Freshman state representative named as new Lieutenant Governor of Utah

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October 9, 2013

State Rep. Spencer Cox

By Greg Janetka

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah: In a surprising move, Utah Governor Gary Herbert (R) named Spencer Cox (R), a freshman state lawmaker from Sanpete County, to replace Lieutenant Governor Greg Bell who announced last month he was resigning the post for financial reasons. Before assuming the position Cox will need to be confirmed by the state Senate. A vote by the full chamber is scheduled for October 16.[1]

Cox, a 38-year-old telecommunications executive, was elected to the Utah House of Representatives unopposed on November 6, 2012. He previously served as a Fairview city councilman and mayor, and was on the Sanpete County commission.[2]

Cox, whose name did not come up in public speculation, said, "My goal is to just serve to the best of my capacity. My sincere hope is you won't notice a difference. I am not Greg Bell, but I am trying hard to be every day."[3]

The lawmaker made headlines earlier this year when he became the first member of the House to call for the impeachment of Attorney General John Swallow (R), who is under investigation for possible violations of state campaign-finance laws. The office of the lieutenant governor is responsible for the enforcement of state elections laws and currently has an inquiry of Swallow under way. Bell said Cox will have to determine if he needs to recuse himself from the investigation.[4]

Utah's top two positions have seen a number of irregular changes in recent years - Gov. Herbert was serving as lieutenant governor in 2009 when then-Gov. Jon Huntsman resigned to become U.S. Ambassador to China. Herbert subsequently chose Bell, then a state senator, as his second in charge. The two teamed up to win the 2010 special election to determine who would serve out the remainder of Huntsman's term. They won re-election in 2012.

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