Spencer Cox 2Spencer Cox

Current Position: Governor since 2021
Affiliation: Republican
Former Position(s): Lt. Governor from 2014 – 2020

Featured Video:
Utah Governor Spencer Cox “working hard” to get young people vaccinated

News

Summary

Current Position: Governor since 2021
Affiliation: Republican
Former Position(s): Lt. Governor from 2014 – 2020

Featured Video:
Utah Governor Spencer Cox “working hard” to get young people vaccinated

About

Spencer Cox

Source: Government page

A sixth-generation Utahn, Gov. Spencer J. Cox was born and raised in Fairview, a town of 1,247 residents located about two hours south of Salt Lake City. He graduated from Snow College, Utah State University and Washington and Lee University School of Law.

Cox met Abby Palmer at age 16 and they have been smitten with each other ever since. After Spencer’s service as a missionary in Mexico, the couple married and moved away to continue their education. Gov. Cox launched his career as an attorney clerking for U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart and began building a successful law practice at a Salt Lake City firm, Fabian & Clendenin. He returned to Fairview to join the family business, CentraCom, as vice president and general counsel.

In Fairview, Gov. Cox served as a city councilman, mayor, county commissioner and state legislator before being appointed to serve as Utah’s lieutenant governor in 2013.

Gov. Cox has spoken out and led out on some of the state’s most daunting challenges including the current coronavirus crisis, homelessness, suicide prevention and bullying. His efforts contributed to Utah’s unprecedented prosperity while fulfilling his constitutional mandate to ensure free and fair elections as the state’s chief election officer. Cox is a vocal advocate for civility in politics, and he’s committed to improving education, strengthening the economy, bolstering Utah’s rural communities, supporting public health, and ensuring opportunity for all Utahns.

Gov. Cox and wife Abby are proud parents of four children: Gavin, Kaleb, Adam and EmmaKate. He and his family enjoy spending time in Utah’s amazing backcountry. He also plays the bass guitar with his brother in a local rock band.

Web

Government Page, Campaign Site, Twitter, Facebook, Medium, Vimeo, Wikipedia

Twitter

Politics

Source: none

Campaign Finance

Open Secrets

Voting Record

Vote Smart

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Wikipedia entry

Spencer James Cox (born July 11, 1975) is an American lawyer and politician serving as the 18th governor of Utah since 2021. A member of the Republican Party, Cox served as the eighth lieutenant governor of Utah from 2013 to 2021.

Cox was raised and lives in Fairview, Utah. He was elected to the city council in 2004 and mayorship the next year. After overseeing rural economic development in Fairview, Cox was elected a county commissioner for Sanpete County in 2008.[1] He was elected to the Utah House of Representatives in 2012.

In October 2013, Governor Gary Herbert selected Cox to replace Greg Bell as Lieutenant Governor; he was confirmed unanimously by the Utah State Senate. Cox was elected to the lieutenant governorship as Herbert’s running mate in 2016. In 2020, after Herbert decided to retire, Cox sought the Republican nomination for governor. He defeated former governor Jon Huntsman Jr., former Utah GOP chair Thomas Wright, and former Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes in the primary election and Democratic nominee Chris Peterson in the general election.

Early life and education

Cox was raised in Sanpete County; he graduated from North Sanpete High School. He enrolled at Snow College and completed a mission to Mexico for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while he was a student. During that time, he married his high-school sweetheart, Abby, who also graduated from Snow College. After graduating with an associate’s degree, he attended Utah State University (USU), where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in political science and Abby obtained her degree in special education.[2] At USU, Cox was named Student of the Year and graduated with a 4.0 grade point average. Accepted to Harvard Law School, Cox instead enrolled at Washington and Lee University School of Law, where he received his Juris Doctor.[2][3]

Career

Early legal work

After law school, Cox clerked for Judge Ted Stewart of the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah. After his clerkship, Cox joined Fabian and Clendenin, a Salt Lake City law firm. He returned to rural Utah and became a vice president of CentraCom.[4]

Political career

Cox was elected as a city councilor of Fairview, Utah in 2004,[3] and mayor the next year. In 2008, he was elected as a Sanpete County commissioner.[5][6][2] Cox was elected to the Utah House of Representatives in 2012 and became the first member to call for the impeachment of John Swallow, the attorney general of Utah, over violations of campaign finance laws.[7] Cox and Lieutenant Governor Bell served as co-chairs of Governor Herbert’s Rural Partnership Board.[8]

Lieutenant Governor of Utah

Elections

2016 general election

Tenure

In October 2013, Herbert selected Cox to succeed Bell as lieutenant governor following Bell’s resignation.[8] The Utah Senate’s Government Operations Confirmation Committee unanimously approved his nomination on October 15.[9] The next day, the full Utah Senate confirmed him unanimously and he was sworn in.[10] As lieutenant governor, Cox produced a report on Swallow’s financial interests, demonstrating that Swallow had failed to properly disclose all of his income and business interests. Swallow resigned before the report’s release.[11] In 2016, Cox was elected lieutenant governor as Herbert’s running mate.[12][13]

