KUTV: How Thomas Wright's business experience would shape him as governor

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — Thomas Wright is now one of four Republicans on the June Primary ballot for Governor. With less than 60 days left to campaign, he sat down to talk about the current COVID-19 crisis and why he’s the right man for the job.

Watch my full interview with Wright, as heard on our Take 2 Podcast, below:

Wright who’s running with Congressman Rob Bishop as his pick for Lieutenant Governor came out of the GOP convention in 4th place, dozens of votes behind Aimee Winder Newton, Greg Hughes, and Spencer Cox. He like every other candidate was in it to win it but was pleased to leave with the votes of hundreds of delegates backing in his vision for the future of Utah.

If his name and face are familiar and you don’t know why, he’s been involved in politics for years, just never ran for public office. He served as head of the Utah Republican party from 2011-2013 and in 2017 he was chosen by his party as one of 8 national chairs of the Republican National Committee. He pays the bills as a real estate broker running 14 offices for Sotheby’s International Realty.

Wright started his business during the last recession growing from zero offices to 14. He’s now shut down all of those offices during the pandemic, saying:

These are tough economic times and I understand what small businesses are going through. I know what it is like to go to bed at night worried about making payroll or wondering if you can make your lease payments, I know what it’s like to have your volume take a hit. I have had to close all my offices during this pandemic. I can relate to small business owners and the challenges they are going through.”

That experience he says would help him as governor. His first task would be going through the state budget line by line looking for fraud, waste, and abuse. He says:

I’m good at it. I’ve spent the last 15 years staring at financial statements every day knowing the decisions I make affect the families of the people who work for me and my customers and clients, that is my skill set and what better time to elect a governor who has that skill set then now?”

“I’m not from government and have never held public elected office but I know how the system works.”

As for the men he’s running against? He calls them friends. “I like them I know them for a long time, and they have a lot of great ideas, but they have had 15 years in public office in the some of the highest-ranking seats in state government. Why didn’t they make those things happen while they had the chance?”

While Wright is new to running for office his running mate is not. Rob Bishop has served in Congress since 2003. Was Utah Speaker of the House, and a member of the Utah Legislature for decades.

Wright says he respects current leadership and the work they do and have done. But, he does say the Governor and Lt. Governor should answer more questions on the recent expenditure of $800,000 for hydroxychloroquine an unproven drug amid the coronavirus. The money has since been refunded, but he like many others running for Governor are asking who signed off on the purchase.

“I’d like to know how it happened, if the governor and Lt. Governor didn’t know- then who did know and who signed off on it? It should be made known not to embarrass the person who did it but so it will never happen again.”

Wright went on to say “when I’m Governor I will scrutinize purchases. The Buck will stop with me and I will always know the movement of that kind of money.”

Wright like every other Dad in the state is balancing new work from home hours, more family time and distance learning.

As he’s watched his kids doing homework from home, he’s seen a silver lining. Teachers at work doing what they do best. “These teachers are so amazing it just proves we don’t need to regulate teachers but deregulate and let them do what they do best.”

Tiffany Fox