Dan Liljenquist

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Dan Liljenquist
Dan Liljenquist.jpg
Member of the Utah Senate
from the 23rd district
In office
Preceded by Dan Eastman
Succeeded by Todd Weiler
Personal details
Born (1974-07-10) July 10, 1974 (age 43)
Nashville, Tennessee
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Brooke
Children 6
Residence Bountiful, Utah
Alma mater Brigham Young University
University of Chicago
Occupation Businessman & Attorney
Website Personal website

Daniel R. Liljenquist (born July 10, 1974) is an American businessman and former politician. He was a Republican member of the Utah State Senate representing the state's 23rd senate district in Davis County from January 2009 to December 2011. He resigned to run in the 2012 election for U.S. Senate against 36-year-incumbent United States Senator Orrin Hatch.[1] Liljenquist was defeated by Hatch in the primary election. He currently consults on pension reform and healthcare. He serves on the boards of the Lucy Burns Institute, which publishes Ballotpedia, and the Utah Debate Commission.

Early life, education, and legal career[edit]

Born in Nashville to Dr. John E. Liljenquist and Colleen Redford Liljenquist, he spent most of his childhood in Idaho Falls. After a football injury sidelined him as a high school junior, his attention turned to politics. He served as the student body president of his senior class at Skyline High School in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

He attended Brigham Young University (BYU) on a one-year renewable scholarship with a minimum 3.9 GPA required. Liljenquist was able to renew his scholarship annually and in 1998, graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. After graduation, he attended the University of Chicago Law School graduating with a Juris Doctor in 2001.

Liljenquist spent the summer between his first and second years of law school interning for the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship. He provided pro bono legal assistance as well as business consulting aimed at helping fledgling businesses get off the ground.[2]

Between his second and third year, he interned for Kirkland & Ellis where Ken Starr was the lead counsel. Before starting his final year of law school, he interviewed with Bain & Company, where he was offered a job.

Business career[edit]

After joining Bain, he moved with his wife Brooke to Dallas, Texas where he worked for the global management consulting firm as a strategy consultant from 2001 to 2003.

In 2003, he joined Affiliated Computer Services, a Fortune 500 Business Process Outsourcing leader. He served as Director of Operational Strategy for Commercial Solutions Group, working out of their Sandy, Utah office.

In 2006, he joined FOCUS Services, LLC and served as its president and chief operating officer until January 2011. A privately owned call center founded in 1995 with two employees, it now has just under 1,500 employees working in seven facilities around the world. He sold his interests in the company in January 2011.

In 2011, he began consulting with the Laura and John Arnold Foundation on pension reform.

In 2012, he founded Liljenquist Strategies, focused on public sector pension and benefits reforms, working with Pew Charitable Trusts' Center on the States and Action Now Initiative. Additionally, he joined Intermountain Healthcare as their Director of Special Projects, Shared Accountability Organization. He also joined the Deseret News as a weekly columnist.

He serves on the boards of the Lucy Burns Institute, which publishes Ballotpedia and the Utah Debate Commission.

Utah State Senate[edit]

2008 election[edit]

In 2008, incumbent Senator Dan Eastman did not file for re-election. Eight Davis county Republicans filed to take his place. At the 2008 Davis county Republican convention, Liljenquist received 55% of the delegate vote.[3] In the ensuing primary with Ron Mortensen, Liljenquist won 64% of the vote to Mortensen's 36%.[4]

In the November general election, he received 70.40% of the vote to Democrat Richard Watson's 26.2% and Constitution Party candidate Jorgina Hancock's 3.3%.


In his freshman year in the Utah Senate, Liljenquist sponsored SB 126: State Personnel Management Act Amendments that put performance over length of service when considering rehiring public employees, effectively eliminating tenure.

In 2010, Liljenquist addressed pension reform with SB 63, moving Utah to a defined contribution state maxing out at 10%. Spurred by a 30% loss to the state retirement fund in 2008, Liljenquist focused on changing the system for new hires entering after July 1, 2011, moving away from a defined benefit program to a defined contribution plan. He also successfully sponsored a companion bill, SB 43 that did away with the so-called practice of "double-dipping."[5] His bill also eliminated pensions for state legislators.

