Provo mayor reflects on city’s recent awards

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Provo has a decade’s worth of business and job opportunity rankings to its name. For Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi, these newest rankings hit home.

Mayor Kaufusi is one of the only Provo mayors born and raised in the city, according to Provo’s website, and she is also the first woman to run it. During the past five years of service, the city of Provo has been nationally recognized multiple times.

In 2022, Provo earned several accolades, including #1 Top Performing City, #3 Most Affordable City to Live and Work In and #10 Most Educated City, according to their website.

“We are hitting rankings that we’ve never seen before, we are accomplishing huge projects that no one ever dreamed of,” Kaufusi said.

Of the rankings, Mayor Kaufusi said she is most proud of the top-performing city, awarded by the Milken Institute for the second consecutive year. The global nonprofit used economic factors, such as job creation and wage gains, to determine the results.

While the institute’s research process did include meeting with the mayor, she credited her staff and the many innovative students in Provo for the ranking.

“We are a college town, we have amazing people that are just these energetic, forward-thinking, who come up with these starter companies and boom, they go big,” Kaufusi said. “That’s something that puts us on the map.”

However, being the mayor of a college town also comes with challenges. Kaufusi said there is a mix of people who have lived here for generations and others who are only here for a short period of time to attend college or work a job.

“We do have a lot to navigate, and we do have to make sure that we’re not ignoring any of them,” she said. “It comes with a lot of stress, right? I worry about my employees, I worry about the community when things go wrong. I don’t know if it’s the maternal instinct in me but it keeps me up at night.”

As new rankings already hit the charts, it appears the mayor’s sleepless nights are paying off.

Mayor Kaufusi poses for her portrait in a park. Kaufusi is the first female mayor and has recently received many awards for the city. (Courtesy of Provo City)
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