West-side advocate Sen. Karen Mayne resigns her senate seatFeb 06, 2023 02:02PM ● By Peri Kinder
Karen Mayne was named to the ChamberWest Hall of Fame in 2016. (File photo City Journals)
When people describe Utah State Sen. Karen Mayne, they always use one word: champion. Since assuming office on Jan. 2, 2008, Mayne has been a formidable advocate for residents on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley.
In early January, Mayne submitted her letter of resignation to the Utah Senate, citing health concerns. Although she just won reelection in November, the democrat and minority whip doesn’t want her illness to affect the representation of her constituents.
“After much prayer, personal consideration, and deliberation with my family,” Mayne wrote, “I have made the difficult decision to resign my position as senator for Utah Senate District 12. Since the election in November of 2022, my health has taken an unexpected turn, and the constituents of District 12 deserve full-time representation at the beginning of the legislative session.”
A lifelong resident of West Valley City, Mayne started her political career after her husband’s death in 2007. Starting in 1994, Sen. Ed Mayne was elected to the state senate four times and served as president of the Utah AFL-CIO. Mayne was appointed to her husband’s senate seat in January 2008 and won her re-election bid later that same year.
In a news release, Senate President J. Stuart Adams said Mayne has been a champion for her district and a force for bipartisan camaraderie.
“Throughout her 15 years in the legislature, she has passionately advocated for impactful change, including workforce safety, economic opportunity and family support,” Adams said. “Sen. Mayne’s list of accomplishments on behalf of her constituents and state is long and revered. She is one of the most effective legislators and consistently passes the most bills during sessions. This is a testament to her tenacity, hard work and resilience. Utah has been blessed because of her service.”
Mayne served on the Senate Transportation Committee, supporting legislation to improve traffic on the west side. She fought against a toll on Mountain View Corridor and worked to improve intersections on Bangerter Highway.
Before serving as senator, Mayne was a paraeducator in the Granite School District. Her vision to provide additional funding and manageable class sizes was a priority during her time in the legislature.
As a proponent for health care and worker safety, Mayne led the effort to require drug and alcohol testing for state construction contracts. She served on numerous committees, task forces and commissions in her efforts to help residents in her area and across the state.
“Sen. Mayne is the epitome of what true public service and representation is all about,” said Senate Minority Leader Sen. Luz Escamilla. “Her dedication to her district and to the people of Utah has been thoughtful, genuine, and kind-hearted every step of the way. She has consistently championed legislation to support the health, well-being, and security of working families throughout the state of Utah. Her extensive legacy is a guiding light for public policy to embrace more compassion, more care, and more attention to the people of Utah.”
Aimee Winder Newton serves on the Salt Lake County Council, representing Taylorsville, Murray, West Jordan and West Valley City. She said Mayne has been a pillar in the community and her resignation will be a huge loss for the west side.
“She truly was a champion for people who needed a champion and maybe didn’t have a loud voice,” Newton said. “She was a champion for west-side residents overall and for her district. It’s so sad to me to see her suffering and her health declining but we are so grateful for all the years of service both she and Ed have given to the residents of Salt Lake County.”
In her resignation letter, Mayne thanked her constituents and colleagues for their support and expressed gratitude for the opportunities she’s had to collaborate with those in public service.
“I am proud and privileged to have been able to create meaningful change in many areas of public policy including worker safety, family support, Utah Women In Trades, and economic opportunity for all people,” she said. “It has truly been an honor to serve.”
Mayne’s resignation went into effect on Jan. 16. A replacement will be appointed by democratic delegates to fill Mayne’s remaining term. Senate democrats will select a new minority whip.
“While we are heartbroken about her resignation, we are rallying behind Sen. Mayne,” Escamilla said. “We look forward to her community-minded efforts continuing to have an impact throughout the state.”