SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Agriculture and Food Commissioner Kerry Gibson has resigned to run for congress.
Gibson, a farmer, resigned from Governor Gary Herbert’s cabinet on Tuesday morning to pursue a bid for Utah’s First Congressional district, replacing retiring Rep. Rob Bishop. He has served nine months on the job.
“Agriculture is crucial to our society and me individually and because of that I’ve loved my current post. And I thank the governor that opportunity to serve here,” Gibson said in an interview with FOX 13. “But I think that there comes a time when you have to determine where you can be the most good. And in this particular case, my family and I have discussed it, prayed over it where we can do the most good for this community.”
Gibson believes that will be in the First Congressional District. He touted his experience as a former Weber County Commissioner and state representative, as well as a member of the governor’s cabinet. He said agriculture would be an issue for him in the campaign, as well as economic development, protecting Hill Air Force Base and the national debt.
“We need to have common sense. We do need to work together across the aisle, while never giving up the principles and values that we believe in and I’ll fight for those values,” he told FOX 13.
Under his term as state agriculture commissioner, Gibson oversaw the awarding of licenses for Utah’s medical cannabis program. He also emphasized buying local food.
Gibson is entering a growing field for the district that represents a large part of northern Utah. His opponents for the Republican nomination include Katie Witt, Tina Cannon, Mark Shepherd, Bob Stevenson, Howard Wallack and Taylor Lee.
Kelly Pehrson was named the interim manager of the department, according to Gov. Gary Herbert. Pehrson most recently served as the UDAF deputy director.
“I’m grateful to Commissioner Gibson for his service to the state, and I respect his decision to run for office,” Herbert said. “I’m also thankful to Kelly Pehrson for stepping into this role so that operations at the Department of Agriculture and Food can continue uninterrupted.”