Governor of Utah

On May 14, 2019, after Herbert announced that he would not seek reelection, Cox announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for governor of Utah in 2020.[14] Cox won the Republican primary with 36.4% of the vote; former Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. received 34.6%.[15] Cox defeated Chris Peterson, the Democratic Party nominee, in the November general election.[16] In a break with tradition, Cox’s January 4, 2021, inauguration (with precautions against the COVID-19 pandemic) was held at the Tuacahn Center for the Arts in Ivins, Utah, a small town in Washington County. The stated purpose of this move was to express Cox’s desire to be governor for the entire state as opposed to focusing on the Wasatch Front region.[17] Within days of his inauguration, he opened an office on Southern Utah University‘s Cedar City campus.[18]

Cox said early on that increasing the speed of the state’s vaccine distribution was his administration’s top priority. Utah has administered more than 85% of the doses that it has received, according to CDC data.[19]

In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic in Utah, Cox faced criticism for the state’s decision to award millions of dollars in no-bid contracts in the early days of the crisis and for the controversial purchase of an anti-malaria drug as a possible treatment for COVID-19. Cox says he had no role in approving the $800,000 hydroxychloroquine order, which was later canceled.[18][20]

Cox has vetoed four bills as of 2021, all of which were Republican-backed (the Utah Legislature has a Republican super-majority). His first veto was of a bill sponsored by his brother-in-law, Senator Mike McKell, which sought to regulate the way social media platforms moderate content.[21] Cox also vetoed Senate Bill 187: Local Education Agency Policies Amendments, sponsored by Ronald Winterton; Senate Bill 39: Hemp Regulation Amendments, sponsored by David Hinkins; and House Bill 98: Local Government Building Regulation Amendments, sponsored by Paul Ray.[22][23][24]

Political positions

In October 2015, Cox endorsed Marco Rubio in the 2016 Republican presidential primary.[25] After Rubio withdrew, Cox endorsed Ted Cruz in March 2016.[26] Of Donald Trump, the front-runner, Cox said, “We care a lot about decorum. We care about our neighbors. We are a good, kind people. He does not represent neither goodness nor kindness.”[27] He said he would not support Trump if he won the Republican nomination: “I think he’s disingenuous. I think he’s dangerous. I think he represents the worst of what our great country stands for… I won’t vote for Hillary, but I won’t vote for Trump, either.”[28]

Cox eventually changed course and said in 2020 he supported Trump. But after the 2021 United States Capitol attack, Cox held Trump responsible for inciting the violence.[29]

On June 13, 2016, Cox spoke at a vigil in Salt Lake City honoring those who died in the Orlando nightclub shooting the day before. He surprised many when he apologized for mistreating schoolmates and his lack of support for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community.[30][31] He aimed part of his speech at the “straight community”:[32]

How did you feel when you heard that 49 people had been gunned down by a self-proclaimed terrorist? That’s the easy question. Here is the hard one: Did that feeling change when you found out the shooting was at a gay bar at 2 a.m. in the morning? If that feeling changed, then we are doing something wrong.

Personal life

Cox is the oldest of eight children and grew up on a farm in Fairview.[2] He and his wife, Abby, have four children, and reside on their family farm in Fairview.[3] Cox’s father, Eddie, served on the Utah Transportation Commission and was also a Sanpete County commissioner.[9]

Cox plays bass guitar in a garage band.[7][9] His brother-in-law, Travis Osmond, the son of Merrill Osmond, taught him to play bass.[33] State Representative Mike McKell is also a brother-in-law.[2] Cox’s fourth cousin, Jon Cox, succeeded him in the Utah House of Representatives.[34]

Electoral history

2016 Utah gubernatorial election[35]
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Republican Gary Herbert/Spencer Cox (incumbent) 750,850 66.74% -1.67%
DemocraticMike Weinholtz/Kim Bowman323,34928.74%+1.16%
LibertarianBrian Kamerath/Barry Short34,8273.10%+0.85%
Superdell Schanze/Gregory Duerden15,9121.41%N/A
IndependentL.S. Brown (write-in)970.01%N/A
Total votes1,125,035′ 100.0%’ N/A
Republican hold
2020 Republican gubernatorial primary[36]
PartyCandidateVotes%
Republican Spencer Cox 190,565 36.15%
RepublicanJon Huntsman Jr.184,24634.95%
RepublicanGreg Hughes110,83521.02%
RepublicanThomas Wright41,5327.88%
Total votes527,178 100.00%
2020 Utah gubernatorial election[37]
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Republican Spencer Cox 918,754 62.98% -3.76%
DemocraticChristopher Peterson442,75430.35%+1.61%
LibertarianDaniel Cottam51,3933.52%+0.42%
Gregory Duerden25,8101.77%+0.36%
Write-in20,1671.38%+1.37%
Total votes1,458,878 100.00%
Republican hold

