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|Executive Director for the Utah Department of Workforce Services|
Kristen Cox (born Kristen Eyring in 1969, Bellevue, Washington) is a blind American politician and current Executive Director for the Utah Department of Workforce Services. Previously Cox served as Maryland Secretary of Disabilities. Kris Cox was the running mate of Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich in the Maryland 2006 gubernatorial election.
Early life, career, and family
Cox was born in Bellevue, Washington. While growing up in Utah, Cox gradually lost most of her vision starting about age 11 due to a degenerative genetic condition caused by "a rare recessive trait," (Stargardt's disease), so she had to use a white cane for walking.
She attended Brigham Young University, where she had to memorize everything because she had not yet learned Braille. Cox received her B.A. in educational psychology with a certificate in special education in 1995. A devout member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Cox spent eighteen months prior to graduation as a Mormon missionary in Brazil.
Marriage and family
Currently Cox lives in Utah with her husband Randy and their two sons, Tanner and Riley. In a 1998 article for the National Federation of the Blind, Randy credits her with changing perceptions about blindness. Randy described an experience he had as a highschooler assisting a man who had become almost completely helpless after becoming blind. He contrasted this with meeting Kristen in 1992, and being most impressed with a blind woman who could cross the street easily, order at restaurants, and was a top student and international traveller. Randy stated:
- her example changed my perception of blindness forever. Had I never met her, I would probably still hold the beliefs I developed from my high school experience.
After graduation, Cox went to work for the Utah chapter of the National Federation of the Blind. In 1998 Cox moved to Baltimore to become Assistant Director of Governmental Affairs for the national organization.
In 2001 she was appointed by President George W. Bush as Special Assistant to the Commissioner of Rehabilitation Services Administration in the United States Department of Education "where she helped developed national initiatives to promote the employment and independence of individuals with disabilities."
She joined the Ehrlich administration in 2003 as Director of the Office for Individuals with Disabilities. On July 1, 2004 she was confirmed by the Maryland State Senate as Secretary of the nation's first cabinet-level Department of Disabilities.
On March 5, 2007, it was announced that she would replace Tani Pack Downing as the Executive Director for the Department of Workforce Services in Utah.
2006 Maryland gubernatorial election
For more information, see Maryland gubernatorial election, 2006.
|This section requires expansion. (May 2008)|
- NFB.org publications
- Maryland Archives biography
- An inside look at Kristen Cox — Ehrlich’s advocate for the disabled
- Ehrlich Picks Cabinet Member Cox for Ticket
- Kristin Cox TV ad for Bob Ehrlich