Karen Mayne, a former Utah Senate minority leader, is resigning due to health reasons

The Salt Lake City Democratic Senator was diagnosed with cancer last year.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Karen Mayne, Utah Senate Minority Leader, D-West Valley City, in the Senate in February 2021.

State Senator Karen Mayne, a Salt Lake City Democrat and former minority leader, submitted her letter of resignation on Wednesday for health reasons. according to a press release by the Utah Senate. Last year, Mayne was diagnosed with cancer, which she discovered when she broke her shoulder.

Mayne was first appointed to the Senate in 2007 to replace her late husband Ed Mayne, who first won his seat in 1994. Karen was elected in 2008 to fill the remaining two years of Ed’s term. She then won her first full four-year term in 2010. Collectively, the Maynes have held elected positions for nearly 30 years.

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Luz Escamilla called Mayne “the epitome of true public service and representation” in a press release.

“Her commitment to her district and the people of Utah has been considerate, genuine and kind at every step,” Escamilla said.

Senate President Stuart Adams said in the press release that Mayne “overcame difficult circumstances and was a true champion for her district and the state of Utah.”

Scott Howell, a former state senator who served with Mayne and her husband, said she would be sorely missed on Utah’s Capitol Hill.

“Your commitment to improving life for everyone in Utah will be greatly missed. She was a bridge builder and one of the best strategists I’ve ever seen on Capitol Hill. Her ability to reach down the aisle is a lesson that anyone working in politics must learn,” Howell said.

A call to Mayne was not immediately answered Wednesday afternoon.

David Spatafore, a longtime Utah political adviser who has known Mayne for nearly 45 years, told The Salt Lake Tribune that the senator has been a strong voice for the west side of the district in the Capitol for many years and the news of her resignation is saddened .

“Karen Mayne was this unique person in the minority party who was able to work with her peers on both sides of the aisle to pass meaningful legislation,” Spatafore said Wednesday. “Not very many members of the minority party can do that.”

Spatafore said he wasn’t entirely surprised to see her retirement, adding: “My heart aches because she has to step down because of her health situation.”

Other senior Utah political leaders immediately expressed their admiration for Mayne Wednesday afternoon.

Governor Spencer Cox called Mayne “a true stateswoman,” in a tweetadding, “In a bipartisan world, I wish everyone could have the opportunity to meet and work with Sen. Mayne.”

“She is loved by everyone who has ever worked with her, including me,” Cox said in the tweet.

Lt. gov. Deidre Henderson, who served with Mayne in the Utah Senate, said in a tweet“(Mayne) is a friend and mentor to many, and a beloved leader who deserves much thanks for her dedicated public service.”

Utah Democratic Party Chair Diane Lewis said in a statement that Mayne has long been a powerhouse in the Senate and state party.

“She has served the people of her district with integrity and passion for many years, and has accomplished significant things during her time on Capitol Hill by fighting for our state’s working families at every turn,” Lewis said. “Senator Mayne’s loss of leadership in the Senate will be deeply felt, but her legacy in public service will not be forgotten.”

In its own statement Wednesday, the Salt Lake County Democratic Party said it was deeply saddened by Mayne’s resignation but grateful for her years of service.

“Your contributions to our party and the people of Utah will not be forgotten,” the party said in one tweet.

The senator’s resignation takes effect Jan. 16, a day before the legislature begins its 2023 general session.

Mayne was elected to another term in November.

Democratic delegates in Salt Lake County will select a replacement to fill their seat for the next two years. Senate Democrats must select their replacement as Minority Whip, the second-highest member of their caucus.

This story is current and will be updated throughout the day.

https://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2023/01/04/longtime-utah-state-sen-karen/ Karen Mayne, a former Utah Senate minority leader, is resigning due to health reasons

Justin Scacco

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