Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes’ Statement on Decision to Not Seek Re-election in 2024


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Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes’ Statement on Decision to Not Seek Re-election in 2024

SALT LAKE CITY--()--Today, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes released a statement of his accomplishments as Utah Attorney General over three terms since 2014, and his decision not to run for re-election in 2024. The complete transcript of his statement follows and can be watched HERE.

Office Accomplishments Over Past Decade [0:03]

Hello. I’m Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes and for 10 years I have stood watch over this State: Defending our laws, lives and liberties; protecting our teens from street drugs, vaping, sextortion and suicide; fighting for our communities against predators, human traffickers and abusers; attacking financial frauds and scams that destroy innocent Utahns every year and standing up to the federal government over vaccine mandates, ESG, open borders or attempts to take more control over our lands, schools families or freedoms. Serving in this job hasn’t been easy, working long days and many nights, traveling up and down the state, flying sometimes to D.C. or other states to lead national coalitions and bring back wins and resources for Utah. But, I love it. And, I love Utah. After 10 years in office, Utah is safer and stronger than ever. Violent crime is down. Convictions are up. I work with amazing professionals in the AG’s Office. We work our hearts out. We win in court. We stand up to threats so you can sleep securely at night. That’s why I have been endorsed over several re-elections by hundreds of Utah leaders — from sheriffs and commissioners to CEOs and small business owners. Because when they call, I’m there. I show up! When problems arise, I solve them.

The Critical Issues Addressed & Problems Solved [1:31]

When insulin makers gouge patients, I sue them. When Gold Star families, immigrants or refugees are ignored, I stand with them. When prescription opioids were at their peak, I created a state task force with the DEA, sued the perpetrators, brought hundreds of millions of dollars to Utah for prevention and recovery, and helped lower our death rate. We then put away Utah’s most notorious dark web drug dealer for a life sentence. When Utah child abuse cases increased, especially during COVID, my team expanded the safety net of Children’s Justice Centers statewide. When youth suicide and drug deaths were ravaging Utah in 2014, I helped create the SafeUT app to save thousands of young lives and prevent school violence. I was privileged to work closely with Congress and the President to establish the nationally “988” Mental Health Hotline.

Like 911, it will save countless American lives. I created the “At Ease” Program to give Utah veterans free legal services through private firms with no cost to taxpayers. I’ve brought tech solutions to law enforcement like Child ID to help locate missing kids. Virtual training for police to de-escalate violence. And Rapid DNA to solve crimes faster including murders and rapes. In many cities across America, there is a Tidal Wave of lawlessness, theft and online fraud. With legislative partners, I have led Utah’s resistance, creating the first statewide Economic Crimes Task Force in America, the first registry of convicted fraudsters and other tools. Now, Utah is a national leader in dismantling white collar crime. When Utah companies want to innovate, I have supported sandboxes for Blockchain, AI, and other tech. When Government wants to regulate more, I fight for less. As our youth fall deeper down the rabbit hole of social media, Governor Cox and I have teamed up to sue companies that put massive profits over the wellbeing of our kids. I haven’t shied away from big fights—suing giants like Google, Apple, Meta, Tik Tok and others and that’s just in the tech space alone.

Making Utah Global Leader in Fight Against Human Trafficking [3:39]

When I became AG in 2013, Utah was failing in the human trafficking fight. But thanks to your help, and the support of the many legislative and other partners, Utah has become a national and global leader in the fight. We’ve passed stronger laws, expanded victim advocacy, and better empowered survivors. And we’ve prosecuted some of the most prominent cases in the country, including sex, labor, illicit massage and illegal adoption rings that land in Utah from around the world. Stopping modern slavery is not partisan. I’m a proud Republican but find ways to work with Democrat friends to get things done on these and other vital non-partisan issues.

