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Utah: Utah lawmakers advance Sam Granato appointment

Utah: Utah lawmakers advance Sam Granato appointment
Source: The Salt Lake Tribune
By Dawn House
Published: June 15, 2011 10:08AM
The alcohol-control commissioner who defied lawmakers’ directives to close profitable liquor stores was unanimously recommended Wednesday to serve on the state Board of Business and Economic Development.
Liquor Commission Chairman Sam Granato’s pending appointment goes to a Senate vote.
Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Layton, a member of the Senate Confirmation Committee, said he sees no problem with Granato’s confirmation. The senator, who voted for closing liquor stores, said that “sometimes people disagree on policy. Sam Granato is a dedicated man and a good businessman.”
Granato, who owned Frank Granato Import Co. and was a U.S. Senate candidate on the Democratic ticket in November, said he will have more time for public service after selling his restaurant and food-supply business this week to his children.
As Liquor Commission chairman, Granato earlier this year opposed closing liquor stores, even after lawmakers cut the budget of the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control by $2.2 million. After intense public opposition to the closures, Gov. Gary Herbert found a way to restore $1.4 million in funding to allow as many as nine liquor outlets to remain open through the end of February 2012.

Granato told the Senate committee that the state’s rapidly changing demographics call for more understanding and better communication among all citizens. He said the state also must be more consumer-friendly and business-friendly to promote tourism and economic development.