Michelle Kaufusi was born and raised in a small Provo home by a single mom also raising seven other children, all while working a graveyard shift as a nurse.
“I often think to myself, it’s not necessarily just my mom that raised me. I feel like Provo raised me,” Kaufusi said.
Kaufusi’s first job was working on Provo Center Street, and she attended Provo High School and then Brigham Young University. Kaufusi and her husband, Steve Kaufusi — BYU football linebacker coach — decided they wanted to raise their 5 children in Provo.
Kaufusi said she and her five children have volunteered with many projects in Provo, including building playgrounds, working with the Food and Care Coalition and the Citizens Advisory Board.
Kaufusi was very involved in the school system, helping with the Parent Teacher Association, volunteering in classes, and starting an American College Testing, or ACT, class at Provo High School. Kaufusi said she wanted to be able to do more to help, so she decided to run for the Provo School Board.
“I’m a huge advocate for the underdog, it’s kind of where my heart goes, because growing up in Provo I was the underdog. I was the free-and-reduced-lunch kid,” Kaufusi said.
Kaufusi won the election to be part of school board, and one year later was nominated as president of the Provo School Board. As president, she was able to pass a bond to rebuild schools in Provo. She is now in her seventh year on the school board.
“The school board has really been a great training ground for taking on something new,” Kaufusi said.
Key platform points
“Even when I ran my first campaign eight years ago, I didn’t ever come in with an agenda. I wait and I let the people build my agenda,” said Kaufusi said who has been talking to people in Provo, knocking on doors and talking to neighborhood chairs to hear what the residents of Provo want.
Some of Kaufusi’s platform points are:
- Strong economic developments: Keep businesses in Provo, minimize business regulations, grow and keep retail in Provo.
- Strong neighborhoods: Listen to specific neighborhood concerns, build a grocery store on the west side of the freeway, protect neighborhoods.
- Strong engagement from the community: Ensure everyone is represented on city councils, get residents who have concerns to be engaged.
What BYU students should know
Kaufusi said she wants to get BYU students involved with Provo and hear what they want from the city. She has considered creating a second city council of students so the elected officials in Provo can hear what students think about the issues.
“I love the BYU students. We are a college town and if anyone tries to kick back against that, they’re crazy. That’s what makes us so great,” Kaufusi said.