A Utah County Republican announced that he is running in 2022 for the U.S. Senate seat currently filled by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and criticized “the divisive, win-at-all-cost, leadership and teamwork crisis in Washington, which attacks our principles and destroys our unity.”

Brendan Wright, a Lehi resident and area planning manager for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, announced his run for federal office on Saturday in a press release and on Facebook, writing that “the riots in Utah and Washington, D.C. signal a massive and urgent threat to our homes, our country, our freedom, and our peace.”

“It really just increasingly built on me that I was hoping we were going to see the leadership we need, and I just didn’t feel like I was seeing that,” Wright said in an interview Monday. “We were hearing a lot of great things in the news and from leaders, calls for teamwork, civility, respect, working together, unity, and I just felt like I needed to step up and help share that message.”

While he doesn’t plan to file for candidacy for another year, Wright, who noted that his campaign and message are not connected to or endorsed by his employer, said he wanted to start reaching out to voters early.

“So one reason I’m starting is because I know it will take some more time to get the word out and get that going,” Wright said.

Wright’s campaign platform states that he wants to “manage our finances” and “wisely plan and work to become debt free as a country” and “double the productivity and simplicity of our federal government,” as well as to “preserve and protect our environment” while also “promot(ing) and grow(ing) our industries.”

Additionally, Wright said he wants to “work with our friends here and abroad to develop and implement improvements AND defeat enemies by seeking to become friends, and by protecting our country and friends.”

Wright also said he would advocate for improving services for children with special needs “as well as just overall support for families and mental health.”

The Utah County Republican said he is “running for, not against” and said he has “respect (for) our incumbent senators … and all candidates from any party.”

“I really appreciate Senator Lee and his emphasis on the Constitution and promoting and following that, in particular the work he’s done over the past dozen years,” he said. “So I don’t have anything bad to say about Senator Lee at all. I just feel that this emphasis on teamwork and leadership and action in those areas are really what we need now.”

Wright, who pledged to be a “two-term senator,” said U.S. laws “should reflect the collective goodwill of the people, not force partisan decisions upon us.”

“So, a critical part of my role as a U.S. Senator is to teach good principles with which we collectively agree, and only then to pass supportive legislation,” he wrote in the press release. “Let’s be willing to make an honest stand for what’s right, and be equally willing to use all we have in common to resolve our relatively few differences.”

Wright grew up in Provo and attended Brigham Young University and Timpview High School.

Lee, who has served two terms, has already started campaigning for the 2022 race and said he is a “TOP TARGET” of The Lincoln Project, a political action committee formed by Republicans in 2019 to oppose the re-election of then-President Donald Trump.

In a February email, Lee urged supporters to “consider chipping in $5 or $10 to help me protect our conservative values and REJECT Democrats’ blue wave in red states,” as reported by The Salt Lake Tribune.

Connor Richards covers government, the environment and south Utah County for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at crichards@heraldextra.com and 801-344-2599.

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