Pres. Obama to visit Utah for ‘economy event’ Friday

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SALT LAKE CITY -- President Barack Obama will visit Utah, marking his first official visit to the state.

The White House announced on Monday that he will visit Hill Air Force Base for a brief appearance Friday at an event on the economy. Specific details about the visit were not disclosed.

News of the president's visit took Utah Democratic Party Chairman Peter Corroon by surprise; he said he was informed of it early Monday morning in a phone call from the Democratic National Committee. The last time Obama visited Utah was in 2007 -- when he was a candidate.

"We don't know a lot about the visit, but we do know that he is going to talk about the economy," Corroon said.

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker was not so surprised. As a member of the White House Climate Change Task Force and the head of the League of Cities, Becker has visited the White House numerous times and met with the president. He said he  has personally invited President Obama to Salt Lake City.

When asked what the president would be speaking about, Becker said it was the White House's to disclose -- but then he trumpeted Salt Lake City's success in dealing with veterans' homelessness.

"They're very interested in some of the exciting things we've been doing," Becker told FOX 13. "The work we've done around veterans homelessness, the work we've done around energy."

Governor Gary Herbert said he planned to greet President Obama at Hill Air Force Base on Friday. He told reporters he hoped to find time to "bend his ear" about some big issues facing the state.

"Some of the health care issues we've debated here," the governor said. "The public lands issues, the issues we need to have with permitting our natural resources, energy development on public lands, our national parks, endangered species."

With the Utah visit, President Obama will have visited 49 of the 50 states while in office. The only state he has yet to visit would be South Dakota.

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