Bridging divides: Getting things done the Utah way

May 3, 2023, 9:30 PM

Next Thursday, Gov. Spenser Cox will deliver the 2023 State of the State Address to the Utah Legis...

Gov. Spencer J. Cox speaks the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Monday, Feb. 28, 2022. Gov. Cox and state business leaders recently returned from a trade mission to Europe. (Mengshin Lin/Deseret News)

(Mengshin Lin/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — When it comes to getting things accomplished, the Beehive State is starting to be recognized for its ability for bridging divides.

This week, Utah was ranked first in the latest edition of Best States for 2023 by U.S. News & World Report. 

However, there is much more than meets the eye when it comes to rankings. 

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox joined Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson on Wednesday to talk about the importance of bridging divides and get things accomplished.

Bridging divides: The Utah model

Matheson begins the conversation by asking, “Describe just a little bit of that Utah model. And why is it that the Utah model actually works?”

“It’s a model that works because it’s a model that our country was founded on,” Cox said. “…. This idea that we can disagree with each other, without hating each other. But even more than that, we can actually sit down, and try to find common values. And then attempt to solve problems.”

Cox says that it’s not always possible to find common ground. However, you can still treat each other with respect.

Additionally, Cox says the ability to work together to find common ground has allowed for leaders to balance the state budget and cut taxes. 

“The largest tax cut in our state’s history, over $800 million,” the governor said. “And the largest increase in education spending in our state’s history because we’re growing the economy the right way. And you can solve a lot of problems when the economy is doing well.”

Determining the rankings

Cox says US News and World Report used 70 different metrics in determining its rankings.

“And we didn’t do as well on some of them,” he said. “I’m first to raise my hand and admit that. But that we came out number one and Utah should be really proud of that.”

Matheson adds, “You can have people with differing points of view, but you can still get to a solution where everyone can walk away and say ‘We did something, and we did it right.'”

“And focusing on those solutions and not caring as much about who gets the credit,” Cox said. “That’s really hard because you know, I’m in a business, all politicians are in a business where they need to get credit for stuff to get reelected.”

“…. And again, our systems today don’t reward that type of behavior very well.”

Matheson asked, what are other governors seeing when they look at Utah?

“We get asked a lot of questions,” Cox said. “We had groups out here talking about elections and election reform. (And) We had think tanks out here filled with Republicans and Democrats trying to figure out how we can take some of the heat out of this election issue. And they were looking to Utah for those solutions.”

Cox acknowledges the state doesn’t have all the answers.

“But we’re certainly willing to get our hands dirty and try to figure it out,” he said.

Listen to the entire segment.


Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app. 

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Bridging divides: Getting things done the Utah way