Sean Reyes is attorney general in Utah. He was appointed on December 30, 2013, by Governor Gary R. Herbert. He was elected to a full term in November 2016. He took office at a time when public trust of the attorney general’s office was low due to accusations of wrongdoing and abuse of power toward two of his predecessors. One of his first steps was to require resignations of all leadership in the office and to ask them to reapply. He then evaluated those applications before hiring and promoting individuals. He also interviewed the janitors and told them they were part of the team.
Reyes was named one of the Republican party’s four rising stars in 2015. In San Diego where he accepted the award, he was interviewed by political reporter Mark Halperin. Reyes was asked if he could rap and Reyes responded with a rap, a Maori war dance, and an Elvis impression. That interview went viral.
Reyes, with a Hispanic and Polynesian heritage, is the first ethnic minority in Utah history to hold a statewide office. (His father’s heritage is half Filipino and half Spanish; his mother’s is half Hawaiian and half Japanese.) He was born and raised in a ghetto near the Los Angeles Forum. His parents expected their children to earn good grades and work for something better. He shared the valedictorian title when he graduated from high school and graduated summa cum laude from Brigham Young University. He earned his law degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and was hired by Utah’s firm Parsons, Behle & Latimer. He was the first recipient of the National Outstanding Young Lawyer Award. He then worked as general counsel for a Utah media and technology company. A nine-time consecutive honoree on Utah Business Magazine’s Legal Elite List, Reyes has also been highlighted as a Mountain States Super Lawyer and Top 50 Most Influential Asian Professional in America.
When he was complaining to his wife about what was happening in the state’s attorney general office, she told him to do something about it. Other political observers urged him to run, so in 2012 he did; but lost. When the attorney general resigned due to charges of corruption, Reyes was appointed. He is known for his tireless work ethic. He commonly works in the field with his investigators. He generated much publicity when in 2014 he participated in a covert operation in Colombia for Operation Underground Railroad.
In January 2017, the Salt Lake Tribune reported speculation that Reyes was being considered to head the Federal Trade Commission in the Trump administration.
Reyes and his wife, Saysha, are the parents of six children. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.