Utah Governor Spencer Cox Weekly Newsletter - February 10, 2023

Government and Politics

February 11, 2023

From: Utah Governor Spencer Cox

Happy Friday from #OneUtah, a weekly update from the office of Gov. Spencer J. Cox. Here’s your recap of what we did this week, what's on the horizon, and more.

Spending time in our nation’s capital

This week we traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend the National Governors Association Winter Meetings. As vice chair of the NGA, it’s great to serve with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and work with him on his chairman’s initiative focused on youth mental health. We all need to continue to work with the young people in our families and communities to give them the tools they need to cope with stress and challenges. We also met with President Biden, Vice President Harris and governors from around the country to talk about challenges  and solutions to the problems we all face. 

While we were in Washington, we also met with Reps. Stewart, Curtis, Owens and Moore on Capitol Hill, the Republican Governors Association, a fantastic group of former Utahns who now live in Washington, several journalists and others. 

With each encounter, it’s such an honor to represent the great state of Utah and her incredible people! 

Visiting with the next generation of Utahns

Before the trip, we had the chance to meet with a few different groups of Utah’s young people including the Washington City Youth Council and the Utah Association of Student Council Officers. 

We had great conversations about social media, youth mental health, respecting others and civic engagement. The future of Utah is bright because of these young leaders. We always appreciate getting to meet with and talk about Utah with the rising generation.

"Utah Is Beginning to Free Its Workforce from Overregulation" Article

Why licensing reform matters

From start-ups to large corporations to governments, employers are struggling to recruit and retain employees. So how can states help address today’s tight labor market? One way is through reforming occupational licensing. 

Through our new Office of Professional Licensure Review, Utah is leading the way in licensing reform by routinely reviewing all occupational licenses. Loosening occupational-licensing requirements can help address tight labor markets while still protecting the public we serve. Read more here.

Concern about gas prices

We’ve seen another rise in gas prices in Utah and we issued the following statement: 

“Over the last week, Utahns have seen gasoline prices increase again. Prices were just beginning to normalize when a Utah refinery closed for annual maintenance, which is taking longer than expected. A Colorado refinery also shut down in December due to malfunctioning equipment, which has placed additional strain on supply in the Rocky Mountain region. It is expected to be online in March. 

“Utah’s gasoline prices typically increase in March because of higher demand; however, due to the regional supply decrease, those price increases have jump started earlier than expected. 

“Unfortunately, this comes on top of an increase in natural gas prices, and we’re very concerned about those struggling to make ends meet. Energy costs affect us all but disproportionately impact those with lower incomes and larger families.  

“We’ve met with the refinery and public utility providers to ensure they are doing all they can to actively seek out low-cost production and keep costs low. We appreciate the efforts of our energy partners as we work together to ensure adequate supplies to keep energy available and affordable. 

“The HEAT program provides energy assistance to those with incomes at or below 150% of the poverty level. We also have great partnerships with Dominion Energy and Rocky Mountain Power that provide additional credits for low-income households.”

U.S. energy secretary touts energy advances in Utah

Speaking of energy, research and technology advancements coming from a lab in Milford could soon harness the endless energy potential beneath our feet.

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm joined Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson and leaders from the Utah FORGE laboratory at the University of Utah on Wednesday to talk about advancements in enhanced geothermal systems. Right now, geothermal plants comprise 6% of the state's energy mix. Recent breakthroughs could make renewable base-load geothermal energy commercially viable everywhere.

Our state's any-of-the-above energy policy means that Utahns pay the lowest electricity bills in the country. Enhanced geothermal systems align perfectly with Utah Energy and Innovation Plan, which calls for energy diversification, American energy independence, and good jobs in rural and urban Utah.

We're grateful Secretary Granholm came to highlight the great work taking place in the Beehive State. Our administration believes American energy independence starts in Utah.

We want to hear from you!

Utahns deserve the best customer service from their government. So we’re asking state employees to be more creative, agile, resourceful and innovative in how they serve you, and we want your feedback!

Share your thoughts with us at ideas.utah.gov.

