Spencer Cox // Republican // State: Governor (A)
1. How have the arts, culture, and/or humanities impacted your life?
Music, theater, and the humanities have played an important role in my life. I grew up acting in community theater, performing in choirs and playing multiple instruments. I still play the bass guitar in a garage band and have thoroughly enjoyed performing at local events in my hometown of Fairview. My kids also play multiple instruments and regularly perform in high school musicals and concerts. Our love of music and theater have given us an opportunity to bond together while providing expressive outlets that bring joy to others.
To further support the role arts and humanities can play in Utah, my wife Abby is the Chair of PBS Utah. She has found her work on that board to be a meaningful contribution to furthering the arts throughout Utah's communities, and bring joy through the wonderful programs PBS provides to viewers.
During my tenure as mayor of Fairview, we approved the renovation of the Peterson Dance Hall. This venue has been in our community for nearly 100 years due to the generosity of the Eccles Family and regularly hosts performance productions, recitals and pageants. As Lt. Governor, I welcomed Luis Miranda when he visited Utah during #EduHam, a “magical moment” for students in our state. This educational experience underscored the significance of the arts and humanities, especially for rural and minority students.
I believe music and the arts have a way of bringing people together as neighbors, friends, and society because it crosses all barriers and ideology. Artistic expression speaks to the soul, takes out the noise of daily challenges and allows you to feel, enjoy and find peace.
2. Utah's humanities and arts employ 123,000 Utahns, provide $4.4 billion in earnings, and $13.2 billion in sales. This is a larger economic impact than agriculture, mining, and real estate. Do you consider the arts and cultural sector an economic driver in Utah?
3. I support...
-Grants to be used for operations (jobs) as soon as possible
-Keeping emergency loans open to nonprofits
-Increasing availability of loans to cultural businesses (nonprofit and for-profit)
-Fiscally responsible government investment in arts and humanities organizations
-Facilitating partnerships between tourism and culture
-Reducing regulations of creative businesses
-Capital investment (in museums, performance/concert halls, studios, galleries, nonprofit office space, etc.)
-Ensuring existing fund balances are preserved for recreation, cultural organizations, and parks
-Percent for public art programs, which optionally designate 1% of government capital costs for public art
-Allowing municipalities to set design standards
-K-6 Students should have increased exposure to arts and humanities education
-7-12 Students should have increased exposure to arts and humanities education
-The Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program which puts one arts specialist in most elementary schools
-The POPS (Professional Outreach Program in the Schools) which sends 13 professional arts organizations to all UT school districts
-The iSEE (Informal Science Educational Enhancement) which sends 10 professional science, zoological, and natural history organizations to all UT school districts
4. Fiscally responsible government investment in the arts and humanities (including humanities and arts education) means to me:
Fiscally responsible government investment in the arts means strategically investing in ways that provide cultural opportunities to residents while also providing a high economic return for the taxpayer. Dollars invested by the state that attract direct and indirect economic activity are wise and should continue. The opportunities created by the availability of arts and humanities to a community cannot be overstated. The arts bring people together in ways no other sector can and add to the quality of life of our communities, cities and state. My answers contained within this questionnaire are prefaced on two underlying assumptions. One, during difficult economic times (such as the case now) sectors that rely on public support should prepare for less funding to be available. Even during times of prosperity, it is not fiscally responsible to fund every effort. Two, being from a small, rural county, I don’t believe that every county needs a RAP tax. Rather, I support allowing local citizens the opportunity to decide for themselves. I have seen firsthand the impact of the RAP tax in my hometown of Fairview, one of the few rural towns that have voted in favor of RAP.