SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Inaguration day for Governor-elect Spencer Cox and his running-mate Deidre Henderson is just around the corner. Come Monday, Jan. 4th, Cox will officially be named Utah’s 18th governor – taking the place of Gov. Gary Herbert.
Throughout Cox’s whole campaign for governor, he has focused on reaching out to every Utahn–whether that be in downtown Salt Lake City or in the small farming communities across the state. During his campaign, he visited every one of Utah’s 248 cities and towns across the state.
Cox will further this effort by forgoing a typical inauguration at the state’s capitol building, instead having it in St. George. The inauguration of Cox will be held outdoors at the Tuacahn Center for the Arts. Cox said in a video that this will be the first-ever inauguration held in rural Utah.
According to Cox’s Director of Communications, Jennifer Napier-Pearce, the idea to find a site for the inauguration off of the Wasatch Front was all the governor-elect. Napier-Pearce says that holding the inauguration in Southern Utah is a literal as well as a symbolic pledge of representing all Utahns.
In the past, inaugurations for Utah governors have typically always been held in Salt Lake City at the capitol building. The capitol was built in 1916 and prior to that, governor inaugurations were held at the City-County Building.
To Cox’s team’s knowledge, no other governor in the history of the state has held their inauguration in a place other than the capitol building. Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. held his State of the State address at the territorial statehouse in Fillmore but his actual inauguration was held in Salt Lake City.
Although this will be the first time a Utah governor-elect has chosen to have their inauguration not at the capitol building, according to Napier-Pearce, there is no statutory requirement to hold the inauguration at the capitol building.
In the events leading up to Monday the 4th, Saturday the 2nd of January will be a day of service for the Cox and Henderson families. Cox has asked Utahns to participate in a 30-day statewide food drive which will wrap up on the 2nd as the governor-elect celebrates the ‘spirit of volunteerism and generosity that gives Utah its strength’.
On Sunday the 3rd of January, Cox and Henderson, along with their families, will attend a variety of religious services during a day of prayer to honor the various religions throughout the state that ‘form the solid foundation of our state’.
After the inauguration ceremony on Monday the 4th, the Cox and Henderson families will make the trek from St. George to the capitol building in Salt Lake City for a televised broadcast of a celebration of the state of Utah.
Cox said via Twitter that capacity at the inauguration will be significantly reduced to help keep everyone safe from COVID-19. Those in attendance will also be required to wear masks and practice strict physical distancing, among other safety measures.
The inauguration will be held on the 125th anniversary of Utah’s statehood. In addition to Cox and Henderson being inaugurated, Attorney General Sean Reyes, State Treasurer David Damschen, and Auditor John Dougall will also be inaugurated.
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