Utah Gov. Spencer Cox names Salt Lake County Council member to lead new Office of Families

Aimee Winder Newton will keep her elected post while serving in a senior role with the state.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Aimee Winder Newton speaks with Gov. Spencer Cox in August. Winder Newton starts a new job with the state this week.

A Republican Salt Lake County Council member will step into a senior role with the state while keeping her elected position in county government, the governor’s office announced Wednesday.

District 3 council member Aimee Winder Newton will take on the job of senior adviser to Gov. Spencer Cox and director of Utah’s new Office of Families.

She has represented Taylorsville, Murray, West Jordan and West Valley City on the council since 2014 and will retain her part-time position on that body.

“Aimee is an effective leader with an impressive track record of visionary thinking, influence, execution and public service,” Cox said in a news release. “I’m grateful she’s willing to take on this new responsibility to support and strengthen all families of Utah.”

The office aims to coordinate government services to assist parents and children.

“The purpose of this office is not to inject more government into families,” Cox said in his State of the State address. “It is the exact opposite. It is to make sure that government policies are not harming families and that we are coordinating government services to help parents and children succeed.”

Winder Newton begins overseeing that effort Thursday.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with the Cox-Henderson administration as we look for ways to strengthen families in Utah,” Winder Newton said in the release. “We recognize families come in various shapes and sizes and our focus will be on ALL families — traditional two-parent families, grandparents raising their grandchildren, LGBTQ couples with children, foster families, single parent families and more.”

Reached by phone Wednesday, Winder Newton confirmed she will continue to seek reelection and said she was confident she will be able to serve her constituents effectively while carrying out her state job.

Winder Newton faces two challengers in her bid for another term on the nine-member County Council this November. To retain her seat, she will need to defeat Democrat Ashley R. Liewer and United Utah Party candidate Kerry Soelberg.