Editor’s note: Big Tent Ideas always aims to provide balancing perspectives on the hottest issues of the day. Below is a column arguing that Utah’s Republican Party has a robust track record of conservative leadership on a range of issues. A counterpoint can be found here, where longtime D.C. and Utah politico Jared Whitley argues that the state has a RINO problem.
Last year, the conservative-leaning American Legislative Exchange Council, with Dr. Arthur Laffer, published its “Report on Economic Freedom,” ranking America’s governors based on their economic policies. Unsurprisingly, Govs. Gavin Newsom and Andrew Cuomo were right near the bottom. Gov. Kristi Noem came in first place, with Gov. Ron DeSantis third.
For anyone who knows Governor Cox personally, this is no surprise. I first met Spencer Cox almost a decade ago when we served together in the Utah House of Representatives. A fellow like-minded conservative, we quickly became friends. I marveled at his ability to apply conservative principles to some of our state’s most challenging issues, while always treating those who disagreed with him with civility and respect.
When Cox was sworn in as Utah’s 18th Governor, his administration immediately