SALT LAKE CITY -- A fifth generation Utahn described by Gov. Gary Herbert as one of the best and brightest the state has to offer, is expected to take the oath of office today, as the state's newest lieutenant governor.
Meeting in a special session today, the Senate is expected to ratify the confirmation of Rep. Spencer J. Cox, R-Fairview, as the person just one heart beat from heading the Beehive State. Cox is expected to take the oath of office following the special afternoon session. He replaces Lt. Gov. Greg Bell, who offered his resignation, citing the need to tend to business concerns.
Cox received a unanimous recommendation from a senate committee Tuesday, following a 50-minute confirmation hearing, where he described himself as being excited and humbled by the opportunity.
"I recognize I was not at the top of anyone's list. That being said, this is a great responsibility," the former Sanpete County Commissioner said.
Herbert also appeared before the committee to testify on behalf of his nominee. He cited Cox's work ethic and background in business and issues of law. He noted Cox graduated from Utah State with a 4.0 grade average and finished fifth in his law school class at the Washington School of Law in Virginia.
"I think he is the total package. He's a shorter, younger version of Greg Bell," Herbert told the senators.
As lieutenant governor Cox will have supervision of the state office of elections. Several senators pressed the nominee for his views on Count My Vote initiative, which would replace the caucus system, and also electronic signatures on ballots.
Cox deferred offering direct opinions on either, opting to say as a rule he supports a system that encourages more participation.
"When it comes to the caucus system, there is no perfect system," Cox told lawmakers.
He promised not to set up any unnecessary road blocks in dealing with election issues.
"The role of the lieutenant governor with regard to the election office is to uphold the law as it stands. That will be my role. My personal feelings are irrelevant as well. I suspect when it comes to modernizing, the Legislature will have a role in that as well," he said.
Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, asked Cox if there was anything in his background that might potentially embarrass the governor and he said there is not.
Not all of the questions directed at Cox were of a serious nature. Sen. John Valentine, one of the senior members of the Senate, pressed Cox for his taste in base guitarists, wanting to know who his favorite was.
Cox, who plays the bass, cited his brother-in-law Travis Osmond, son of Merrill Osmond, as his favorite guitarist.
The 38-year-old attorney also noted Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, wanted to make sure the soon-to-be-state executive had an appetite for rubber chicken, given the many roles he may potentially be asked to play in representing the governor.