POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Chris Stewart named chairman of the Utah Aerospace and Defense Association

Oct 3, 2023, 3:00 PM | Updated: Oct 9, 2023, 11:08 am

Congressman Chris Stewart named chairman of the Utah Aerospace and Defense Association...

Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, speaks during an interview discussing his proposed legislation to make it illegal for social media platforms to be accessed by those under the age of 16 at the Triad Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023. (Ryan Sun/Deseret News)

(Ryan Sun/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Former Rep. Chris Stewart, who stepped down on Sept. 15 from the House to spend more time with his family, has taken a new position as chairman of the Utah Aerospace and Defense Association.

The UADA serves as the first-ever convening body for aerospace and defense companies in the state of Utah. Working as a partner to the Governor’s Office, World Trade Center Utah, the Legislature, and other organizations in promoting and advocating for the aerospace and defense industry.

Stewart told KSL at Night this new role seems like a natural fit after his time in Congress and as a former pilot in the U.S. Air Force.

“When I made the decision to leave Congress, I really struggled with one thing, that was, what I would. Just look at my life, and the things I’ve learned, the experiences I’ve had. Being at the White House with the national security… the work we did in Congress, the work I did as a pilot in the Air Force,” Stewart said.

New role as chairman

According to Stewart, Utah’s role in the aerospace and defense industry is very important. “Utah is vital to this. We have this homegrown, very powerful, very broad base of industries… that the Department of Defense really needs.”

These companies provide thousands of jobs and bring billions of dollars to the state. They vary from one of the largest defense contractors in the country to younger companies with just five people.

In his new role, he wants to bring more awareness to the industry as well as make it grow. “We want to help the industry grow. We want this to be the next Silicon Slopes for Utah, and perhaps even more.”

Utah’s new partnership with Ukraine

Last month, the UADA signed a memorandum of understanding with Ukraine. The memorandum opens a partnership that will boost the local economy while offering support in the Russia-Ukraine War.

“This memorandum of understanding is an opportunity for us to say, over the course of our partnership, the Ministry for Strategic Industries is going to recognize and prioritize Utah companies wanting to do business within Ukraine,” Starks explained.

“And similarly, the Utah aerospace and defense industry recognizes this partnership and promises to prioritize the relationship and sell its technologies, products and services to Ukraine to win the war (and) begin rebuilding the country.”

According to Stewart, the aid we will give Ukraine will mostly be in weapons and ammunition, and the contracts are not directly signed with Ukraine. “I think the main purpose of this agreement was expressing the will and the desire to help the Ukrainian military.”

Some of the equipment manufactured in Utah includes armor, missiles, and smaller items like specialized grips.

You can listen to the full segment on the new partnership with Ukraine below.

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Chris Stewart named chairman of the Utah Aerospace and Defense Association