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Gov. Gary Herbert's top spokesman is leaving the office to become vice president of government affairs at Rocky Mountain Power.

Jon Cox had served as communications director and a senior adviser to Herbert since last July, when Cox resigned his state House seat to join the governor's staff. He had previously been a Sanpete County Commissioner.

Cox will lead Rocky Mountain Power's government-affairs operations in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming.

Cox is replacing Neil Ashdown, who was former chief of staff to Jon Huntsman, both in his time as governor in Utah and U.S. Ambassador to China. Ashdown died suddenly in his sleep earlier this year.

"We are fortunate to have someone with Jon's broad background and strong depth of knowledge to help us work with state leaders and look out for the interests of our customers," Rocky Mountain president and CEO Cindy Crane said in a statement.

Cox also served as a constituent liaison for U.S. Senator Bob Bennett and an assistant professor of history at Snow College.

Jeff Barrett, who has been deputy director of the Governor's Office of Energy Development since 2014, is also joining Rocky Mountain Power as a strategic affairs adviser.

Barrett will provide technical advice involving customer service, regulation and legislation as Rocky Mountain Power seeks to provide innovative solutions for its customers.

Robert Gehrke