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Incoming Governor And Lieutenant Governor Spend Weekend In St. George, Emphasize Rural Utah Commitment

Spencer Cox in St. George
Lexi Peery
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Gov.-elect Spencer Cox outside the Utah Food Bank distribution center in St. George. The incoming administration completed a month-long food drive there Saturday.

Republican Gov.-elect Spencer Cox and Lt. Gov.-elect Deidre Henderson spent the weekend in St. George ahead of their inauguration Monday. They went to local churches and served at the Utah Food Bank, to finish out a month-long food drive.

Cox, who often emphasizes his farmer background, said spending time in southern Utah is part of his commitment to represent people from across the state.

“There are ways that we can do that every day, but there are also some symbolic ways we can do that,” Cox said. “One symbolic way to do that is to have an inauguration that's not on the Wasatch Front for the first time ever.”

He said when he first proposed the idea of being sworn-in off the Wasatch Front, he was told it was a big mistake. But the pandemic made that decision easier — health officials told Cox it would be safe to hold it outside with other safety measures, like testing and mask wearing.

“There's only one place where you can maybe hold an event outside on January 4th,” Cox said, referring to the outdoor Ivins amphitheater. “And we get to show the people of southern Utah how important they are to the state as well.”

Henderson said another way Cox is trying to better represent communities is the first-ever appointment of a rural affairs senior advisor.

“Even though he comes from rural Utah, he wants to make sure that he has someone in our administration who focuses solely on rural issues,” Henderson said. “It's going to be an important point of contact for the local governments and people in rural parts of the state.”

Cox’s inauguration is the first time a governor has been sworn in in southern Utah and it’s happening on the 125th anniversary of statehood.

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