In 2011, Liljenquist was the sponsor of Utah's Medicaid reform. SB 180, which passed unanimously, proposed block granting Medicaid funds to Utah, switching from a fee-for-service model to a managed care system, and making Utah the first state in the nation to cap Medicaid growth. The reforms were estimated to save $2.5 billion on total funds in the first seven years of its implementation.[6]

Governing Magazine named him a 2011 "Public Official of the Year" for his work on both pension and Medicaid reform.[7][8][9] FreedomWorks named him their "Legislative Entrepreneur of the Year" in November 2011.[10]

Some key votes include:

HB 345 (Yea): Prohibits members of the legislature, governors, lieutenant governors, state auditors, state treasurers, and attorneys general from engaging in lobbying for one calendar year after leaving office unless they are lobbying on behalf of themselves or businesses with which they are affiliated

HB 12 (Yea): Vote to pass a bill that classifies an "intentional, knowing, or reckless act" committed by a woman that terminates her pregnancy as criminal homicide.

HB 219 (Yea): Vote to pass a bill that establishes the John M. Browning designed M1911 automatic pistol as the state firearm of Utah

HB 477 (Yea): Controversial Bill amended state Government Records Access and Management Act to exempt legislators' instant messages, voice mails, video chats, and text messages from public access.

HB 1001 (Yea): Requires the state to repeal HB 477, which restricted access to certain information under the Government Records Access and Management Act.

HB 497 (Yea): Vote to pass a bill that authorizes law enforcement officers to verify the immigration status of individuals while conducting any lawful stop, detention or arrest.Authorizes law enforcement officers to verify the immigration status of individuals while conducting any lawful stop, detention or arrest (Sec. 3).-Specifies that an individual is presumed to be lawfully present in the United States if he or she is able to present one of the following documents (Sec. 4): -A valid Utah driver license issued on or after January 1, 2010; -A valid Utah ID card issued on or after January 1, 2010; -A valid tribal enrollment card; or -Any valid identification document that contains a photo of the bearer and is issued by a federal, state, or local government agency.

SB 53 (Yea): Vote to pass a bill that prohibits judges from awarding attorney fees to plaintiffs in successful public interest lawsuits filed against the state government after May 12, 2009.

SB 208 (Yea): Vote to concur with House amendments and pass a bill that requires state public notices to be posted in a newspaper and on a website established collectively by Utah's newspapers beginning January 1, 2010, and requires first and second class counties to publish notices on the same website beginning January 1, 2012.[11]

Committee assignments[edit]


  • Retirement and Independent Entities Appropriations Subcommittee (Chair)
  • Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee


  • Senate Business and Labor Committee
  • Senate Ethics Committee
  • Senate Retirement and Independent Entities Committee (Chair)
  • Senate Rules Committee


  • Business and Labor Interim Committee
  • Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Interim Committee
  • Retirement and Independent Entities Interim Committee (Co Chair)
  • Senate Health and Human Services Confirmation Committee
  • Senate Retirement and Independent Entities Confirmation Committee (Chair)

2012 U.S. Senate election[edit]

On December 15, 2011, Liljenquist resigned from the Utah State Senate. On January 4, 2012, during an interview with Doug Wright on KSL 1160, Liljenquist announced his intention to challenge longtime incumbent U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch for U.S. Senate.[citation needed] With ten Republican candidates in the race through the state convention, Liljenquist got 40.8% of the delegate vote, forcing Hatch into his first primary since 1976. Hatch spent $10.5 million in the primary. In the June 2012 primary election, Liljenquist lost to Hatch, receiving 33.5% of the vote to Hatch's 66.5%.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Liljenquist is married and has six children. In June 2008, Liljenquist was traveling in Guatemala with CHOICE Humanitarian when his plane crashed in a field. Eleven of the fourteen people aboard the aircraft died. Liljenquist broke his right leg and left ankle in multiple places.