SALT LAKE CITY – Retired Major General Peter Cooke-D has decided to officially join Utah‘s gubernatorial race, and is planning to make a formal announcement Wednesday, February 29 at the Fort Douglas Military Museum. What made him decide to run in this republican dominated state? Republicans – Senate Majority Leader Scott Jenkins-R, Plain City in particular.
It all began when Senator Luz Robles-D, Salt Lake City introduced SB44, a bill that would continue education funding for veterans who did not finish school before their GI Bill benefits ran out. After an easy ride in committee, the bill ultimately failed in the Senate Friday with a 14-11 vote.
Jenkins argued “Guardsmen get lots and lots and lots of advantages and I’m just saying this is too much. This is too much to go one more time. Now you’re forcing me. Your bleeding heart is saying, `Okay Senator Jenkins, we want you now to pay for their taxes.’” Senator Margaret Dayton-R, Orem argued veterans would now “take their time” finishing school.
Cooke, 62, a two-star general who led Army Reserve operations for seven western states before his retirement is clearly incensed, wondering “Why any human being would say that?” Cooke had been seriously considering a run but Jenkins’ remarks seem to be enough to put him over the edge.
Cooke was on the staff of former US Senator Frank Moss-D and also ran for congress in 1978. He lost the primary to University of Utah Law Professor Ed Firmage. He was also director of economic development for Governor Scott Matheson-D.
Governor Gary Herbert-R, will complete his first shortened term following a special election last fall. Herbert stepped in for former governor and presidential-candidate Jon Huntsman, Jr.-R who left Utah’s top job to be the Obama Administration’s Ambassador to China.
Herbert already has considerable opposition from within his own party from state Representative Ken Sumsion-R, American Fork and former state representative and congressional candidate Morgan Philpot.
Business leader, former liquor board head and democratic senatorial candidate Sam Granato is also said to be considering a run for governor as is state Senator Karen Morgan-D, Cottonwood Heights.
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Source: FOX13 News, Salt Lake Tribune Utah Democratic Party, Facebook, Gary Herbert for Governor, Ken Sumsion for Governor, Morgan Philpot for Governor