise that impact Utah’s seniors, I will continue to look for legislative solutions that protect seniors while respecting the contributions they made during their life and careers.

Recursion Pharmaceuticals Roundtable Discussion – Salt Lake City, Utah

During the state work period in April, I also met with several biotech companies in Salt Lake City who are on the cutting edge of finding pharmaceutical solutions to diseases for which there are no cures.

Grants from the National Institute of Health are important to companies in this space, as they help researchers take a proof of concept across the “valley of death” to delivering a commercial available product.

The biotech industry in Utah is growing rapidly, and the companies I met with at Recursion Pharmaceuticals are largely the reason why. These companies are doing amazing things, and I will continue to look for ways to foster and protect the innovation taking place here in Utah.

U.S. Magnesium Town Hall and Tour – Grantsville, Utah

U.S. Magnesium near Grantsville, Utah is the only magnesium producer in North America, and one of only several in the world. I stopped by U.S. Magnesium in April to tour the plant and hold a town hall meeting with about 100 employees at the plant.

Magnesium is a big deal. Without it, aluminum would only be as strong as the foil we use to wrap our leftovers. Because of its strengthening properties, magnesium plays a critical role in areas like national defense, technology, construction, air travel, vehicle fuel efficiency, and beverage consumption.

It’s great to see a Utah company leading the way and doing it cleaner, safer, and more efficiently than anyone else in the world.

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