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Cox names cabinet, advisor picks

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Posted at 4:11 PM, Dec 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-21 18:11:04-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Governor-elect Spencer Cox has named some of his cabinet picks, reaching across the state to bring people in to Capitol Hill.

"Each has impeccable qualifications, brings fresh ideas and, most importantly, is devoted to public service. We’re lucky to have such brilliant minds willing to serve the public," Gov.-elect Cox said in a statement Monday.

They include:

  • Craig Buttars, Cache County Executive, who will be nominated to lead Utah's Department of Agriculture & Food.
  • Sanpete Co. Sheriff Brian Nielson, who has been named director of Utah's Department of Corrections.
  • St. George Mayor Jon Pike, who has been tapped to be Utah Insurance Dept. commissioner.
  • Cedar Hills Mayor Jenney Rees, who has been nominated to be executive director of Dept. of Administrative Services.
  • Margaret Busse, a professor at Brigham Young University and the former associate director of Social Enterprise Institute at Harvard Business School, has been nominated to lead Utah's Department of Commerce.
  • Office of Child Care and intergenerational poverty advisor Tracy Gruber has been nominated to be executive director of the Utah Department of Human Services.
  • Casey Cameron will be permanently appointed to lead Utah's Department of Workforce Services.
  • Rich Saunders will be named Executive Director of Utah's Department of Health.

Cabinet posts are subject to Utah State Senate approval. Utah Dept. of Transportation director Carlos Braceras will remain in his position, as will Public Safety Commissioner Jess Anderson; Veterans and Military Affairs director Gary Harter; Heritage/Arts director Jill Remington Love; Utah Labor Commissioner Jaceson Maughan; financial institutions commissioner Ed Leary; and Natural Resources director Brian Steed.

The governor tapped four people to serve as senior advisors (which don't need Senate approval). They are:

  • Nubia Peña, who is currently director of the Division of Multicultural Affairs, will take on a concurrent role as senior advisor on Equity and Opportunity.
  • Utah Clean Air Partnership director Thom Carter will serve as the governor's energy advisor.
  • Cox Chief of Staff Kirsten Rappleye will oversee First Lady Abby Cox's initiatives.
  • Boys & Girls Club of America's former business development director Shelly Smith will serve over Boards and Commissions.