References

  1. ^ “Sanpete County Commissioners | Sanpete County”. Archived from the original on April 1, 2010. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e Gehrke, Robert (October 15, 2013). “How Cox rose from farm boy to lieutenant-governor-in-waiting”. The Salt Lake Tribune. Archived from the original on October 16, 2013. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Wells, David (October 8, 2013). “Utah’s new Lt. Governor announced”. FOX13Now.com. Archived from the original on October 12, 2013. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
  4. ^ Robinson, Doug (June 29, 2014). “Spencer Cox: The lieutenant governor who almost said no”. Deseret News. Archived from the original on August 7, 2014. Retrieved August 6, 2014.
  5. ^ “2008 In Review | Local News”. Daily Herald. heraldextra.com. December 31, 2008. Archived from the original on June 2, 2019. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
  6. ^ “Delegates trade one Cox for another for Utah House seat”. The Salt Lake Tribune. November 8, 2013. Archived from the original on November 14, 2018. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
  7. ^ a b Gehrke, Robert (October 8, 2013). “Herbert picks state Rep. Spencer Cox as new lieutenant governor”. The Salt Lake Tribune. Archived from the original on October 12, 2013. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
  8. ^ a b Roche, Lisa Riley (October 8, 2013). “Gov. Herbert names Rep. Spencer Cox new lieutenant governor”. Deseret News. Archived from the original on December 5, 2018. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  9. ^ a b c Roche, Lisa Riley (October 15, 2013). “Lt. gov. pick Spencer Cox wins unanimous approval from confirmation committee”. Deseret News. Archived from the original on October 19, 2013. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  10. ^ Roche, Lisa Riley (October 16, 2013). Shocked’ Spencer Cox sworn in as new lieutenant governor”. Deseret News. Archived from the original on April 5, 2018. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  11. ^ Gehrke, Robert (November 22, 2013). “Swallow resigns, proclaiming innocence: ‘Time for the madness to stop. The Salt Lake Tribune. Archived from the original on February 14, 2014. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  12. ^ “Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox announces he is running for Utah governor, vows a ‘different,’ positive campaign”. The Salt Lake Tribune.
  13. ^ https://elections.utah.gov/Media/Default/2016%20Election/2016%20General%20Election%20-%20Statewide%20Canvass%203.pdf
  14. ^ “Here are the reasons Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox says he’s running for governor in 2020”. Deseret News. May 14, 2019. Archived from the original on July 16, 2019. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
  15. ^ Axelrod, Tal (July 6, 2020). “Spencer Cox defeats Jon Huntsman in Utah GOP governor primary”. TheHill.
  16. ^ Roche, Lisa Riley (November 3, 2020). “Spencer Cox says he’ll be governor for all of Utah as Peterson concedes race”. Deseret News.
  17. ^ McKellar, Katie (January 4, 2021). “Spencer Cox, Utah’s 18th governor, says state’s greatest days lie ahead”. Deseret News. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  18. ^ a b Rodgers, Bethany (January 3, 2021). “Utah’s incoming Gov. Spencer Cox faces challenges on vaccinations, education”. The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved June 29, 2021.
  19. ^ Stevens, Taylor; Rodgers, Bethany (April 16, 2021). “Here are five things Utah Gov. Spencer Cox said he would do in his first 100 days. Did he do them?”. The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved June 29, 2021.
  20. ^ Rodgers, Bethany (September 7, 2020). “Opponents of Spencer Cox wait for audit of no-bid contracts”. The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved June 29, 2021.
  21. ^ Schott, Brian (March 23, 2021). “Utah Gov. Spencer Cox vetoes controversial social media legislation”. The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved June 29, 2021.
  22. ^ “S.B. 39 Hemp Regulation Amendments”. Utah State Legislature. March 24, 2021. Retrieved June 29, 2021.
  23. ^ “S.B. 187 Local Education Agency Policies Amendments”. Utah State Legislature. March 24, 2021. Retrieved June 29, 2021.
  24. ^ “H.B. 98 Local Government Building Regulation Amendments”. Utah State Legislature. March 24, 2021. Retrieved June 29, 2021.
  25. ^ Steinbrecher, Lauren; Wells, David (October 19, 2015). “Presidential candidate Marco Rubio visiting Utah Monday”. FOX13 Salt Lake City. Archived from the original on September 19, 2016. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  26. ^ Woodruff, Daniel (March 19, 2016). “Utah’s Lt. Gov. endorses Ted Cruz, condemns Trump’s comments on Romney”. KUTV. Archived from the original on June 28, 2016. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  27. ^ “Trump’s Appeal With Mormons To Be Tested In Utah”. CBS Baltimore. Associated Press. Archived from the original on August 10, 2016. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  28. ^ Winslow, Ben; Wells, David (March 16, 2016). “GOP presidential debate in SLC canceled”. FOX13 Salt Lake City. Archived from the original on June 13, 2016. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  29. ^ “Gov. Spencer Cox Said President Trump Incited Violence at Capitol, Defends Past Support”. January 8, 2021.
  30. ^ Victor, Daniel (June 16, 2016). “At Vigil for Orlando Victims, Utah Republican Apologizes to L.G.B.T. Community”. New York Times. Archived from the original on June 18, 2016. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  31. ^ McEvers, Kelly (June 15, 2016). My Heart Has Changed’: Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox Apologizes To LGBT Community”. NPR. Archived from the original on June 17, 2016. Retrieved June 18, 2016.
  32. ^ “Lt. Gov. Cox speaks at vigil for Orlando: ‘My heart has changed’ (transcript)”. June 14, 2016. Archived from the original on June 19, 2016. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  33. ^ Clark, Antone (October 15, 2013). “Cox expected to take office as lieutenant governor”. Standard-Examiner. Archived from the original on October 16, 2013. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  34. ^ Romboy, Dennis (November 8, 2013). “GOP names Utah House replacement for Spencer Cox — his fourth cousin”. Deseret News. Archived from the original on November 10, 2013. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
  35. ^ “Utah Election Official Results” (PDF). Utah Secretary of State. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
  36. ^ “2020 Regular Primary Canvass” (PDF). State of Utah.gov. Retrieved September 5, 2020.
  37. ^ “2020 General Election Canvass” (PDF). Lieutenant Governor of Utah. November 23, 2020. Retrieved November 23, 2020.

