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Politics & Government

In Short Address, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox Lays Out Priorities For The State And Calls For Unity

A photo of Spencer Cox.
Jeffrey D. Allred
Deseret News
Gov. Spencer Cox, gets ready to give his first State of the State address on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2020.

In his first State of the State address, Gov. Spencer Cox said Utah’s current state is, in a word, “hopeful.”

Cox laid out his priorities and hopes for the year in a speech that lasted about 15 minutes — about half as long as some given by his predecessor, former Gov. Gary Herbert.

For Cox, that includes increasing funding for education and making it through the COVID-19 pandemic.

After last year’s protests against racial injustice, Cox also said the state needs to work towards a more equitable future.

“Putting up a sign or joining a rally isn’t enough,” he said. “The best way we can bring to life the American promise — of liberty and justice for all — is to make sure that every single child, brown or Black, rural or urban has the same opportunity as every other child.”

Sen. Luz Escamilla, D-Salt Lake City, was one of the Democratic lawmakers who responded to his speech.

In a video, she agreed Utah can do more to address systemic racism.

“While the promises and considerations of reform for a more equitable future are significant, it will be critical that we hold all elected officials accountable to finding meaningful solutions,” Escamilla said.

Lastly, Cox called for Utahns to come together, especially after what he referred to as the “contempt, tribalism and discord” in recent weeks.

“Instead of posting one more time on Facebook, walk across the street and check on your neighbor,” he said. “Instead of listening to another talking or screaming head on cable news, try listening to a new friend who looks or thinks a little different than you.”

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