Big shoes to fill, for sure – and capable new feet


Spencer J. Cox

Concluding speculation about who Governor Gary Herbert would choose to replace Lt. Gov. Greg Bell, on Tuesday, the governor introduced Spencer J. Cox as his choice. Currently serving as a member of the Utah House, Mr. Cox was elected in 2012 to represent citizens living in Sanpete and Juab Counties. Well-respected by his colleagues in the Legislature, Rep. Cox was described by Gov. Herbert as fulfilling criteria he had established for those he would consider for the position:

  • Experience and success in elective office
  • Ability to work with the Legislature
  • Integrity demonstrated in a variety of settings
  • Involvement in the private sector that equips with the understanding of what is required to create jobs; that the government’s role is somewhat limited
  • Fresh perspectives that complement the governor’s own views and characteristics
  • A good “team fit” to function well in the governor’s office
  • Solid work ethic

Rep. Cox impressively satisfies these particulars.

Notwithstanding Rep. Cox’s relatively brief term of service as a freshman member of the Utah House, he brings a notable record of public service to this new role – the significance and constructive impact of which has been underscored by the outstanding service of departing Lt. Gov. Bell.

The press release accompanying the announcement includes this brief introduction:

A former Sanpete County commissioner and Fairview mayor and city councilman, Cox, 38, is presently the vice-president of CentraCom, a rural telecommunications company. Born and raised in Fairview, Cox and his wife, Abby, both graduated from North Sanpete High School, Snow College, and Utah State University. While at USU, Spencer was recognized by his department as the Student of the Year and graduated with a 4.0 grade point average. He then graduated from the Washington and Lee law school with honors.

Following law school, Cox served as a law clerk to Federal District Judge Ted Stewart before practicing law at the Salt Lake City firm of Fabian and Clendenin. The Coxes are the parents of four children and come from Sanpete County families. He is also fluent in Spanish. In his spare time, Cox enjoys running, as well as camping and hiking with his family.

In addition to the résumé of one about to step into a more visible and consequential role, those the individual will serve are naturally interested to get a feel for the person. The message posted on Mr. Cox’s personal website Tuesday afternoon provides meaningful insights.

My Dearest friends, as you may have heard by now, Governor Herbert has named me as the new Lieutenant Governor for the State of Utah. I am humbled and grateful—and frankly a little overwhelmed. The last 10 days have been a roller coaster of emotions for me and my family. While I am excited for this incredible opportunity to serve the good people of this state, I also recognize the intense sacrifice that will be required of my sweet wife and amazing children. Fortunately, we know that this is the path we are supposed to travel at this time. We could not do this without the blessing of so many wonderful friends and family that are willing to step in and pick up the slack. Thanks to all of you for your incredible kindness and for your prayers. I am honored and excited to serve you.

Any who may wonder about the selection of Rep. Cox – on the basis of his not being well-known among most Utahns outside of Sanpete County – will be prudent to keep in mind that as a former lieutenant governor himself, Gov. Herbert is well-familiar with the critical functions performed by the state’s No. 2 Constitutional executive officer, and how extensively the governor relies on that person.

As it was Gov. Herbert that astutely selected Greg Bell four years ago, the citizens of our great state have good reason to trust his selection of Spencer Cox now.