SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert formally appointed Derrin Owens, of Fountain Green, to the Utah House of Representatives on Monday.

The longtime Juab High School educator will replace former Rep. Jon Cox, who resigned in early July to become the governor's communications director.

Owens will serve District 58, which includes Sanpete and eastern Juab counties.

“His experience as a teacher, school counselor and rancher have prepared him to effectively serve the people of Sanpete and Juab counties,” Herbert said in a prepared statement. “I am confident that in his new legislative role, he will continue to be a strong voice for Utah’s rural communities.”

Owens, a school counselor and part-time rancher, has worked at Juab High School for 23 years.

He secured the nomination from Republican delegates in the central Utah district last month, beating out four other candidates.

"I am anxious to contribute all I can as a member of the House of Representatives,” Owens said in the statement.

Owens will become the fourth person to hold the House 58 seat in three years. Cox, his predecessor, replaced Spencer Cox, his distant cousin, who left to become lieutenant governor.

Spencer Cox was elected to the seat after Rep. Stephen Sandstrom left office in 2012 to run for Congress.

— Daphne Chen