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Davis Journal

Governor encourages unity to bridge the divide in America

Sep 02, 2022 11:49AM ● By Becky Ginos

KAYSVILLE—From race issues to housing, Gov. Spencer Cox addressed a variety of topics at a town hall hosted by the Davis Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday. It was one of the stops the governor and first lady Abby Cox made as they visited Davis County. After the town hall, they were scheduled to take a tour of the receiving center in Farmington where law enforcement can bring people they have arrested for drug offenses in for treatment. 

“Organizations like this (chamber) are important,” said Gov. Cox. “The root cause of the divide we’re seeing is the loss of institutions in our nation. The U.S. is very unique. We have powerful institutions here. I know we’re not a perfect institution but it holds us together and holds us accountable to keep each other in check.”

It’s not designed to solve all the problems, it’s designed so no one has too much power, he said. “I have so many good ideas but I’m lucky if in two or three years the legislature passes a messed up version of my good ideas.”

Groups like the chamber and rotary bring people together, said Gov. Cox. “We learn from each other and that makes our country a good place.”

Faith based institutions and churches also bring people together, he said. “It’s people who are similar but different. The poorest of the poor and the richest of the rich worship together. It’s imperfect people trying to get better.”

Church attendance is at its lowest in the country, said Gov. Cox. “People don’t belong to faith communities. What’s left is that we are lonelier than ever before. We’re wired for connection. How are we finding connection now? Through social media. We have fake friends on Facebook and Twitter and we can all hate the same people together.”

The governor also addressed growth and the need for more housing. “Utah growth is a good thing,” he said. “Most parents want their kids and grandkids to live close to them. We want them to live by us, not with us in the basement.”

High density is not a bad thing if it’s done correctly, said Gov. Cox. “Places where there is significant infrastructure like FrontRunner and Trax stations are a great place for high density. For example Daybreak. There are big houses, smaller houses, duplexes and apartments. They have parks and corner shops. It’s an innovative design.”

The issue of race also came up during the Q&A portion of the town hall. “The BYU incident is deeply troubling,” the governor said. “Those issues are toxic and unhealthy in so many ways. People get defensive and it’s hard to have a good conversation. Conversely, people pull back and say ‘I can’t do anything about this, why try?’ That’s not helpful and doesn’t move the needle at all.”

Gov. Cox listed several things the state has done to improve equity and opportunity. “I believe every single American should have the same opportunities,” he said. “If you go to a school in West Valley instead of in Park City, kids don’t have the same opportunities. If you look at your tax notice you’ll see a big chunk goes to the school district. That’s what I’m trying to fix.”

It’s hard to hate up close, said Gov. Cox. “I can’t make someone not be a racist. Being racist is pretty awful. Calling someone the N-word, I’m not going to be nice to you. We have to find ways to come together and listen and just talk.”

Ninety-nine percent of the people in the state are not racist, he said. “We’re nice people. It’s a mistake to think politicians can fix this. How can we fix this? Get off Facebook and Twitter. Go to the schools and find kids who are struggling. Teach your kids this is not acceptable. Help one another.” λ