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2016 Rebecca Chavez-Houck (1978)


Journalist, non-profit organization administrator, politician and civic leader  

Reporter and writer for the Uinta County Herald   Evanston, WY (1984-1985)

Public Relations Assistant for the Utah Public Employee’s Association (1985-1987)

Public Relations Manager for the Girl Scouts of Utah (1987-1990)

Public Relations Coordinator for the Utah Museum of Natural History (1991-1995)

Director of Community Affairs (1999-2007) and Interim CEO (2004-2005) Centro de la Familia de Utah

Communications Coordinator—Utah State House of Representatives Minority Caucus

Member of the Utah State House of Representatives (2008-20–)

Minority Whip of the Utah State House of Representatives

Adjunct Faculty Member for the University of Utah’s Master of Public Administration Program

Outstanding Achievement Award (2013) YWCA of Utah

Community Service Honoree (2016) Salt Lake League of Women Voters

Distinguished Alumni Award (2014) U of U College of Social and Behavior Science

Pete Suazo Political Action Award (2013)

Cesar Chavez Peace and Justice Award (2002) Utah Coalition of LaRaza

Member of the Board of Directors/Trustees of Envision Utah, National Council of LaRaza, ACLU, Intermountain Healthcare, United Way of Salt Lake, YWCA and Plan B Theater Company

President of the Planned Parenthood Association

President of the Utah Women’s Forum


Rebecca Chavez-Houck grew up on a produce farm in Riverton, where her family grew sugar beets, tomatoes, corn and other vegetables. Many long-time residents of our community frequented the Chavez family produce stand during the 1960s and 1970s.

Rebecca was in the first sophomore class that came to our current South Jordan campus back in 1975.  She fondly remembers her years at BHS, where she was a member of the National Honor Society, debate team, drama club, orchestra, and choir.  She was the 1978 Bingham High Sterling Scholar in the category of music and also garnered a number of awards in dramatic interpretation, one-act plays, and extemporaneous speaking. She represented Bingham High at Utah Girls State at Southern Utah State College in the summer of 1977.  She has said the following about her Bingham High experience, “I have such fond memories of high school, so many opportunities that set me on my pathway and so many good friends (some who have already passed on, sadly).  I’ll always remember the blue and the white…”

After graduating from Bingham High, she attended the University of Utah, where in addition to her studies, she was an active member of Delta Delta Delta Sorority. There she used her musical and leadership talents to serve as chapter song leader and social chair.  She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism & Mass Communication in 1982 and continued on to earn a Master’s of Public Administration degree in 2006, also from the University of Utah.

Rebecca’s 30-plus years of professional experience in non-profit administration and public affairs has included positions with Centro de la Familia de Utah, Utah Public Employees’ Association, Girl Scouts of Utah, and the Utah Museum of Natural History. She began her career as a reporter/photographer for the Uinta County Herald in Evanston, Wyoming. Rebecca has also cultivated another career as a board member for myriad local nonprofit groups ranging from Intermountain Healthcare and Envision Utah to Episcopal Community Services and the United Way of Salt Lake.  She relishes working with emerging political leaders, especially Latino and women candidates who are seeking elected office.   She is a founding member of Real Women Run. She also currently teaches courses in nonprofit management as adjunct faculty for the University of Utah’s Master of Public Administration program.

In 2008 she was elected to the Utah House of Representatives representing Salt Lake City’s District 24 which encompasses Capitol Hill, the Avenues and part of Downtown Salt Lake City.  During her tenure in the House she has passed more than 20 bills, focusing primarily on health and human services as well as voter engagement and access.  She currently serves as House Democratic Whip.

Rebecca’s passion for social justice advocacy and desire to develop progressive public policy was forged in the multicultural community of Bingham Canyon, where her parents met. Her father, Carlos Chavez, was a Mexican immigrant who came to work at the Kennecott mine in the 1930s and her mother, Katherine Valdez Chavez, was born in Pueblo, Colorado.  Rebecca’s compassion for the less fortunate, pride in cultural diversity, commitment to the environment, and support for our public education system was undoubtedly shaped by her parents’ influence. Her mother was a graduate of the Bingham High Class of 1938 and Rebecca’s aunts, uncles, siblings, and many of her nieces and nephews are also BHS alumni.  Rebecca knows her success is due in large part to the support of her wonderful family.

Rebecca and her husband of 31 years, Martin Houck, met at a debate tournament in their senior year of high school. They own a successful property management company and in their leisure time enjoy traveling throughout the country in their Class C RV.  They have two children, Erica, a family resource coordinator at Seattle Children’s Hospital, and Michael, a senior studying digital media at Utah Valley University.

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2016 Rebecca Chavez-Houck (1978)