Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox appoints new chief of staff, elections director

Kirsten Rappleye is new chief of staff; Justin Lee is new state elections officer.<br>

(Courtesy, office of Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox) Kirsten Rappleye, new chief of staff to Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox.

Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox announced Tuesday he is hiring Kirsten Rappleye — currently the spokeswoman for Gov. Gary Herbert — as his new chief of staff.

He also appointed Justin Lee as his new state elections officer, promoting him from assistant director.

Justin Lee, new state elections director for Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox.

Both of those positions had been held by Mark Thomas, who leaving to become chief of staff of the Utah Senate.

“I’m thrilled to have Kirsten and Justin join my senior staff,” Cox said. “They are sharp, driven individuals who will continue to be of great service to the state of Utah as they step into their new roles.”

Rappleye has overseen media relations, interagency communications and assisting with communications strategy for Herbert. From 2012 to 2016, she was majority assistant to the Utah Senate. She holds a degree in law and constitutional studies from Utah State University.

As chief of staff to Cox, she will advise him on policy and oversee the implementation of office initiatives and programs, boards and commissions and budget matters.

Lee has served as deputy director of elections since 2012. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Utah, and a master’s degree in political science from USU.

Cox also announced that Derek Brenchley will become the new deputy director of elections; Jennifer Storie is the new office administrator; and India Nielsen is newly appointed as an elections specialist.

The appointments are effective Nov. 18, 2017.