A closer look at the Cox/Henderson leadership appointments

The Cox/Henderson team has announced additional key cabinet members to serve with the new administration. They have pulled from the legislature, the current administration, the state school board, academia and local government.

Jen Robison will be leaving her role as senior policy advisor to Aimee Winder Newton to become Henderson’s chief of staff. Jen has many years of experience working in and around government. She was the political director for Better Days 2020 and the chair of the committee commissioning the Martha Hughes Cannon statue that will stand in Statuary Hall in Washington DC when Covid-days are over. She has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a master’s degree in Public Administration.

Former Representative Sophia DiCaro has been tapped to be the Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science and a Master’s of Public Administration (MPA). She has many years of experience with budget and planning, including time as the deputy director of GOED. She serves on numerous boards, including Primary Children’s Hospital Board of Trustees, Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute Advisory Board, USU Eastern Regional Advisory Board, Women’s Leadership Institute Advisory Board.

Brittney Cummins, a Utah State School Board member, educator and board chair of a charter school in West Valley City, joins the Cox/Henderson administration as the Senior Advisor for Education. She has a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education.

Current education advisor Karen Peterson will become the new legislative liaison, working closely with Lt. Governor-elect Deidre Henderson and members of the Utah Legislature. Karen has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a master’s degree in Public Administration. In addition, Karen is currently on the Clinton city council.

Stephen Lisonbee will be adding to his duties as the Assistant Vice President of the Office of Regional Services at Southern Utah University as he takes on the role of Senior Advisor of Rural Affairs. Stephen has experience with rural policies, natural resources and collaboration across jurisdictions. Prior to his work at SUU, he was the Division Director for Utah’s Workforce Development Division. He earned a Master’s of Business Administration and is a Certified Public Manager.

Gordon Larsen will be staying on as the Director of Federal Affairs and an active member of the Covid-response team. Gordon has worked in Washington D.C. in the offices of Congressmen Bishop and Stewart, as well as the U.S. Agency on Global Media before joining Governor Herbert’s staff. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from George Mason University and an MBA and law degree from the College of William and Mary.

Pamela Atkinson, known for her work with people experiencing homelessness, and more recently, Utah’s refugee population, stays on as an advisor to the Governor, the fourth in a line of Utah governors who have relied on her wisdom. Trained as a registered nurse and an Elder in the First Presbyterian Church, Pamela is a tireless advocate for the marginalized.

Mike Mower, all-around nice guy, will be joining the Cox/Henderson administration as the Senior Advisory of Community Outreach and Intergovernmental Affairs. He is charged with overseeing constituent services, and boards and commissions (sign up! They need you!). He will also oversee relations with local governments, nonprofits, faith groups and grassroots organizations. Mike earned a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Communication and followed that up by earning a law degree.

Senator Dan Hemmert will be stepping down from his role representing the people of Senate District 14 and will become the head of Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED). He earned a Bachelor’s degree, an MBA and a law degree from BYU. He is the owner of 21 Red Hanger dry cleaners.

Additional positions will continue to be filled as the transition team works to have the administration fully staffed and ready to get to work from Day One (in this case, January 4, 2021).