Huntsman names chief of staff, other top aides

Published: Friday, Nov. 12 2004 12:00 a.m. MST

Gov.-elect Jon Huntsman Jr. announced Thursday that his campaign manager, Jason Chaffetz, will become his chief of staff.

Huntsman also said that Chris Roybal will become his senior adviser for economic development; Neil Ashdown his deputy chief of staff for policy; and current state budget director Richard Ellis will stay on in that job.

Roybal will leave his post as president and chief executive officer of The Economic Development Corporation of Utah, a private organization.

Ashdown is currently the deputy state budget director and chief economist for current GOP Gov. Olene Walker.

Keeping two of Walker aides reflects a request the governor made of Huntsman several days ago to keep some of her senior staff.

However, Chaffetz said that Huntsman had pretty much decided on the Ashdown and Ellis appointments before Walker's request.

Earlier this week, Huntsman named a large, volunteer group that will review state department directorships and make recommendations on who should get the plum appointed jobs, such as commissioner of public safety, director of transportation, corrections and so on.

Chaffetz, 37 and a former Brigham Young University football place kicker, has worked on the fringes of political life before. While now a Republican, as a relative-by-marriage to former Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, Caffetz in 1988 organized the Utah campaign for the former Massachusetts governor.

Before becoming a full-time campaign staffer for Huntsman about a year ago, Chaffetz was a partner in Maxtera, a sales and marketing consulting company.

Before that job, Chaffetz worked 11 years for Nu Skin Enterprises, where he was managing director of marketing and product development, senior director for operations in the United States and a general manager for the Australia and New Zealand operations, according to a press release issued by the Huntsman campaign.

Chaffetz lives in Alpine, with his wife, Julie, and their three children.

Roybal has also held positions in the past with the state's economic development office. He has 16 years experience in economic consulting. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Utah and an MBA from UCLA, the campaign said.

Ashdown is president of the Wasatch Front Economic Forum, the Utah chapter of the National Association for Business Economics. He received a doctorate in political science from the State University of New York, Albany. He has a master's degree in public administration and a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Utah.

Before working in the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget, Ellis served as the chief deputy state treasurer for seven years. He's also worked as finance director/treasurer for Draper City and as the assistant treasurer for the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District. Ellis has a an MBA from the University of Utah and a bachelor's degree from BYU.


E-mail: bbjr@desnews.com

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