Former WSU president elected to state Senate

Ann Millner awaits results at the Weber county building Tuesday night. MIllner was elected to the State Seante in a landslide victory (Ariana Berkemeier / The Signpost)
Ann Millner awaits results at the Weber County building Tuesday night. Millner was elected to the state Senate in a landslide victory. (Ariana Berkemeier / The Signpost)

Jobs, the economy and education are the three main issues state Senator-elect Ann Millner said she wants to focus on. Millner won her election in a landslide.

Millner, who served as Weber State University’s president for 10 years, was elected to a 4-year term in the state Senate Tuesday night.

Millner retired as president of  WSU in  2012, but continued to teach classes in health administration. When current senator for District 18 Stuart Reid announced his retirement, Millner said she saw an opportunity to continue her life in public service.

Millner captured 73 percent of the vote, according to results posted by the Lt. Gov’s website.

“I look forward to serving the people of the 18th District,”  Millner said.

Millner added she wants to bring prosperity, and to give everyone in Weber County the opportunity to get good jobs and an education.

Millner’s opponent, Democrat Mat Wenzel, said he knew it would be an uphill battle from the start. He ran to be the voice of a people he feels are under represented in Senate District 18.

He criticized Millner for not taking a position on marriage equality, non-discrimination or a health care plan for those unable to work. He also took shots at her for receiving large donations from big, out-of-state corporations.

“Perhaps now that she is an elected official she can begin to speak up and truly represent all the constituents of our district—and in this endeavor I wish her the best of luck,” Wenzel said in an e-mail.

Weber County Republican Party Chair Noall Knighton said the results showed people trust Millner’s leadership record.

“It’s a strong showing,” Knighton said. “It’s a real credit to her, her reputation, her career and the work she’s done at Weber State and the work she’s done in the community.”

On election night, Millner came from teaching her graduate class in health administration to the Weber Center in downtown Ogden, where she watched the results with her campaign team, family members and other supporters and fellow Republicans from the county.

Millner had an early lead from the beginning and never lost it through the night.

WSU political science major Stuart Call worked on the Millner campaign. He said it was a great experience and he saw a different side of Millner than when she was president of WSU.

“She’s an academic,” Call said. “She’s going to really think things through.”

Millner said she’s looking forward to being in the Senate and learning how to be  a player in the government. She said she has lobbied the State Legislature before, but is looking forward to learning the process from the Senate standpoint.

However, she said her experience at WSU brings an advantage to the Senate. She said it’s too early for her to have any plans as far as bills she would introduce or support.

“I’ve worked for Weber State for 33 years,” Millner said. “I know the people of Davis, Weber and Morgan County. I know their needs; I know the players.”

The next State Legislature session begins in January.