External links

Utah House of Representatives
Preceded by
Stephen Sandstrom
Member of the Utah House of Representatives
from the 58th district

2013
Succeeded by
Jon Cox
Political offices
Preceded by
Greg Bell
Lieutenant Governor of Utah
2013–2021
Succeeded by
Deidre Henderson
Preceded by
Gary Herbert
Governor of Utah
2021–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Gary Herbert
Republican nominee for Governor of Utah
2020
Most recent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Kamala Harris
as Vice President
Order of precedence of the United States
Within Utah
Succeeded by
Mayor of city
in which event is held
Succeeded by
Otherwise Nancy Pelosi
as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Mark Gordon
as Governor of Wyoming
Order of precedence of the United States
Outside Utah
Succeeded by
Kevin Stitt
as Governor of Oklahoma


Issues

Governance

Return Power to State Governments

The Framers of the U.S. Constitution designed a government system that divided power between the national and state governments. This had the express purpose of preserving the liberty of individuals. Spencer agrees with James Madison that the responsibilities and powers of the federal government were to be few and defined, while the powers and responsibilities of states were numerous and indefinite.

Unfortunately, over time the balance of power between the states and the federal government has become misaligned. As governor, Spencer will be a vocal champion of the ideals of federalism—working to return power, resources, and decision-making back to the states where they rightfully belong. If the balance of power is going to change, Utah will need to lead.

Manage Utah’s Public Lands Fairly

From red rock country to the canyons of the Wasatch Mountains, Utah is blessed with some of the world’s most breathtaking natural wonders. We’re proud of our natural resources and should continue to be the premier recreation destination for people around the globe. Public lands are central to what makes Utah different, and they’re a big part of what makes us great.

As someone who lives and farms just outside federal land, Spencer knows that Utahns love and appreciate their public lands more than anyone else. Unfortunately, today’s D.C.-based, top-down management approach fails to adequately reflect the views and input of the people who actually live here.

Spencer supports a re-examination of policy to ensure our lands are managed responsibly and that the interests of all stakeholders are considered fairly. As governor, Spencer is committed to keeping Utah’s public lands public—and will take steps to involve our citizens in the creation and implementation of public lands policies.

Make our state work better for taxpayers

Spencer is a fiscal conservative who knows Utah can’t tax its way to prosperity. Taxes need to be as low as possible to fund the services needed for a dynamic, caring and prosperous society. We need to redesign our state tax code with an emphasis on reducing complexity—and avoid picking winners and losers. As governor, Spencer will push for a limited but effective government that spends wisely and avoids overreaching and wasteful spending.

Over the last ten years, Utah has reduced the size of government from one state employee for every 127 Utahns in 2009, to one state employee for every 155 Utahns in 2018–saving Utahns more than $2 billion during this time. As governor, Spencer will continue the same frugal and efficient management of state government.

A new administration is the perfect opportunity to reevaluate and find ways to make state government work even better for Utah taxpayers.

Civil Rights

Stand by our 2nd Amendment Rights

As a lifelong gun owner, Spencer believes the 2nd Amendment is a constitutional right designed to recognize and protect an individual’s pre-existing right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.

Spencer believes the Utah Constitution gets it just right: “The individual right of the people to keep and bear arms for security and defense of self, family, others, property, or the state as well as for other lawful purposes shall not be infringed; but nothing herein shall prevent the Legislature from defining the lawful use of arms. (Utah Const. art. I, § 6)”

Democracy

Defend the Constitution

The U.S. Constitution is an inspired document, and the bedrock of our independence and liberty. It guarantees our freedoms and has inspired millions around the world while helping create the most prosperous and successful nation in history.

