As expected, Brian Monsen has been appointed to fill the legislative vacancy left by former state treasurer candidate Mark Walker, who resigned his House seat early amid investigations into allegations he attempted to bribe his primary opponent.
Monsen was already running as a Republican for the House District 45 seat that Walker was first elected to in 2004. The Democrat running for the seat, Laura Black, lost to Walker two years ago by only 18 votes.
The appointment, made by GOP Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., will give Monsen an opportunity to participate in interim legislative meetings before the November election. The winner in the House race will take office before the 2009 Legislature meets next January.
Huntsman said he was "confident that as a state representative, Brian will serve our state and the citizens in his district with discernment and decorum. I look forward to serving with him in this new capacity."
Walker's resignation was announced July 7, the same day the House Ethics Committee was to consider allegations he offered his GOP primary opponent, state deputy treasurer Richard Ellis, the opportunity to keep his job at a higher salary if he dropped out of the race.
Ellis, who made the allegations against Walker, won the primary. Walker has denied any wrongdoing, but has acknowledged telling Ellis he wouldn't fire him or anyone else in the treasurer's office if elected.
Walker's decision to step down ended the legislative investigation, but he still faces possible criminal charges as the result of an ongoing probe ordered by Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. The election law violation is a class B misdemeanor.
Shurtleff, who supported Walker's campaign, turned the probe over to the Davis and Weber county attorneys. The attorneys have already subpoenaed media interviews related to the treasurer's race and have conducted numerous interviews.Walker said in his resignation letter he decided not to serve out the five months remaining in his legislative term "(b)ecause I cannot in good conscience continue to put my family through the attacks and turmoil."
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