Governor-elect Cox, Lt. Governor-elect Henderson Announce Key Staffers

Dec 2, 2020, 3:08 PM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Governor-elect Spencer Cox and Lt. Governor-elect Deidre Henderson appointed nine new members to their incoming administration, and most of them are familiar to Utah’s Capitol Hill.

The positions were announced in a news release from Governor-elect Cox’s office on Wednesday.

Brittney Cummins, who has been a member of the Utah State Board of Education since 2014, was appointed Senior Advisor for Education. Her primary focus will be equity in educational opportunity, read the news release.

Utah State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sydnee Dickson said Cummins was an excellent choice.

“We are very sorry to be losing Brittney Cummins’s valuable experience, thoughtfulness, and steady hand at the Utah State Board of Education. But we are equally delighted that she will continue to work improving conditions of equity and student outcomes in her position in the new administration.”

Sophia DiCaro was appointed as Senior Advisor and Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget. DiCaro currently serves as the Chief Compliance Officer for the Cynosure Group, and was previously the Deputy Director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

Senator Dan Hemmert was tapped as the next Director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

He has represented Senate District 14 since 2016 and is the current Senate Republican Majority Whip. He will resign from those positions if the Senate approves his appointment.

Hemmert also owns Red Hanger Cleaners and is a partner in several restaurants.

Senate President J. Stuart Adams said, “Sen. Hemmert is one of the most decent human beings and public servants I’ve had the honor of working with. Dan has been an outstanding majority whip, senator, colleague and friend, always collaborating to find the best policy for all Utahns. I’m very proud of our work, especially this past year, as he led the Public Health and Economic Emergency Commission providing essential COVID-19 input and recommendations.”

Adams urged the Utah County Republican Party to quickly submit a nominee for Hemmert’s replacement in the Senate so the Governor can approve it.

Stephen Lisonbee was appointed Senior Advisor of Rural Affairs. The news release said Lisonbee’s appointment fulfills a campaign promise to raise the profile of rural issues in the Cox administration.

Lisonbee will keep his job as Assistant Vice President of the Office of Regional Services at Southern Utah University.

Jen Robison, an advisor to Salt Lake County Councilor Aimee Winder, was appointed Chief of Staff for Lt. Governor-elect Henderson.

Governor-elect Cox tapped four people from the office of current Governor Gary Herbert, the release said.

Pamela Atkinson will stay on as Advisor to Cox. She has been an advisor to the past three governors and has advocated for the homeless and refugees.

Gordon Larsen will serve as Cox’s Senior Advisor for Federal Affairs. He worked as the Director of Federal Affairs and Director of Policy for Gov. Herbert.

Mike Mower, who currently acts as Deputy Chief of Staff for Herbert, has been selected as the Senior Advisor of Community Outreach and Intergovernmental Affairs for the Cox administration. He will oversee boards and commissions, constituent services, relations with counties, cities, and towns, nonprofits, faith groups, and other grassroots entities, the release explained.

Karen Peterson will take on the position of Legislative Liason and will collaborate with Henderson who will lead the new administration’s legislative work. She currently serves as the Education Advisor for Governor Herbert.

“We’ve recruited some of the best and brightest Utahns to join us as we strengthen our schools, our rural towns, and the overall quality of life here in Utah,” Cox said. “We welcome these fine individuals to public service and we’re grateful to have them on the team.”

Future staffing decisions will be announced later.

The incoming administration said they are still taking applications and gathering community ideas. More information can be found at the Governor-elect’s website.

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Governor-elect Cox, Lt. Governor-elect Henderson Announce Key Staffers