UtahLDSLobbyist

John Q. Cannon will head Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel

Lawmakers in Utah recommended John Q. Cannon to head the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel. Cannon is presently the chief lobbyist for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His future legislature office drafts laws, staffs committees and provides legal advice.

Cannon's nomination to this plum post happened without any public debate. No questions were raised from any Utah watchdog groups or from lawmakers. His appointment was accomplished by a bipartisan group consisting of 12 lawmakers. All of them unanimously gave him the recommendation for this job.

The Mormon church's chief lobbyist took precedence over other four finalists. All five were interviewed by legislative leaders. They formed a special committee to replace the incumbent Michael Christensen, who is set to retire on August 11. He spent a total of 17 years in this top post, since ascending to the job in 2000.

The future head has previously worked in legislature for about two decades. Cannon has worked first in the analyst position, and then as the OLRGC's managing policy analyst. Wayne Niederhauser, the Senate President and an elected Republican from Sandy, and Brian King, the House Minority Leader and an elected Democrat from Salt Lake City, spearheaded a search committee which gave its thumbs up to Cannon. The position carries a salary ranging from $100,000 to about $160,000 every year. Responsibilities include managing about 65 policy analysts and attorneys. Other workers will also work under the leader's command.

The Legislative Research Subcommittee was made of six members which is equally balanced between the Democrats and the Republicans. This is true for both the legislative chambers. The recommendation is given to the Legislative Management Committee. In case it gets approved, the ratification will be done by the complete legislature.

In its statement, the committee gave fulsome praise to Cannon. Niederhauser commended him saying that he is a diplomat and an innovator. He also said that the lobbyist has an extensive knowledge of the Utah legislative process and also of legalese around the United States. Cannon, he said, has the requisite leadership ability and the experience to successfully get work done.

King, the Democrat and House Minority Leader, said Cannon brings excellent experience to the job as he had worked in the same field and also government relations work within private sector. The commitment and integrity to quality will permit the office to go forward and built on the foundation which Christensen made.  

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