Record editorial: Summit County is rooting for new governor’s success
For the first time in more than a decade, Utah has a new leader.
On Monday, Republican Spencer Cox was sworn in as governor, completing a remarkable political rise that saw him go from the Sanpete County Commission to the state’s highest office in eight years.
Summit County was one of the few places in the state that did not help Cox capture the governor’s mansion, with voters here unsurprisingly supporting his Democratic opponent. As Cox takes the reins of the state during a tumultuous time, however, all Summit County residents should be cheering for his success.
It’s hard to imagine an incoming governor entering office under more difficult circumstances, even if they’re ones that Cox had, as lieutenant governor, already been grappling with. The coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 1,300 Utahns continues to run rampant. The vaccination campaign that could end the suffering is itself a daunting challenge, requiring extraordinary planning and coordination. The state’s economic recovery, meanwhile, remains fragile, as do the livelihoods of thousands of Utah families. Merely climbing out of the economic hole will be difficult, while it could take years for the state to glimpse pre-pandemic levels of prosperity.
Those crises are in addition to the usual pressing matters like bolstering public education, addressing environmental issues and solving inequalities that result in some Utahns perpetually being left behind.
As Cox navigates those challenges, we are all rooting for him. Because his successes will be the state’s successes, and his failures, likewise, will be ours, too.
Even as they wish him well, many voters in Summit County, one of the state’s Democratic strongholds, are under no illusion that he will be their champion. Cox is a Republican and will govern as such. The area’s progressives will invariably find themselves frustrated from time to time with his leadership.
When that happens, they should speak up. And if, four years from now, they don’t think Cox has been up to snuff, they should do what they did in November and vote for somebody else.
For now, though, he has earned an open mind and well wishes.
The governor, for his part, should seek to lead in a way that people of both political parties can be proud of, even if there will never be consensus on major issues. He should hold state agencies accountable, be a voice for the most vulnerable residents, foster a spirit of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill and use his bully pulpit to push, always, for the interests of ordinary Utahns.
If he does that — in short, govern with a spirit of service and purpose — Cox will have the respect of Summit County residents even if he doesn’t earn all of their votes should he run again four years from now.
Utah, hopefully, will flourish under his leadership. Perfection is an impossible standard, particularly given the circumstances he is up against, not to mention the subjectivity of that word when applied to politics. But in Summit County, we are pulling hard for him as he takes the helm of our beloved state.
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