State Legislators of the Month, February 2023: Utah Sen. Kirk Cullimore and Utah Rep. Candice Pierucci
For February, it is our pleasure to award Utah Representative Candice Pierucci and Utah Senator Kirk Cullimore as our State Legislators of the Month. These exceptional leaders helped deliver education opportunity for all Utah children and have been champions of ALEC. These lawmakers have demonstrated a strong commitment to serving their constituents and worked tirelessly to create a positive change in their state.
The State Legislator of the Month award highlights substantive state policy success and acknowledges those who care about the principles at ALEC’s core – limited government, federalism, and individual liberty.
Together, their efforts made history by garnering the support needed for final passage of HB 215: Funding for Teacher Salaries and Optional Education Opportunities. Representative Pierucci sponsored this bill and introduced it on the House floor, and Assistant Majority Whip Senator Cullimore co-sponsored it in the Senate.
The bill closely follows one of ALEC’s Essential Policy Solutions for 2023 by empowering parents with more options for their children’s educational experience and creating the Utah Fits All Scholarship Program. Utah now joins West Virginia, Arizona, and Iowa as the fourth state with universal education savings accounts (ESAs) for its students – a growing policy trend among state lawmakers that creates more expansive and inclusive educational opportunities for families.
Representative Pierucci breaks down the bill on her website and discusses how supporting teachers as the frontline of education, and supporting students, who should be the absolute focus of Utah’s efforts in education, do not have to be mutually exclusive.
Representative Candice Pierucci grew up in House District 49, where she currently lives with her family. At the time of her appointment in 2019, she was the youngest member of the Utah Legislature. Pierucci believes in the “principles of conservatism, free markets, and the power of the community.”
Pierucci serves as the Chair of the Education Committee and also serves on Transportation, Government Operations, and Public Education Appropriations.
She has served as Director of Community Relations for Congressman Chris Stewart and as development director for a conservative think tank focused on faith, family, and free markets. Pierucci earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science with an emphasis in American Government from Utah Valley University and a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Utah.
Senator Kirk Cullimore, elected to the Utah State Senate in 2018, represents the people in District 19. His professional experience includes working as an attorney. Before his career in Utah, Cullimore served on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Philippines. After returning to the U.S., he taught music for six years. Cullimore began his law career in Oklahoma, primarily in Federal Indian Law and around general business. Upon returning home to Utah, he continued to practice law, focusing on property management, fair housing, collections, and real property.
He earned an associate degree from Utah Valley University, a Bachelor of Arts from Brigham Young University, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Oklahoma College of Law.
The committees that Sen. Cullimore serves on includes Executive Appropriations; Criminal Justice; Infrastructure and General Government Appropriations; Legislative Management; Labor; Judiciary; Revenue and Taxation; Rules; and Transportation, Public Utilities, Energy, and Technology.
Cullimore continues volunteering his time to music and education in the community, one of his passions reflected in his work as a legislator.
On behalf of ALEC, we are honored to work with Representative Candice Pierucci and Senator Kirk Cullimore and applaud them for their commitment to public service and their unwavering desire to create a better future for teachers, students, and parents across the state.
Congratulations, Representative Candice Pierucci and Senator Kirk Cullimore, on being State Legislators of the Month for February!