Utah’s Spirit of Service

We’re still taking nominations for the second annual Governor’s Spirit of Service Awards! Thank you for all the nominations and please keep them coming.

Utah leads the nation in volunteerism, and there are so many of you engaged in important service work that too often goes unnoticed. We want to recognize you! This award will be given to four individuals and four organizations at an award ceremony in early May. 

Nominating a person or organization for the award is easy. Use this link and fill out the survey before March 10, when the submission period closes. Share the survey with family and friends; we want to give everyone the chance to nominate the person or organization they think deserves the award. Thank you for all you do to serve your community!

Meet Darryle Rude

Meet Darryle Rude, commissioner of the Utah Department of Financial Institutions! Commissioner Rude oversees the chartering, regulating, supervising and examining  of state-chartered financial institutions. We’re lucky to have him on Team Utah!

Spotlight: Governor’s Award for Excellence

Each week we are highlighting a state employee who was recently awarded the Governor’s Award for Excellence. This week we are recognizing Scott Smith with the Utah State Tax Commission.

Scott has exemplified outstanding leadership while serving the Tax Commission. For the last year and a half, he has worked tirelessly to identify weaknesses in our approach to providing top notch services to customers, whether their interests lie within Utah or outside of the state. Scott has invited input from all aspects of the organization, challenging us to rethink every service we provide to ensure its efficiency and effectiveness. In order to improve our processes, an agency reorganization was required and is currently in process. During this transition, Scott has displayed exemplary leadership in guiding and listening to concerns and complaints. While discovering processes that needed improving, he was fueled by the mantra that we must provide the type of service that people expect from the private sector and that we cannot rest on the comfort of a captive customer base. Scott has set an incredible example of how to serve both external customers and his employees by leading and providing continuous guidance during this massive readjustment of state resources to better serve all.

Keep up the great work, Scott! To read more about the Governor’s Awards for Excellence, click here.

Hot Springs in Utah

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and these romantic hot springs make for a great getaway that also lets you save your pennies. Saratoga Hot Springs in Utah County is only 40 minutes away from Salt Lake City, and requires no hiking experience. Drive an hour south, and you reach the beautiful, dazzling blue fifth water hot springs. The trailhead is 2.5 miles away from the actual water, but the hike is easy and your efforts are rewarded with a near empty spring perfect for an adventurous couple. Just another hour south you reach Monroe Hot Springs, met with gorgeous red rocks and warm waterfalls streaming into mystic bathtubs. Last but certainly not least there’s Meadow Hot Springs, just south of Fillmore. Meadow Hot Springs has two pools, with the second and deeper one reaching nearly 100 degrees fahrenheit.

Make sure to bring a bathing suit, towel, and warm clothes as you enjoy these thermal waters with a loved one, or a group of friends. Be sure to always check the weather and status of the hot springs before you head out. Read more here!


  • We were so honored to attend the State of the Union address with Sen. Mike Lee. It truly was a bucket list moment! Learn more about what we thought of the State of the Union address here
  • We were pleased to join the Washington Post live to talk all things Utah. Watch our full segment here
  • We’re challenging the status quo in state government with the goal of being even more customer focused. You can tell us how we’re doing at ideas.utah.gov. Read more here.

Coming up

  • Feb. 12: We’re joining Meet the Press at 6:30 a.m. MT/8:30 a.m. ET to talk about National Governors Association Winter Meeting. 
  • Feb. 14: Happy Valentine’s Day, Utah!
  • Feb. 16: We will be having our monthly news conference with PBS Utah at 10 a.m.Tune in here
  • Feb. 16: We will be joining KSL News Radio’s “Let Me Speak to the Governor!” More details here
  • Feb. 17: It’s NBA All Star Weekend in Utah! We welcome all those visiting the Beehive State for the weekend’s festivities!

Get involved!

Looking for a new job opportunity? From great employee benefits to versatile work schedules, the career opportunities with the state are truly endless. Join Team Utah today

Those looking to volunteer can also consider more than 300 boards and commissions. Find out which openings are available and how you can get involved here!

Get in touch!

You can reach the Governor's Office here. And you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and  YouTube for the latest news and updates.

Contact the Governor's Office