The Ripon Forum

Volume 55, No. 1

March 2021

Ripon Profile of Spencer Cox

By on March 17, 2021

Name: Spencer J. Cox

Occupation: Governor of Utah

Book(s) you’ve read that you’re recommending to friends: A Time to Build by Yuval Levin, Them by Ben Sasse, Love Your Enemies by Arthur Brooks, The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, Born a Crime by Trevor Noah, Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, and too many more…

Lesson(s) in life that you’re now trying to impress upon your kids: Hard work makes life easier (i.e. stop complaining about the farm). Kindness, humility and empathy first. Politics last. Avoid a scarcity mindset and practice abundance — put other people first. Always be honest and self-aware. Most people would prefer to spend time around a deeply flawed person who knows it rather than an almost perfect person who thinks they are.

Top priorities during your first term as Utah’s Governor: The only thing that matters right now is getting Utahns vaccinated against COVID-19. But we’ve also got an ambitious 500-day plan we’re calling the One Utah Roadmap. The Roadmap sets major goals around strengthening Utah’s economy, investing in education, improving rural infrastructure and economic future, improving health outcomes and access, expanding equity and opportunity to women and people of color, and streamlining and modernizing state government. We’ve assigned teams to tackle each priority and report back every two weeks, and I’m thrilled by how much we’ve accomplished already.

During the campaign last year, you recorded joint ads with your Democratic opponent to promote civility. What’s wrong with our political discourse today and how do we fix it? All too often in public debate today, those who hold different political views are demonized and vilified. Instead of focusing on weak policies or strategic flaws, attacks have become personal and hateful, preventing us from finding common ground and solutions. As leaders, we need to lean into persuasion, steer clear of character assassination and revive the art of the compromise.

Finally, a prediction – how are the Jazz going to do this year? As a lifelong Jazz fan, I try to never get my hopes too high. But there is mounting evidence that this is the best Jazz team ever. And this past 20+ games has been one of the best runs in NBA history. But I’m a little superstitious and don’t dare jinx it with a prognostication.

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