Gov. Spencer Cox delivered his State of the State address on Jan. 19, addressing issues related to education, social media, family and more.
Although the state-of-the-state speech has been held since 1852, “this is the first time elected officials of the Legislature have been accompanied on the floor of the House of Representatives by their children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews and other young family members.” Cox said.
Cox said he wanted to speak to youth specifically about the pursuit of happiness. Recent polls showed that more young people than ever believe “their generation will be worse off than their parents,” Cox said. He said the common root between his generation and youth is fear.
“If there’s one message I can give you, it’s this. The future of our country is not in the stars. It is up to us, the free men and women of Utah, to dictate our destiny,” Cox said.
Cox asked lawmakers for help to make 2023 the “Year of the Teacher” by investing in them. He also called for a weighted pupil unit (WPU) increase of at least 5% and the largest salary increase in state history for any teacher. One way everyone can help teachers is by thanking them, Cox said.
Cox also said he wants to ensure future generations can continue to call Utah home by providing them with affordable housing to live in.
“We can build more and do it in a way that doesn’t affect the quality of life,” said Cox. He said he is working with Sen. Lincoln Fillmore and Rep. Stephen Whyte to help Utah increase supply and lower housing costs.
In response to a report that predicted the Great Salt Lake would dry up in five years, Cox said, “Let me be absolutely clear, we’re not going to let that happen.” A few months ago, Cox asked for $5 million for the Flood defenses that he can hopefully use with the snowpack Utah has received.
He also proposed an additional $500 million for water conservation investments. He also urged the people of Utah to come together and ask for drought help. “Look, I believe that God can fill the lake. But if not, then we have to,” said Cox.
youth and social media
Cox said one of the biggest challenges young people face is the dangers of social media. He works with lawmakers to stop social media companies from collecting data from children.
“To the social media companies who have ruthlessly protected our youth, the parents of Utah bring this to your attention. If you insist on fighting us, rest assured that we are more than ready for a fight and will win. Or you can join us and be part of the solution,” said Cox.
Cox said he and his wife have a bold goal of supporting foster families and recruiting more families to take in foster children. He also plans to extend Medicaid coverage to 12 months after childbirth and asked people to help him do more for people who have been victims of domestic violence.
Cox said the best way Utah can support families is by giving back more of their tax dollars. He proposed a $1 billion tax break for the people of Utah. “We can and must enable Utah residents to keep more of their hard-earned dollars to combat the rising cost of living,” said Cox.
He said true happiness comes from faith, family, friends, and work that serves others. He urged young people to embrace the pursuit of happiness like never before as the government works to protect their right to pursue happiness.
“May God bless the great state of Utah and the young people who make it great,” said Cox.