Utah still operates under its first constitution, adopted in 1895 and effective with statehood in 1896. The executive branch is headed by a governor elected for a four-year term. Utah's legislature has a senate with 29 members and a house of representatives with 75 members. The state sends two senators and four representatives to the U.S. Congress and has six electoral votes. Michael O. Leavitt, a Republican elected governor in 1992, was reelected in 1996 and 2000. Leavitt resigned in 2003 to head the Environmental Protection Agency and was succeeded by Lt. Gov. Olene S. Walker, also a Republican, who became Utah's first woman governor. Republican Jon Huntsman was elected to the office in 2004 and reelected in 2008. Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, succeeded him in 2009 when Huntsman resigned to become ambassador to China; he was elected to the post in 2010 and reelected in 2012. State politics are solidly Republican.
Utah's leading institutions of higher learning include Brigham Young Univ., at Provo; Southern Utah Univ., at Cedar City; the Univ. of Utah, at Salt Lake City; Utah State Univ., at Logan; and Weber State Univ., at Ogden.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.