Spencer Cox elected vice chairman of the Western Governors’ Association

Jun 17, 2024, 2:49 PM

Gov. Spencer Cox speaks at the Utah Virtual Academy High School commencement at Cottonwood High Sch...

Gov. Spencer Cox speaks at the Utah Virtual Academy High School commencement at Cottonwood High School in Murray on Wednesday, May 29, 2024. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

(Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Gov. Spencer Cox was tapped for leadership in an organization of governors of western states after serving as chairman of the National Governors Association for the past year.

The Western Governors’ Association announced Cox was elected as vice chairman of the organization on Friday. The Republican governor will serve with New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, as the chairwoman. Lujan Grisham has served as the vice chairwoman under Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon.

“Governors engage in practical politics, and I look forward to working on solutions with my fellow governors on the challenges we face in the West,” Cox said.

As chairwoman, Lujan Grisham announced she would focus on housing in western states.

“Too many working-class families lack access to housing that meets their needs, and it diminishes quality of life and threatens our vibrant economic growth,” she said. “We are laser-focused on removing obstacles, reducing development costs, and putting new resources and public land in play to deliver this badly needed housing.”

Housing affordability

Cox has focused in on housing affordability during the last year of his first term as Utah’s governor. Ahead of the 2024 legislative session, he pushed for policies to build 35,000 new starter homes in the state over the next several years. Lawmakers created a fund from the state treasurer’s account to provide low-interest loans to developments with 60% or more of the homes considered affordable.

Cox has used his role as chairman of the National Governors Association to promote his Disagree Better initiative, through which he has encouraged governors to record ads with members of the opposite political party in their state.

During meetings of the organization in Washington in February, Cox promoted the initiative during a press briefing at the White House alongside President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, the vice chairman of the National Governors Association.

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Spencer Cox elected vice chairman of the Western Governors’ Association