Decision to Not Seek Re-election in 2024 [4:17]

For me and my family, leaving a successful business and legal career in 2013 to join government was not easy but it has been worth every sacrifice. As the son of an immigrant family from humble beginnings, and the first statewide elected minority in Utah history, I’m living proof of the American Dream. And, serving the people of Utah has truly been a dream and honor for me. That is why I have very mixed emotions, about my announcement today that I will not seek a fourth term in office. With the filing deadline in Utah just one month away, I wanted to clear: I will serve my current term as AG throughout 2024 but will not be running for re-election. I want to thank Governor Herbert for appointing me in 2013 and the legislative leaders and others with whom I’ve worked. And, I want to thank all of my supporters, donors, volunteers and friends for your confidence and encouragement over three successful re-elections. With your help, we have accomplished so much good for the State. I know many of you have asked me to run—pointing to my commanding poll numbers, incumbency, strong name recognition, committed fundraising dollars and Chairmanship of the Republican AGs nationally.

Trust me, I do believe I would win. But winning another election would keep me from even more important personal priorities. After much prayer and reflection, I know after one more year in office, it will be time to return to my family without an emergency case or crisis constantly pulling me away. It will be time to get back to clients and law partners. I have accomplished nearly everything I came to do as AG. So, I have time for more big cases to file in 2024 and I will work as hard as I always have to promote and protect Utah.

Committed to Working with Tim Ballard and O.U.R Survivors [6:01]

But, there is one more important issue I want to address that weighed into my decision. Recently, several of the women who brought civil sexual assault and other claims against Tim Ballard and OUR came forward publicly disclosing their identities. I thought it was brave as I knew they risked shaming and retaliation. I asked their counsel if I could meet with them. Over the course of multiple days, I sat with these women and one man all with their attorneys present. After hearing their stories in person, I believe them and I am heartbroken for what they have endured and the trauma they will face their entire lives. I apologized to each of them that my past friendship with Tim Ballard and strong association with OUR contributed to an environment that made them feel powerless and without a voice to fight back for many years. I cannot give them back those voiceless years. But, I intend on spending my last year in office working together with these survivors, and any others who come forward, so their voices are heard and they have access to resources and support. I will work to integrate them into a task force or create one, so they have a safe way to support survivors and prevent what happened to them from occurring to others. Separate from my own work with them, they have now contacted the Utah Attorney General’s Office or AGO to request a criminal investigation into their claims. I am now recused, meaning I will have no involvement. But, my office will conduct a statewide investigation of Tim Ballard, Operation Underground Railroad, the Spear Fund or others to determine what criminal conduct occurred, if any, relating to the complaints made. Now, the existence of an investigation is not, itself, a determination of guilt. Victim advocates and victim services will be made available to the complainants and any other potential victims that come forward. If you have relevant information or are a victim of a crime, I would encourage you to contact the AGO. Like in other cases where I or another member of my team is walled off, we won’t participate, but I am confident the AGO will investigate (as they always do) professionally, without bias and in a manner that is fair to all sides. Also, to clarify, I am not joining these survivors’ civil cases in any way.

They have their own lawyers, claims and all parties in those lawsuits should have their fair day in court. The most important thing is that I will be involved with empowerment of these survivors.

Seeking Justice as I Serve Out My Final Term in Office [8:35]

Standing up for victims is one of the reasons I became AG. Giving a voice to the vulnerable is what I’ve worked hard to do while in office. And seeking justice is what I will do until my last day in office and beyond. It’s been a privilege to serve as the Attorney General. Utah has grown and expanded during my tenure, leading the nation in so many ways. And the AGO has been crucial to that growth. I’ve been honored to lead the office during that period. In my mom’s native culture of Hawaii, Kamehemeha, the Chief who united the warring Islands, called out in his most famous battle “Imua e na poki’i, a inu ika vai ava ava”. Meaning come forward and let us taste of the bitter waters of battle. This he said to his male and female warriors as a call for unity and action in the face of challenging odds as he led them to victory. Utah faces its own challenges. But together, united as Utahns, we have many victories ahead of us. Thank you!

For more information about Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, visit www.seanreyes.com.