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Governor Cox is visiting a school in each county throughout Utah to speak to students and hear their concerns. On October 24th, 2022, the Governor toured Timpview. He answered student questions covering his desire to get out of the office and meet with as many Utahns across the state as possible, from his goal to combat mental health crises in youth, to his attempts to raise and retain future teachers in Utah.

Timpview kickstarted the Governor’s tour with raucous applause, leading him through a procession of cheering students as their drum line played him in. 

Principal Momi Tu’ua led Governor Spencer Cox and First Wife Abby Cox across their school, visiting a few teachers displaying a variety of great programs and activities the school offers in its diverse population. The Governor then met with the school government to address his intention to visit and ask for their help reaching out to students struggling with mental illness, a contemporary national issue among youth.

“I struggled with mental illness in high school,” Governor Cox shared. “My parents divorced around then. I was bullied. Some older students dumped me into a garbage can– if you can believe that– and I thought that maybe things would be easier for others if I wasn’t around.

“I am here to tell you that I couldn’t have been more wrong. I am here to tell you that it gets better.” 

Students discussed how to start conversations with students who might be under duress and examined options for outreach; through the HOPE Squad, the SafeUT Crisis app and hotline, and staff intervention, Governor Cox helped prepare students to care for their peers. 

Governor Cox explained that his goal in visiting is to speak to Utahns from all walks of life. 

“I want to make sure that I can visit students every day,” Governor Cox said.

“This is why I do what I do. When I hear your comments and concerns, at your age, I’m reminded that the future is in good hands.”

The Governor took a small break to take pictures and converse with students individually before he and the First Lady met with a larger student body in Timpview’s auditorium to answer questions. 

Students asked questions about his personal and professional life. One student mentioned their government interest and asked how the Governor and the First Lady balances work with family life. 

“Being the First Lady becomes a full-time job,” Abby Cox said. “We make time using a family calendar to meet– we’ve got three kids at college– and we create fun where we can. But we also try to enjoy working out of the office. While hiking, we met some students from Kearns high school, so we invited them for dinner to chat and learn more about their lives and concerns.” 

Another student from Provo’s Latinos in Action group asked what he believed the state expectation should be for language acquisition. 

“The issue matters greatly to me in preparing students for professional and academic life. Our state speaks more languages per capita than any other state, making a massive difference in hiring companies and universities. We recently visited Dubai and Israel, and both expressed interest in our state’s linguistic abilities.” 

” But, to answer your question– your school is a prime example of a school that handles language acquisition well.”

Governor Cox and the First Lady said that the state’s diversity is integral to why our state flourishes, mentioning that the language courses and cultural clubs are essential to making Utah a great place to live.

The last question Governor Cox answered came from a student asking what issues the state faced regarding education and how he intended to address said issues. The Governor said that one central goal in improving education was to elevate funding for urban and rural areas, ensuring equitable budgetary allocations for all.

“We’re also dealing with a Teacher Shortage. We have some of the best teachers in the world, and if we want to retain some of our teachers, we should compensate them well.”

Students and Teachers alike cheered.

“I also want students like you to take courses and see the value in Teaching; it’s students like you that will become our next generation of educators. We need you.”

He concluded with a short statement.

“I believe there is no better time or place to receive an education. If I had to select a location to learn, it would be Utah. I said this earlier, and it’s worth repeating; I believe in you. These visits remind me that our state is in good hands. Thank you.”

Spencer Tuinei
  • Communication Specialist
  • Spencer Tuinei