Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox tours
Sanpete on campaign trail
By Robert Stevens
STERLING—Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox said he wants to bring rural values to the whole state during one of his Sanpete County stops on an ambitious campaign trail Saturday.
“I think there is a common sense we can share with the rest of the state that is sometimes lacking,” Cox said at a campaign visit to Sterling. “I see it all the time in Salt Lake. It’s been a long time since we had a governor from rural Utah. This is also an opportunity to bridge the understanding between rural and urban, and help them understand why they need us and why we are so important.”
At the outset of his decision to run for governor, Cox and his wife Abby decided they were going to visit every town in the state–more than 280 in total. After several other stops in his home county of Sanpete, Cox made Sterling his 181st visit.
“We’re really excited to be back in Sanpete,” Cox says. “It’s been an incredible opportunity and I feel very grateful. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.”
Although Cox only spent a short while at each stop to maintain his schedule, he fielded some comments from residents at each meeting.
Judy and Harry Wadley are Sterling residents who formerly lived in Cox’s hometown, Fairview, and support Cox because they approve of his personal character, and think his rural, Republican perspective is the right choice to steer the direction of the state.
Judy took advantage of the comment time with Cox to mention her concerns about the availability of water. She said there was “inequality” in regards to water, and she was worried more move-ins and growth would stretch those limitations even further.
“We have to get back in the business of storing water,” Cox said in reply. “The pioneers knew what they were doing and we seemed to have forgotten it.”
He went on to say that the state had been working hard with the federal government to move forward with projects that have been in the works for a long time.
Judy’s husband, Harry, also commented that he had concerns about growth, saying, “We live down here, and you live down here because we like the slow lifestyle. As soon as a McDonalds and sidewalks go in, we’re out of here.”
Cox said that rural economic development was one of his priorities for office, but he doesn’t want to see the rural lifestyle go away.
“I’m not looking for a 1000 jobs to come here,” he says. “That’s not going to happen. We know this life isn’t for everyone, and we are glad for that, but I just want to make sure our kids and our grandkids have an opportunity to work here and raise their families here if they want.”
He also added that he wanted to address a lot of issues in education. “We have a teacher shortage in our state and it doesn’t get talked about enough,” Cox says. “We also have taken the joy out of teaching. We are asking our educators to do more and more that isn’t teaching. Its making it hard for them to do what they love, and the legislature has put too many regulations on them.”
Cox has risen to the position of Lt. Gov. by way of Fairview City Mayor, Sanpete County Commissioner and member of the Utah House of Representatives.
He says it was a tough choice to accept the title of Lt. Gov. because he was worried he would have to give up his beloved home, but his wife convinced him the 60,000 mile-per-year commute was worth the trouble for the good he could do in office.
She says, “The problem with our country today is we can’t get good people to do these jobs. It’s supposed to be a sacrifice, it’s supposed to be hard. If we don’t do it, why would anyone else?”
After Gov. Gary Herbert told Cox he wouldn’t be running for re-election, Herbert told him, “I am not running, but you are.”
After the Coxes made the decision to run for governor, steam began building quickly as they toured the state visiting each town. Cox’s campaign recently broke the record for total number of donors for a Republican gubernatorial candidate.
Cox says, “There are a lot of people running for governor and a lot of them have a lot more money than we do and a lot bigger names, but we have people and grassroots support.”