Widow of Congressman Running for Utah Legislature
Jacquelyn Orton says her late husband — former Democratic U.S. Rep. Bill Orton — likely would shake his head in disbelief that she's finally running for office, after turning down encouragement from him and others to do so for years.
She announced Wednesday that she is running for state House District 24, which covers part of downtown Salt Lake City, Capitol Hill and the Avenues, to replace Democratic Rep. Rebecca Chavez Houck, who is not seeking re-election next year.
"The time is right," Orton said, saying she wanted to wait until her two sons were grown before attempting a run. Her son Will is 22 and just graduated from Brown University, and her son Wesley is 20, in his second year at the University of Virginia.
Orton, who is becoming a real estate agent and has operated a business advising youths on how to apply for college, said she was asked by Democrats several times to run for the Legislature, the City Council or even governor.
"Bill always encouraged me to think about it, and I said, 'Bill are you serious?' " Orton said. But with more recent prods, she decided to try now. "I have time that I can spend devoted to the people. … It's a new adventure. We're going to have fun."