Governor Gary Herbert announced Tuesday that he is appointing Rep. Spencer Cox, a Republican from Fairview, to replace outgoing Lt. Governor Greg Bell. Cox has served as Sanpete County Commissioner, as mayor of Fairview and on the Fairview City Council. He was only recently elected to the State Legislature, having held office for less than a year.
What kind of Lt. Governor will Spencer Cox be? He doesn’t have much of a record to comb through, but here is where he falls on a variety of issues that we’ve closely followed over the last year:
1) Cox was the first legislator to mention the I-word in the John Swallow scandal. He was one of few legislators to understand that impeachment proceedings differ from criminal proceedings–and that the charges against Swallow merited impeachment.
2) Cox co-sponsored a bill with Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck that would enable election-day voter registration. The bill made it through the House but died in the Senate at the eleventh hour. Advocates for increasing Utah’s paltry voter turnout numbers see election-day registration as an important step. Cox’s support of this issue is especially important because the Lt. Governor’s office oversees elections.
3) He supports “a dramatic increase in funding for secondary and higher education,” and ties that increased funding to a variety of reforms. Although the precise nature of those reforms is yet to be seen, increased funding for education is exactly what Utah needs. Perhaps he can team up with Senator Pat Jones.
4) Cox opened, and later abandoned, a bill file called Joint Resolution Supporting Second Amendment Preservation. It is hard to say what the bill would have entailed, but one can always hope it didn’t share much in common with Rep. Brian Greene’s similarly titled bill.
5) He’s an obvious supporter of strong States’ rights in the centuries old debate over the relationship between the State and Federal Government. It’s true that many problems are best solved locally, at the municipal and state levels, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a federal land grab is in order.
6) At 38-years-old, Cox is young. And this is a very good thing. With the youngest population in the United States, Utah needs more leaders who share that demographic quality. (Note: I tried to link to the U.S. Census website, but it is unavailable due to the government shutdown.)