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Salt Lake City, Utah - Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. has announced a change in leadership in his office. Chief of Staff Jason Chaffetz will be leaving in early November to pursue opportunities in the private sector. "Jason is a friend and has worked hard over the past two years on my campaign as campaign manager and through the transition into office," said Governor Huntsman. "We wish him well and support him as he begins this next pursuit in his life."


"It has been an honor to serve Governor Huntsman, and I am pleased with what I have been able to contribute to the Huntsman Administration," said Chaffetz. "I will forever cherish the opportunities I've had to participate in this administration."


Governor Huntsman also announced that Dr. Neil Ashdown will assume the position of Chief of Staff upon Chaffetz's departure. Ashdown is currently the Deputy Chief of Staff. "Neil's expertise in policy expertise and years of state government experience abundantly qualify him for the position. I am confident in his abilities and grateful for his service," said Governor Huntsman.


Ashdown served as the Deputy Director of the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget and as the Chief Economist to Governors Walker and Leavitt prior to his role in the Huntsman Administration. Ashdown is the past President of the Wasatch Front Economic Forum, the Utah chapter of the National Association for Business Economics, and is an adjunct associate professor in the Master of Public Administration program at the University of Utah.


"My goal is to assist Governor Huntsman in moving his policy agenda forward, including K-16 education, economic development, tax reform, governance, quality of life and other issues that are important to the governor," said Ashdown.


Ashdown received his Ph.D. in political science with a focus in international political economy, U.S. banking and economic policy, and public policy and administration from the Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the State University of New York in Albany. He received a Master's degree in public administration and a Bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Utah.


The changes become official in early November 2005.


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