Gov. Spencer Cox spoke of an ideal America in his 2022 State of the State address speech on Jan. 20.
“Welcome to our beautiful state,” Cox said, addressing new residents of Utah. “Please don’t attempt to change us into the place you just left.”
He talked about a few “silver linings” of the COVID-19 pandemic, namely mentioning that Utah has the sixth-lowest hospitalization rate in the nation and that the rate is less than half of the national average. He praised Utah’s “tremendous medical and public health workers.”
On the topic of education, Cox proposed more than $970 million in funding with a focus on at-risk and disadvantaged students. He also proposed the elimination of all school fees for the basic coursework required for graduation. He said this legislation, being drafted by Rep. Adam Robertson, will save Utah families approximately $55 million each year.
He also asked listeners to support Sen. Ann Millner’s bill to make sure every child has the reading foundation necessary for success.
“A child’s zip code should never determine their future or their opportunities,” Cox said.
In support of saving the Great Salt Lake, Cox expressed full commitment to bills carried by Reps. Robert Spendlove, Ray Ward and Brad Wilson to prioritize water storage and improve water conservation.
“This past year was one of the driest on record, with 98% of the state experiencing extreme drought conditions,” Cox said. “Utahns stepped up in a big way, conserving billions of gallons of water to help us through this crisis.”
He asked legislators to support new bills spearheaded by Reps. Joel Ferry, Steve Waldrip, Joel Briscoe and Jake Anderegg to remove government regulations that increase Utah’s housing prices.
Cox encouraged support in the removal of many state and local economic incentives under bills carried by Reps. Mike Schultz and Steve Handy.
“In fact, our Unified Economic Opportunity Commission will be presenting 26 new policy initiatives, including bills on workforce development, education alignment with industry, housing availability, a better start-up ecosystem, reimagining rural economics, bolstering international trade, multicultural economic empowerment and bridging opportunity gaps,” Cox said.
He told listeners to vote for legislation sponsored by Sen. David Hinkins and Rep. Carl Albrecht to help Utah become the nation’s leader in sustainable energy development. He said 28 of the world’s 35 most critical minerals can be found right here in our state, allowing us to show the world how to responsibly harness natural resources.
Cox then asked for support for the Utah Health Collaborative, which he convened in November. This collaborative is an initiative that Cox prescribed with the goal of lowering the cost of healthcare and improving health outcomes to create a system focused on not just healthcare, but health.
He also discussed election integrity, warning voters to “beware of false choices.” Cox expressed support to Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, and said he knows she will continue this model of election integrity.
He concluded his speech encouraging listeners, including those of different races and political affiliations than himself, to hold on to the idea of America. He explained he believes in the promise of what America could be and not what it is at the moment.
“Please don’t give up on the idea of America,” Cox said.
The full recording of his speech can be found online.