SALT LAKE CITY — Four-term Rep. Julie Fisher, R-Fruit Heights, has been selected as director of the state's Department of Community and Culture.

Fisher submitted her resignation from Utah's House of Representatives on Tuesday and will assume her new position immediately. She said she is honored to accept Gov. Gary Herbert's appointment to the position and said she shares in his goal "of making Utah's state government a model of management and efficiency."

"I look forward to the challenge of helping him to achieve that goal, while preserving and valuing Utah's great cultural heritage," Fisher said.

The DCC — which consists of six divisions, including Arts and Museums, State History, State Library, Ethnic Affairs, Indian Affairs and Housing and Community Development — exists to "enrich the quality of life for the people of Utah by preserving and promoting communities and culture," according its website. The agency is currently under review as part of a larger effort to optimize state government.

In the past year, the DCC has undergone many changes, including the firing of former director of Indian Affairs, Forrest Cuch, and a dramatic cut in the budget taken during the general session of the Legislature.

A committee to restructure the department was consequentially formed and resulted in the elimination of two state archaeologists and its only physical anthropologist, when the positions were consolidated into one in June. The three, as well as Cuch, had been prominent opponents of a Utah Transit Authority FrontRunner stop proposed to be developed on an old Indian archaeological site in Draper. Officials have said their involvement with the site was not part of the reason for their job losses.

Earlier this month, the governor announced a new multicultural affairs commission that will take over most of the functions of the Office of Ethnic Affairs.

Fisher graduated from Indiana University with a degree in journalism in 1980 and has worked in broadcast television. She was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2004 and has served on the Transportation Committee, the Revenue and Taxation Committee, the Business, Economic Development and Labor Appropriations Subcommittee, the Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Interim Committee and the Utah International Relations and Trade Commission.

She has also served on the Capitol Arts Placement Subcommittee and the Utah State Historical Records Advisory Board, as well as the boards of the Davis County Chamber of Commerce, the Intergovernmental Roundtable and the Salt Lake United Way.

"With her legislative experience, community ties and familiarity with DCC, Julie is uniquely suited to lead the agency to the next level," Herbert said. "She not only understands the state's stewardship role in preserving our unique and invaluable cultural identity, she also appreciates our accountability for every tax dollar, as well as the need to examine service models in a meaningful way."


Twitter: wendyleonards