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Herbert taps GOED director for transition team

(Deseret News) -- Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert still doesn't know exactly when he'll take over as governor, but on Wednesday he appointed the state's top economic development official to head his transition team.

Jason Perry, executive director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development since 2006, will help Herbert put together the staff he'll need as governor as well as make the other preparations necessary for the transition.

Herbert can't move up until Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. resigns. Huntsman, named by President Barack Obama in mid-May as ambassador to China, still needs to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Huntsman is still being formally vetted by the Obama administration, so his confirmation hearing has not yet been scheduled.

Perry was praised by Herbert in a statement. "Jason brings with him leadership and policy expertise and his years of state government experience abundantly qualify him for this position."

Herbert said he's confident Perry "will help me lay the foundation for a very successful and progressive administration. Our goal will be to continue the forward momentum we began five years ago upon taking office."

The announcement fueled speculation among Capitol insiders that Perry would be tapped as Herbert's chief of staff. Huntsman had made economic development a centerpiece of his administration, leading several trade missions overseas in recent years, including to China. Original Article