After 16 years representing Utah Senate District 19, Sen. Allen Christensen recently announced he won’t be seeking another term in office.
North Ogden Republican Allen Christensen told the audience at the Action Utah legislative preview in Park City Wednesday that, after his term ends this year, he won’t run again for the District 19 senate seat he’s held since 2005.
"We have at least two of you in the audience that have decided they're going to run for public office in the legislature," Christensen said. "They both happen to be after my seat, but that’s OK, because I'm not running again. I'm not this year, and after 16 years, I've been beat up enough, and I'm black and blue from it."
Two Summit County Democrats—Chris Neville and Katy Owens—have announced their candidacy for Christensen’s seat. Neville and Owens attended Wednesday’s event. The senator went on to praise their efforts.
"I just wanted to compliment those two people there from the opposite party that I am," Christensen said. "That's great. I hope you represent yourself and the constituents up here well and enjoy the race. Thank you."
Christensen sponsored a bill that passed early in the 2019 legislative session, undoing the full Medicaid expansion approved by voters through 2018’s Proposition 3. At the same time, Christensen, a dentist, sponsored legislation that allowed dental services for the elderly to be covered under Medicaid.
Looking back at his time in the state legislature, Christensen expressed respect for his colleagues and encouraged the public to engage in the legislative process.
"We’re part-time experts at everything, and sometimes we fail miserably at it," Christensen said. "But I challenge all of you to come down and watch how things get done. It will open your eyes sometimes, and sometimes it will disappoint you."
Along with Owens and Neville, Republican Johnny Ferry has declared his intent to gather signatures for the District 19 election. The filing deadline for candidacy is March 19.