Spencer is a firm believer in constitutional principles and in the importance of adhering to this sacred document. As governor, he will proudly take the oath of office to support and defend both the Constitution of the United States and the Utah Constitution and will place both documents at the forefront of his decision-making.

Economy

Rebuild the Economy

The past few weeks have been some of the most difficult in Utah history. We have all worried about our families and our neighbors. We’ve worried about the future.

Spencer Cox is running for Governor because he believes Utah’s best days are ahead of us. And having served as Lieutenant Governor during the most prosperous decade in our state’s history, he knows firsthand what it takes to build a strong, vibrant economy in the wake of economic disaster. He’s confident that with your support, we can do it again.

Make Corporate Tax Incentives Work Harder for Us

Spencer believes free market capitalism has done more to eradicate real poverty than any other socioeconomic system in the history of the world. Conversely, tax incentives to lure corporate investment inherently changes the playing field in free markets and can lead to governments—not markets—picking winners and losers.

Ideally, states would compete solely on the basis of their workforce, infrastructure, tax/regulatory policies and cost of doing business. But as long as other states continue to offer corporate incentives, Spencer believes Utah should be highly selective and reserve the best incentives for companies that are willing to invest in and build up economies in struggling communities.

Create the Right Kinds of Jobs

Having run a private telecommunications business, Spencer knows that government doesn’t create jobs. But it can help foster an environment where businesses and individuals can create, compete and succeed. High taxes, regulations and a misaligned education system hinders growth and job creation.

Spencer has played a leading role in Utah’s decade-long record-setting growth and prosperity. Utah has added more than 250,000 jobs during his tenure as Lt. Governor. Spencer knows that a prosperous economy will follow policies that keep taxes low and regulations to a minimum—and he’s committed to continue making this happen.

Give Rural Utah a Voice

Spencer isn’t one of those statewide politicians who pay lip service to rural Utahns. He is a rural Utahn. His family has lived and farmed in Sanpete County for six generations. In fact, when Governor Herbert asked Spencer to be his lieutenant governor six years ago, he accepted only if he could continue to live in Fairview—commuting 200 miles almost every day to serve the state.

So, no one understands better the need to bring the same level of prosperity the Wasatch Front has experienced to the rest of the state. It’s why Spencer will bring an enhanced rural focus to the Governor’s office. This will include a major overhaul of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to prioritize economic development in rural areas, installing the first “rural chief of staff” in the governor’s office, and promoting the aggressive placement of state jobs in rural areas.

A Cox administration will make sure rural Utah is not forgotten and will represent all 29 counties and 248 cities and towns.

Education

Transforming our Education System

Our kids and their teachers deserve all the support we can give them. It’s why ensuring education excellence will be the primary focus of the Cox administration, believing that we need greater accountability from elected officials for education outcomes.

Spencer strongly supports teachers and believes they should be compensated fairly and given the flexibility they need to succeed. Likewise, every student in Utah should have access to a school or education platform that best suits their learning needs. Principals need the authority and tools to both hire the best teachers—and fire bad teachers.

Spencer knows education is a state and local prerogative and that federal involvement in education should be minimized to the greatest extent possible. That way teachers can get back to doing what they do best—teaching.

Restore Utah’s Values of Civility and Service

Politics is fundamentally broken in our country. It’s turned into a competition to tear people down instead of an opportunity to bridge differences and bring people together.

In Utah, our willingness to help our neighbors and collaborate to solve problems makes us unique in this increasingly toxic environment of tribalism. We have the potential to show the rest of the country how to treat one another, reach consensus on difficult issues and build thriving communities.

As governor, Spencer will also continue what he started on the campaign trail—help draw attention to the power of service and voluntary civic action. Government can’t solve all of society’s problems, but private initiative and active community organizations are vital to a thriving and cohesive state.

Support and Strengthen Utah’s Families

The family is the foundation of American society. Parents—not governments—have the most direct and immediate influence on a child’s health, education and welfare. Our communities, schools, government and society will never succeed if we don’t have strong and vibrant families.

Spencer believes government policies should support and strengthen the family unit. No government program, no amount of public spending, no social intervention can completely offset a failed or broken home.

Protect the Right to life

Spencer opposes abortion, allowing only rare exceptions for rape, incest or life of the mother. There are hundreds of thousands of abortions performed in our country every year. Spencer has always tried to be a voice for the most vulnerable in our society, those facing intergenerational poverty, refugees, the LGBTQ community, our multicultural communities—and yes, the unborn.

Spencer also believes that the Republican party should do more to support single mothers, pregnant women and children facing poverty and trauma. Spencer continues to be unapologetically pro-life.

X
Chris Peterson 1Chris Peterson

Current Position: Law Professor
Affiliation: Democrat
Candidate: 2020 Governor

I’m running for governor because I want to fight for working people. Despite Utah’s successes, too many of our families are still struggling to get by.  Every Utahn deserves access to affordable health care, a great education, clean air, and a government that respects public opinion.

