Utah Governor Spencer Cox Weekly Newsletter - November 23, 2022

Government and Politics

November 24, 2022

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.

So much to be thankful for

We have so many reasons to be thankful. We are thankful for family and friends, health and this beautiful state. We hope you’ll take the time this holiday season to reflect on what you are grateful for and spend time with your loved ones. Reach out and let someone know that you’re thankful for them and that you appreciate them. 

During this season of Thanksgiving, we also encourage you to volunteer, donate to a Utah charity or give back to your community in some way. We’re thankful to live in a state where people have a strong sense of community, respect each other and offer help when someone is in need.

You make Utah a better place, so thank you for your goodness, your kindness and your willingness to come together to do hard things. From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

An opportunity to give back

The #LightTheWorld Giving Machines are back for the sixth year in a row and we were so honored to be part of this year’s unveiling! Utahns are known for their generosity and the Giving Machines provide opportunities for people around the world to donate and serve.

Since their start in 2017, $15 million has been donated through the Light the World Giving Machines globally. This year there are 28 locations worldwide. We are thankful to partner with American Indian Services, Women of the World, The Other Side Village, Centro de la Familia, Church World Service, UNICEF, and Mentors International to #LightTheWorld. 

We loved gathering with the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, award-winning vocalist Adassa, hoop dancer Mya Jensen and others at City Creek Center this week to officially open the Giving Machines. 

To learn more about the giving machines, click here. Thank you for serving this holiday season!

A historic agreement

On Monday we gathered with members of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation to ceremonially sign a historic cooperative agreement ensuring off-reservation hunting rights for the Tribal nation in Utah. We are stronger when we work together, and we appreciate the willingness of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation to work with the state of Utah on important issues. 

We are grateful for our partnerships with the federally recognized Tribes in Utah, and look forward to our continued work together. Learn more about this agreement here.

Dignitaries in the Gold Room 

Did you know Utah Code designates the lieutenant governor as the secretary of state? On Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson welcomed Princess Angelika Latufuipeka from the Kingdom of Tonga to the Beehive State. In her first visit to Utah, Princess Latufuipeka toured the Capitol and discussed government-to-government collaboration with the lieutenant governor and leaders from the Governor's Office of Economic Opportunity. Utah hosts the second largest group of Tongan diaspora in the United States.

Several times each month, the lieutenant governor welcomes delegations from around the world to discuss trade, geopolitics, and collaboration with dignitaries in our historic Gold Room. In the past month, we’ve welcomed delegations from Kazakhstan, Somaliland, Japan, Egypt, and now Tonga.

Utah truly is the crossroads of the West.

Serving fellow Utahns

We had the opportunity to serve alongside our family members, the Henderson family and other volunteers this week at the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake City. We got to serve Thanksgiving dinner and have a chance to meet and serve our fellow Utahns. 

We give thanks to the Rescue Mission, our senior advisor Pamela Atkinson and all those dedicated to serving those in need. For more information on the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake City, click here.

Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month, so we are highlighting the eight Tribal Nations in Utah. 

This week we are talking about the Navajo Basketmakers. These ceremonial baskets are rich in history, tightly woven and labor intensive. Creativity and hard work are at the heart of this beautiful craftsmanship. For many, this is their way of life. To learn more about the Navajo Basketmakers click here.

Governor’s Awards for Excellence Highlight

We’re continuing to highlight a state employee who was recently awarded the Governor’s Award for Excellence. This week we are recognizing Melissa Stevens Dimond with the Department of Health and Human Services. 

Melissa played a critical role in Utah’s COVID response for the past two-and-a-half years. Most notably, since June 2021, Melissa has served as either  commander or deputy commander of the Utah Department of Health’s COVID Incident Command. She oversaw strategy for all aspects of the COVID response, including epidemiological response and data analysis, contact tracing, testing, vaccine distribution, medical surge, and supply acquisition and distribution. Melissa is an exceptional leader, and helped all stay focused, organized, and engaged during a very intense marathon of work. Melissa fosters strong communication and collaboration among all team members. Melissa cares deeply for those she leads and works with. She approaches everything she does with the highest level of excellence. The state of Utah is well-served by Melissa’s commitment to making a difference.

Thank you for your dedicated work, Melissa. We are grateful for your leadership and service. To read more about the Governor’s Awards for Excellence, click here.


  • The More Than A Flag Task Force has approved the final design of Utah’s new state flag! Click here for more information, and watch here to learn more about the process. 
  • Last week we met with five in-coming governors at a boot camp for new governors sponsored by the National Governors Association. Over the next year as NGA vice chair, we are excited to work with our fellow governors to solve problems and improve our community!
  • The Capitol Preservation Board is now accepting proposals for the addition of two small commemorative plaques to the grounds of the Utah State Capitol. More information here.
  • The U.S. Department of the Treasury recently approved the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity’s (Go Utah) Utah Small Business Credit Initiative. Applications open Nov. 30. Click here to learn more about the expanded funding options for small businesses.

Coming up

  • Nov. 24: Happy Thanksgiving! Our offices will be closed.
  • Nov. 28: The State Board of Canvassers will convene for the statewide canvass, tabulating and finalizing the 2022 statewide general election.
  • Nov. 29: We’re excited to unveil the holiday tree at the Governor’s Mansion. Stay tuned for details!
  • Nov. 30:  Lt. Gov. Henderson will hold a town hall at Utah Valley University on Wednesday hosted by the Gary R. Herbert Institute for Public Policy.
  • Nov. 30: We look forward to celebrating talented local artists from around the state at the Governor’s Mansion Artist Awards. 
  • Dec. 1: We’re speaking at the USU Janet Quinney Lawson Institute for Land, Water, and Air event in Salt Lake City.

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, TikTok, and YouTube for the latest news and updates.

Contact the Governor's Office