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Governor Names New General Counsel, DWS Director

Salt Lake City, Utah - Utah Governor Jon Huntsman announced Tani Pack Downing as the new General Counsel in the Office of the Governor. Downing currently serves as the Executive Director of the Department of Workforce Services.

Governor Huntsman has named Kristen Cox, former Secretary of Disabilities for Maryland, as Downing's replacement at Workforce Services.

"I am honored and excited about this new opportunity and Governor Huntsman's confidence in my abilities," Downing said. "I'm proud of the department and all we have accomplished over the past two years. The staff of this department and the work being done is as innovative as the work is important and I am grateful to have had such dedicated and compassionate people to work with and learn from."

Downing is a licensed attorney who served as the general counsel for the Department of Workforce Services before becoming Executive Director. She has a very broad legal background which has included private practice in Nevada and Hawaii, corporate law practice in Utah, and seven years as Associate General Counsel with the Utah Legislature. While with the Utah Legislature, Downing drafted bills and provided legal counsel in many areas such as public utilities, information technology, weapons, judiciary, tax, business labor and economic development, energy and natural resources, and state and local government.

"Tani has served brilliantly at DWS and has been an integral part of this administration's cabinet," Governor Huntsman said. "She has earned the trust and respect of her colleagues throughout state government and brings a wealth of knowledge to this office. I am grateful for her willingness to serve in this new capacity."

Cox was the Lt. Governor running mate to Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich in 2006. Cox graduated with a BA in educational psychology and with a certificate in special education from Brigham Young University and then served as President for the Utah chapter of the National Federation of the Blind. In 1998 Cox moved to Baltimore to coordinate and lead the Federation's legislative efforts on Capitol Hill and across its 50 affiliates.

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In 2001 she was appointed by President George W. Bush as Special Assistant to the Commissioner of Rehabilitation Services Administration in the U.S. Department of Education where she helped developed national initiatives to promote the employment and independence of individuals with disabilities. In 2003 Governor Ehrlich of Maryland selected her to establish the nation's first cabinet-level Department of Disabilities of its kind in the country and then to become its head.

"I am so pleased that Kris has chosen to come back here and join Utah's public service ranks," Governor Huntsman said. "From lobbying and advocacy to running a department to coordinate and evaluate programs, Kris' knowledge and experience are broad and I look forward to working more closely with her."

Cox will be here March 12 to begin working with the department. She will relocate permanently to Utah with her family in June.

"I am thrilled to be able to return to Utah and lead the Department of Workforce Services," Cox said. "So many good things are happening in the department and I am excited to be able to engage in issues such as eligibility consolidation and employee training."

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