Like many of you, I am frustrated by a state government that too often ignores the public. The Utah Constitution says, “Each bill passed by the Legislature, before it becomes a law, shall be presented to the governor.” This check and balance in Utah is broken. Bills are rubber stamped and often approved without listening to the voices of ordinary Utahns.

Source: Campaign page

Summary

Current Position: Law Professor
Affiliation: Democrat
Candidate: 2020 Governor

I’m running for governor because I want to fight for working people. Despite Utah’s successes, too many of our families are still struggling to get by.  Every Utahn deserves access to affordable health care, a great education, clean air, and a government that respects public opinion.

Like many of you, I am frustrated by a state government that too often ignores the public. The Utah Constitution says, “Each bill passed by the Legislature, before it becomes a law, shall be presented to the governor.” This check and balance in Utah is broken. Bills are rubber stamped and often approved without listening to the voices of ordinary Utahns.

Source: Campaign page

About

Chris Peterson

Chris Peterson has spent his career fighting for working families. A professor of business law at the University of Utah, he has worked tirelessly to help industry to improve the lives of their employees and customers. When our neighbors were losing their homes and the economy was crashing before our eyes, Peterson helped build a team in Washington, D.C. that returned $12 billion to cheated American families. Chris knows Utahns need a fair marketplace that treats customers right and gives every business a chance to succeed.

Chris’ government and policy experience include:

· Working as a Special Advisor in the U.S. Department of Defense where he helped lead the Pentagon’s efforts to protect military servicemembers from predatory lending. The Secretary of Defense awarded Peterson the Office of the Secretary of Defense Award for Excellence for his efforts on behalf of military families;

· Serving in the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau where Peterson’s team stopped deceptive and abusive practices by banks, payday lenders, and debt collection agencies. His team won $12 billion in refunds and restitution for Americans who were victimized by illegal financial practices; and,

Leading at the University of Utah where he worked as an Associate Dean for Academic Affairs with managerial responsibility for the educational mission of the University’s College of Law.Peterson is a national leader and authority on consumer protection. He has published several books including a university textbook on consumer law and an award winning book on predatory lending. The National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators, an association of state and local consumer law enforcement agencies, gave Peterson its national consumer advocate of the year award for his public service. Chris lives in Salt Lake City with his amazing wife and three wonderful kids.  He’s a fifth generation Utahn with deep pioneer roots. Chris was born and raised in West Valley City and attended Utah’s public schools. A father of three, Chris is married to Tera Peterson who is also a practicing attorney. Tera was an Assistant Solicitor General in the Utah Attorney General Office’s Criminal Appeals Division.  Recently, she has moved back into private practice.  The Petersons enjoy skiing in Utah’s mountains and hiking our state’s majestic deserts.

Web

Campaign Site, Twitter, Facebook

Twitter

Issues

Governance

Safeguarding consumer rights.

Every Utahn deserves to be treated with honesty and fairness in organizing their finances. Utah government has a responsibility to ensure that predatory businesses do not prey on working families. And honest businesses deserve a marketplace that is free from unfair competition. 

Putting a stop to gerrymandering and political corruption.

Utahns voted for Proposition 4, creating a strong, independent redistricting commission to create fair and balanced legislative districts. I support fully respecting the will of voters and will insist that voters chose their representatives—not the other way around. We also need limits on campaign contributions.

Economy

Standing up for Utah’s workers.

Workers deserve good jobs, fair wages, and humane working conditions. Too many Utahns work hard, but cannot keep up with the rising cost of living. I will fight to ensure that Utah’s economy works for working families.  

Helping small businesses succeed.

Small business is the foundation of Utah’s economy. Our small businesses need a level playing field and access to financing. I will work to expand financing opportunities for small and mid-sized businesses, cut unnecessary red-tape, and create incentives to invest in research and development, training, and employee capacity.

Growing rural Utah and family farms.

Family farms and ranches are an important part of Utah’s economy and culture. I will work to ensure that economic development and changing technology works to enhance and preserve this way of life. Utah government should use clean energy, technology sector jobs, and other resources to build our rural communities.  

Technology & Jobs

Utah should continue to lead the way on the development of the technology sector. Utah government should leverage our growing population, quality of life, and educated workforce to build an economy of the future. 

Education

Ensuring quality education for our children.

Every student deserves a quality education. The Utah Constitution established a permanent school fund to guarantee that all Utah children would have access to the best possible education. But, too often our government has failed to use and develop this fund to provide the resources our kids need. I will work to bring more resources to Utah’s K-12 schools and to make higher education better and more accessible. Utah should build the best public education system in America. 

We should also give teachers the respect they deserve. They are the foundation of a good economy and good citizenry. Utah has some of the largest student-teacher ratios in the nation. Too many of our best teachers face burnout and leave the classroom after only a few years on the job. We need to increase compensation and provide more resources for textbooks, supplies, technology support, special needs students, counseling, and career training. 

Environment

Responsible environmental stewardship and clean air.

The Wasatch Front has some of the poorest air quality in the nation. Our children, families, and businesses need clean air to thrive. I will fight to reduce air pollution and transition to a clean energy future. Our national and state parks, forests, and wilderness areas are a heritage we should preserve for all. 

