(ABC4 News) — January 4, 2021, is the day Utah’s, and the nation’s longest-serving Governor, Governor Gary R. Herbert’s time in office comes to an end.
Gov. Herbert took office in 2009. In 2016, Spencer J. Cox was selected by Gov. Herbert to succeed Greg Bell as Lt. Governor. He was confirmed unanimously by the Utah Senate and sworn in on October 16, 2013. The pair were re-elected for another term in 2016.
When Gov. Herbert announced he would not run for re-election in 2020, Cox and his family say they feel they had more to give. According to Spencer Cox’s website, “after a lot of thought and prayers, they decided to run and give a voice to all of Utah’s 29 counties and 248 towns.”
Spencer J. Cox was born in Mt. Pleasant, Utah in Sanpete County. Growing up, he worked on his family farm milking cows, moving irrigation pipes, plowing fields, and hauling hay.
After graduating from North Sanpete High School, he moved to Mexico for two years serving as a volunteer for his church. When he returned, he attended Snow College and completed his associate’s degree.
According to his bio on Utah.gov, during his time at Snow College, he married his high school sweetheart, Abby. Cox and Abby continued their education at Utah State University where Spencer graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science and Abby obtained her degree in special education. Cox then attended Washington and Lee Law School in Virginia.
After receiving his Juris Doctor, Spencer and Abby moved their family to Salt Lake City where he practiced law with Fabian & Clendenin (now known Fabian Vancott). Cox and his wife have four children.
After spending a few years in the city his family decided to return to Sanpete County where they could raise their children on the farm. When back in their home town, Cox joined the family telecom business, CentraCom, where he served as Vice President and General Counsel.
After moving back to Sanpete, Cox began his career in public service. He was first appointed to fill a vacancy on the city council and was later elected as mayor of Fairview. According to Utah.gov, in 2008, he was elected as a Sanpete County Commissioner, serving four years before being elected to the Utah House of Representatives in 2012.
“During his tenure as a state legislator, Spencer sponsored and co-sponsored bills that championed STEM education, same-day voter registration, and water pollution,” as stated on Utah.gov.
After serving nine months as a state representative, Spencer was selected by Gov. Herbert as Utah’s Lt. Gov.
According to Cox’s Director of Communications, Jennifer Napier-Pearce, the inauguration taking place off of the Wasatch Front was an idea from the governor-elect. Napier-Pearce says holding the inauguration in Southern Utah is a literal and symbolic pledge of representing all Utahns.