Utah State Elections Director Mark Thomas is pictured at the state Capitol in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, June 20, 2017. Thomas was named chief of staff to the Utah Senate on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Senate didn't go far for a new chief of staff.

Mark Thomas, who works as in the lieutenant governor's office as the state elections director, was named to post Wednesday.

"I am confident that Mark Thomas will be an exceptional addition to the Utah Senate team. His demonstrated ability to understand complex policy issues and his track record of finding common-sense solutions makes him a uniquely suited individual to take over this critical role," said Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy.

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Thomas will oversee Senate operations and staff management, and be the Senate’s primary spokesman. He also will advise the Senate on issues related to policy, communications and constituent relations.

Senate Minority Leader Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City, said he's confident Thomas will do a good job and looks forward to his leadership in guiding continued collaboration across the aisle.

Thomas also worked as office administrator to then-Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert before being appointed elections director in 2009. He is a graduate of the University of Utah.

Thomas replaces Ric Cantrell, who left to become chief of staff in the attorney general's office.