Health Care

Expanding access to affordable health care.

In civilized society, all people deserve access to affordable health care. Health care is a basic human right.  

Advocating for Disabled Utahns.

Utahns with disabilities have unique experiences and needs. Disabled Utahns, their families, and their communities should have access to the support, recognition, and resources they need to thrive. 

Tourism and culture.

Utah is blessed with great natural beauty and a vibrant culture. I will work to promote tourism and the arts to enrich the lives of every Utahn. 

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Spencer Cox 1UT 2020 Governor Race

Expect a crowded GOP field for the open seat in Utah, which hasn’t elected a Democratic governor since Scott Matheson in 1980.

We rate the race for governor in Utah as Solid Republican.
Politico  4/19/20

Summary

Expect a crowded GOP field for the open seat in Utah, which hasn’t elected a Democratic governor since Scott Matheson in 1980.

We rate the race for governor in Utah as Solid Republican.
Politico  4/19/20

Spencer Cox

Current Position: Lt. Governor since 2014
Affiliation: Republican
Candidate: 2020 Governor

The past few weeks have been some of the most difficult in Utah history. We have all worried about our families and our neighbors. We’ve worried about the future. I’m running for Governor because I believe Utah’s best days are ahead of us. And having served as Lieutenant Governor during the most prosperous decade in our state’s history, I’ve seen firsthand what it takes to build a strong, vibrant economy in the wake of economic disaster. I’m confident that with the right leadership, we will do it again.

As our state continues to implement our plan for health and economic recovery, Lt. Governor Spencer Cox and Senator Deidre Henderson propose a seven-point plan to increase Utah’s long-term resiliency and prosperity. Spencer is Utah’s homegrown candidate for governor, and his administration will make Utah our country’s most financially sound and self-sufficient state.

For more information, go to Spencer Cox post. 

Chris Peterson

Current Position: Law Professor
Affiliation: Democrat
Candidate: 2020 Governor

I’m running for governor because I want to fight for working people. Despite Utah’s successes, too many of our families are still struggling to get by.  Every Utahn deserves access to affordable health care, a great education, clean air, and a government that respects public opinion.

Like many of you, I am frustrated by a state government that too often ignores the public. The Utah Constitution says, “Each bill passed by the Legislature, before it becomes a law, shall be presented to the governor.” This check and balance in Utah is broken. Bills are rubber stamped and often approved without listening to the voices of ordinary Utahns.

For more information, go to Chris Peterson post. 

 

Issues

Governance

Spencer Cox 

Return Power to State Governments

The Framers of the U.S. Constitution designed a government system that divided power between the national and state governments. This had the express purpose of preserving the liberty of individuals. Spencer agrees with James Madison that the responsibilities and powers of the federal government were to be few and defined, while the powers and responsibilities of states were numerous and indefinite.

Unfortunately, over time the balance of power between the states and the federal government has become misaligned. As governor, Spencer will be a vocal champion of the ideals of federalism—working to return power, resources, and decision-making back to the states where they rightfully belong. If the balance of power is going to change, Utah will need to lead.

Manage Utah’s Public Lands Fairly

From red rock country to the canyons of the Wasatch Mountains, Utah is blessed with some of the world’s most breathtaking natural wonders. We’re proud of our natural resources and should continue to be the premier recreation destination for people around the globe. Public lands are central to what makes Utah different, and they’re a big part of what makes us great.

As someone who lives and farms just outside federal land, Spencer knows that Utahns love and appreciate their public lands more than anyone else. Unfortunately, today’s D.C.-based, top-down management approach fails to adequately reflect the views and input of the people who actually live here.

Spencer supports a re-examination of policy to ensure our lands are managed responsibly and that the interests of all stakeholders are considered fairly. As governor, Spencer is committed to keeping Utah’s public lands public—and will take steps to involve our citizens in the creation and implementation of public lands policies.

Chris Peterson 

Safeguarding consumer rights.

Every Utahn deserves to be treated with honesty and fairness in organizing their finances. Utah government has a responsibility to ensure that predatory businesses do not prey on working families. And honest businesses deserve a marketplace that is free from unfair competition. 

Putting a stop to gerrymandering and political corruption.

Utahns voted for Proposition 4, creating a strong, independent redistricting commission to create fair and balanced legislative districts. I support fully respecting the will of voters and will insist that voters chose their representatives—not the other way around. We also need limits on campaign contributions.

 

 

Civil Rights

Spencer Cox

Stand by our 2nd Amendment Rights

As a lifelong gun owner, Spencer believes the 2nd Amendment is a constitutional right designed to recognize and protect an individual’s pre-existing right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.

Spencer believes the Utah Constitution gets it just right: “The individual right of the people to keep and bear arms for security and defense of self, family, others, property, or the state as well as for other lawful purposes shall not be infringed; but nothing herein shall prevent the Legislature from defining the lawful use of arms. (Utah Const. art. I, § 6)”

Chris Peterson 

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Democracy

Spencer Cox 

Defend the Constitution

The U.S. Constitution is an inspired document, and the bedrock of our independence and liberty. It guarantees our freedoms and has inspired millions around the world while helping create the most prosperous and successful nation in history.

