Former LDS Church presiding bishop appointed to Utah's new welfare commission

Published: Wednesday, April 24 2013 8:00 p.m. MDT

H. David Burton

Keith Johnson, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY -- H. David Burton, former presiding bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has been appointed to the Utah Intergenerational Welfare Commission.

Burton will serve as the non-voting member of the commission, which is otherwise made up of state department heads. The commission is charged to develop policy recommendations to end intergenerational poverty. It was created under legislation passed by state lawmakers earlier this year.

Jon Pierpont, executive director of the Department of Workforce Services, will serve as commission chairman. Other members include State Superintendent of Public Instruction Martell Menlove; Juvenile Court administrator Lisa-Michele Church; Palmer DePaulis, executive director of the Department of Human Services; and Dr. David Patton, executive director of the Utah Department of Health.

The commission will be assisted by the Intergenerational Poverty Advisory Committee, its members yet to be named. They will include representatives of faith organizations, child advocacy groups, local government, academic experts and other nonprofit organizations. Burton will serve as chairman of the advisory group.

The commission will collaborate on policy recommendations to "help children escape the consequences of intergenerational poverty," Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden, sponsor of SB53, said during a hearing on the legislation earlier this year.

As the LDS Church's presiding bishop, Burton supervised the humanitarian and welfare efforts of the church. He was released from the position on March 31, 2012.

Marjorie Cortez is a veteran journalist who covers immigration, poverty and other human services issues for the Deseret News and KSL. She has reported for news organizations in Colorado and Utah since 1983, the last 24 years at the Deseret News.

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