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New Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox enjoys brief homecoming

Published: Friday, Oct. 25 2013 9:00 p.m. MDT

During the 2013 Legislature, Cox made a name for himself by calling for impeachment proceedings against embattled GOP Attorney General John Swallow. The House is currently investigating Swallow.

"One of the things the governor said he liked about me was that I wasn't a typical Salt Lake City politician. That means a lot," Cox said. "I don't want to become one, either."

'A hard worker'

That won't happen, according to those who know him best.

"He's very well grounded," said Cox's father, Eddie, a former mayor of Fairview who worked with his son at CentraCom. "He's not going to let this go to his head. I know he can handle it."

Eddie Cox said his own political experience may have influenced his son, the eldest of eight, but he was always an overachiever, getting up early to work on the family farm and keeping up with current events even as a child.

"I'm not sure I taught him a whole lot. He just kind of came that way. He is a hard worker," Eddie Cox said, recalling how his son impressed other rural telecommunications executives from Utah during a lobbying trip to Washington, D.C.

One executive told him, "You'd better enjoy Spencer Cox being your son because it won't be too many years before you'll be known as Spencer Cox's father," Eddie Cox recalled. "And that's the way it's turned out."

Fairview Mayor Jonathan Benson, who helped talk Spencer Cox into making his first run for public office to fill a City Council vacancy, said his longtime friend is down to earth.

"He doesn't get caught up in the limelight," Benson said. "He'll keep it real."

Even Ephraim Mayor David Parrish, who thought he'd easily beat Cox in last year's race for the House District 58 seat, had nothing but praise for his former political rival.

"I think the world of Spencer. He's a good man. But I still didn't like getting beat," Parrish said, calling Cox's overwhelming victory at the GOP convention a shock. "Spencer just did a better job. That was my learning curve."

Parrish said he was unable to find anything negative about his opponent.

"If there is, I didn't get to find out about it. And I mean that. I just didn't find anything bad about him. He is sharp. His is strategic. He is able to communicate with people," he said.

A hometown hero

Cox said he's happy for the impact his appointment is having on the area.

"This is a big deal. Sometimes we have a little bit of a 'little brother' complex in rural Utah," he said. "This means as much to the people of Sanpete County as it does to me."

At Friday's open house, residents of Fairview and neighboring communities lined up to offer their congratulations.

"We've got great hopes for him," said Diana Compton, who retired with her husband, Raymond, to nearby Milburn. "I already told him I want to be invited to the inauguration. President Cox sounds really good to us."

Email: lisa@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsPolitics

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