The lieutenant governor and GOP gubernatorial candidate Spencer Cox, along with his running mate Utah Senator Deidre Henderson, stopped by the Spin Cafe in Heber City on Wednesday to meet with local residents. The event provided an opportunity for Cox and Henderson to discuss issues important to Wasatch County. Cox also visited the Kohler Dairy Farm earlier in the day.
A native of rural Fairview, Utah, Cox has made it a goal to visit each of Utah’s 248 cities and towns during his campaign for governor. He currently continues to reside in Fairview, commuting 200 miles almost every day to work in Salt Lake City. One of his main priorities is strengthening rural economies.
Cox discussed the growth-related challenges that rural Utah is facing and emphasized that infrastructure must be in place ahead of growth to manage growth more effectively. “There are a couple of things that are really important, and one is we want to maintain our quality of life, … and when infrastructure precedes growth, the quality of life stays high. Where growth precedes infrastructure, the quality of life goes down,” according to Cox. He added that the type of growth and where it happens is also important. “For example, we need localized opportunities,” he stated. However, Cox mentioned that the ability to work from home more, due to the COVID pandemic, has had its own benefits. “That is one way to change growth patterns,” he suggested.
When asked about the balance between strengthening rural economies and preserving open space, he said that “the best way to preserve open space is to work with agriculture and make sure that our agricultural communities can succeed.” He mentioned the many dairy farms that used to be in the Heber Valley, of which there are very few left. “There are things we can do to preserve [those lands] for future generations and keep farming happening. . . . Making sure food is produced [in our state] is critical, and that’s one way to preserve open spaces.” Cox said that they are working with the agricultural community to incentivize farming, thus encouraging land to be passed down to later generations without being developed.
COVID-19, mental health, and education funding were also among the many topics discussed at the event. To learn more about the lieutenant governor’s initiatives for Utah, go to: https://ltgovernor.utah.gov/