Spencer is a firm believer in constitutional principles and in the importance of adhering to this sacred document. As governor, he will proudly take the oath of office to support and defend both the Constitution of the United States and the Utah Constitution and will place both documents at the forefront of his decision-making.

Chris Peterson 

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Economy

Spencer Cox 

Rebuild the Economy

The past few weeks have been some of the most difficult in Utah history. We have all worried about our families and our neighbors. We’ve worried about the future.

Spencer Cox is running for Governor because he believes Utah’s best days are ahead of us. And having served as Lieutenant Governor during the most prosperous decade in our state’s history, he knows firsthand what it takes to build a strong, vibrant economy in the wake of economic disaster. He’s confident that with your support, we can do it again.

Make Corporate Tax Incentives Work Harder for Us

Spencer believes free market capitalism has done more to eradicate real poverty than any other socioeconomic system in the history of the world. Conversely, tax incentives to lure corporate investment inherently changes the playing field in free markets and can lead to governments—not markets—picking winners and losers.

Ideally, states would compete solely on the basis of their workforce, infrastructure, tax/regulatory policies and cost of doing business. But as long as other states continue to offer corporate incentives, Spencer believes Utah should be highly selective and reserve the best incentives for companies that are willing to invest in and build up economies in struggling communities.

Create the Right Kinds of Jobs

Having run a private telecommunications business, Spencer knows that government doesn’t create jobs. But it can help foster an environment where businesses and individuals can create, compete and succeed. High taxes, regulations and a misaligned education system hinders growth and job creation.

Spencer has played a leading role in Utah’s decade-long record-setting growth and prosperity. Utah has added more than 250,000 jobs during his tenure as Lt. Governor. Spencer knows that a prosperous economy will follow policies that keep taxes low and regulations to a minimum—and he’s committed to continue making this happen.

Give Rural Utah a Voice

Spencer isn’t one of those statewide politicians who pay lip service to rural Utahns. He is a rural Utahn. His family has lived and farmed in Sanpete County for six generations. In fact, when Governor Herbert asked Spencer to be his lieutenant governor six years ago, he accepted only if he could continue to live in Fairview—commuting 200 miles almost every day to serve the state.

So, no one understands better the need to bring the same level of prosperity the Wasatch Front has experienced to the rest of the state. It’s why Spencer will bring an enhanced rural focus to the Governor’s office. This will include a major overhaul of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to prioritize economic development in rural areas, installing the first “rural chief of staff” in the governor’s office, and promoting the aggressive placement of state jobs in rural areas.

A Cox administration will make sure rural Utah is not forgotten and will represent all 29 counties and 248 cities and towns.

Chris Peterson 

Standing up for Utah’s workers.

Workers deserve good jobs, fair wages, and humane working conditions. Too many Utahns work hard, but cannot keep up with the rising cost of living. I will fight to ensure that Utah’s economy works for working families.

Helping small businesses succeed.

Small business is the foundation of Utah’s economy. Our small businesses need a level playing field and access to financing. I will work to expand financing opportunities for small and mid-sized businesses, cut unnecessary red-tape, and create incentives to invest in research and development, training, and employee capacity.

Growing rural Utah and family farms.

Family farms and ranches are an important part of Utah’s economy and culture. I will work to ensure that economic development and changing technology works to enhance and preserve this way of life. Utah government should use clean energy, technology sector jobs, and other resources to build our rural communities.

Technology & Jobs

Utah should continue to lead the way on the development of the technology sector. Utah government should leverage our growing population, quality of life, and educated workforce to build an economy of the future. 

 

Education

Spencer Cox

Transforming our Education System

Our kids and their teachers deserve all the support we can give them. It’s why ensuring education excellence will be the primary focus of the Cox administration, believing that we need greater accountability from elected officials for education outcomes.

Spencer strongly supports teachers and believes they should be compensated fairly and given the flexibility they need to succeed. Likewise, every student in Utah should have access to a school or education platform that best suits their learning needs. Principals need the authority and tools to both hire the best teachers—and fire bad teachers.

Spencer knows education is a state and local prerogative and that federal involvement in education should be minimized to the greatest extent possible. That way teachers can get back to doing what they do best—teaching.

Chris Peterson 

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Environment

Spencer Cox 

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Chris Peterson 

Responsible environmental stewardship and clean air.

The Wasatch Front has some of the poorest air quality in the nation. Our children, families, and businesses need clean air to thrive. I will fight to reduce air pollution and transition to a clean energy future. Our national and state parks, forests, and wilderness areas are a heritage we should preserve for all. 

 

Health Care

Spencer Cox 

Expanding access to affordable health care.

In civilized society, all people deserve access to affordable health care. Health care is a basic human right.

Chris Peterson 

N/A

 

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