Margaret Dayton

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Margaret Dayton
Member of the Utah Senate
from the 15th district
Chair of the Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee
In office
15 January 2007 – June 2018
Preceded byParley G. Hellewell
Succeeded byKeith Grover
Member of the Utah House of Representatives
from the 61st district
In office
3 August 1996 – 14 January 2007
Preceded byLee Ellertson [1]
Succeeded byKeith Grover
Personal details
Born (1949-05-17) May 17, 1949 (age 70)
Spokane, Washington, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
ResidenceOrem, Utah
EducationBrigham Young University (BS)
WebsiteLegislative website

Margaret Dayton (born 1949) is an American politician from Utah. A member of the Republican Party, she served longer in the Utah Legislature than any other woman in Utah history. After serving a decade in the Utah House of Representatives, she unseated an incumbent senator in 2006 and served in that position until June of 2018, when she resigned for medical reasons.[2]

She represented the 15th Senate District which includes parts of Provo, Orem, Vineyard, Lindon and Pleasant Grove.

Personal life, education, and career[edit]

Growing up in a military family, Dayton attended schools in five states. She graduated from Merced High School (California) and earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Brigham Young University. Dayton worked for several years as a registered nurse.[3] In 1977, she married Lynn T. Dayton, a physician.[3] Shortly after her marriage, Dayton chose to put aside her career as a nurse to become a full-time stay at home mother.[3] The Daytons have five children.[4]

She is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[3]

Political career[edit]

In 1996, Dayton was appointed by Utah governor Mike Leavitt to fill out the remaining four months of the term of Rep. Lee Ellertson in Utah House District 61, a seat for which she was already running.[5][6] She defeated Independent American Party candidate Gordon Norman with 90% of the vote in the election to retain the seat.[7]

In 2006, Dayton ousted Republican incumbent Parley G. Hellewell to win the Republican nomination for the Utah Senate, and handily defeated Democrat Bethanie Newby in the November 2006 general election.[8] Dayton won re-election in 2014 with over 80% of the vote against her Democratic challenger.[9]

Dayton served in Senate leadership, and on the following committees:[10]

  • Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee
  • Retirement and Independent Entities Appropriations Subcommittee
  • Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee
  • Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee – Chair
  • Water Development Commission - Senate Chair

Dayton has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Utah System of Higher Education, is a recipient of the Friend of Taxpayer Award and is included annually in Top Business Friendly Legislators.[11]

In 2017, Dayton announced that she would run to fill the vacancy caused by Jason Chaffetz resigning from Congress.[12]


2014 Utah State Senate election District 15[9]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Margaret Dayton 11,290 81.6%
Democratic Emmanuel Kepas 2,548 18.4%


2016 sponsored bills[edit]

Bill Number and Title Bill Status
S.B. 23 Water Law Protected Purchaser Amendments Governor Signed 3/17/2016
S.B. 25 Ballot Amendments Governor Signed 3/18/2016
S.B. 26 Election Notice Amendments Governor Signed 3/17/2016
S.B. 27 Absentee Ballot Amendments Governor Signed 3/17/2016
S.B. 44 Construction Code Amendments Governor Signed 3/25/2016
S.B. 62 JROTC Instructor Amendments Governor Signed 3/17/2016
S.B. 72 School and International Trust Lands Management Act Amendments Governor Signed 3/29/2016
S.B. 75 Water Rights Adjudication Amendments Governor Signed 3/18/2016
S.B. 172 Utah State Developmental Center Amendments Governor Signed 3/25/2016
S.B. 175 Fair Housing Act Option Amendments Senate/Filed for bills not passed 3/10/2016
S.B. 227 Private Security Licensing Board Amendments Senate filed 3/10/2016
S.J.R. 6 Joint Resolution Recognizing The 100th Anniversary of The JROTC Program Senate/To Lieutenant Governor 3/15/2016


Notable legislation[edit]

In 2013, Dayton sponsored a bill that would require Utah to collect data on women who undergo abortions, including their race and their reason for doing so. Dayton, who is known for her opposition to legal abortion, wants to restrict the pathway to abortion in Utah.[14][14] The Governor signed the bill on 22 March 2013.[15] In 2016, Dayton questioned whether the state should be providing housing to the homeless through House Bill 346, asking if the "bill is based on the assumption that housing is a right the government is obligated to provide? Is that why we are providing tax payer money for that?" Dayton voted against the bill; however, it still passed both chambers and was signed by the Governor on March 25, 2016.[16]

Boards, affiliations, and awards[edit]

  • Utah Valley University Executive Advisory Board
  • College of Eastern Utah Board of Trustees
  • Honorary Doctorate from USHE
  • Utah Medical Association Alliance
  • Utah Hospital Association Annual Recipient
  • Guardian of Small Business Award
  • Defender of Free Enterprise Awards
  • Friend of Taxpayer Award, Utah Taxpayers Association
  • Member of the National Rifle Association
  • Cub Scout Leader
  • President, PTA
  • Member of the National Rifle Association
  • Defender of Free Enterprise
  • Teddy Roosevelt Award from Sportsman for Fish and Wildlife


  1. ^ "GOP HOUSE CANDIDATE TO FINISH DISTRICT 61 TERM". Deseret News. Retrieved 2017-05-24.
  2. ^ "State Sen. Margaret Dayton resigns for medical reasons, won't seek re-election," The Salt Lake Tribune, March 29, 2018
  3. ^ a b c d "Margaret Dayton Bio". Margaret Dayton Website. Retrieved April 11, 2014.
  4. ^ "Margaret Dayton Bio". Margaret Dayton Website. Retrieved April 11, 2014.
  5. ^ (3 August 1996). GOP HOUSE CANDIDATE TO FINISH DISTRICT 61 TERM, Deseret News
  6. ^ (4 August 1996). Leavitt Appoints Orem Woman To Fill Vacant Utah House Seat, Salt Lake Tribune
  7. ^ (6 November 1996). Republicans Make A Clean Sweep Of Utah Valley's House Seats, Deseret News
  8. ^ Choate-Nielsen, Amy (8 November 2006). Republicans win in Utah County, Deseret News
  9. ^ a b "Margaret Dayton - Ballotpedia". Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  10. ^ "District 15 Senator - Utah State Senate". Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  11. ^ "Dayton, Margaret". Salt Lake City, Utah: Utah State Senate. Retrieved April 11, 2014.
  12. ^ Golden, Hallie; Price, Michelle (May 19, 2017). "Packed field of Utah candidates vie for Chaffetz seat". SF Gate. Associated Press. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  13. ^ "2016 -- Legislation(Senate)". Retrieved 2016-03-31.
  14. ^ a b Peg McEntee. "Margaret Dayton's drive against abortion drags on". Salt Lake City, Utah: The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved April 11, 2014.
  15. ^ "S.B. 60 Abortion Statistics and Reporting Requirements". Salt Lake City, Utah: Utah State Senate. Retrieved April 11, 2014.
  16. ^ "Lawmakers OK bill aimed at solving Utah's homeless problem". Retrieved 2016-03-31.