Gov. Cox and former Gov. Herbert discuss Utah’s prosperity, booming population

Oct 28, 2021, 7:00 PM | Updated: Oct 29, 2021, 2:16 pm

OREM, Utah – Business and government leaders gathered at Utah Valley University on Thursday to discuss ways to manage the rapidly growing population in Utah County and across the Beehive State.

The university hosted the Utah Valley Growth and Prosperity Summit along with the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Utah Leadership Council.

Speakers at the summit said communities need to plan for and manage growth together.

“Growth is happening—that’s a part of the equation that’s a constant,” said Curtis Blair, president and CEO of the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce. “The question is, will we have growth plus prosperity?”

Topics included transportation, infrastructure, housing, natural resources, education, and business.

The 2020 Census revealed Utah as the fastest-growing state between 2010 and 2010. The state’s population grew by 18.4% during that time to 3.27 million residents.

During that decade, Utah County added 142,835 residents, according to a Census analysis from the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.

Blog: New decennial data for Utah cities and counties

Gov. Spencer Cox and former Gov. Gary Herbert joined on stage together for the summit’s concluding session. Cox said the state’s biggest problem isn’t trying to create jobs and attract more companies to Utah.

“The biggest problem is our workforce, our people,” Cox said. “Making sure that the people of Utah are prepared for the jobs that are here and for the jobs of the future.”

Cox and Herbert both spoke about making sure rural parts of the state are included in the discussion.

“How do we handle growth and development and prosperity in all 29 counties?” Herbert asked.

Cox and Herbert said the focus should also be on maintaining Utah’s quality of life, creating a sense of community, and building upon the unique characteristics that have allowed the state to thrive.

“I want this to be a place where my kids and grandkids want to live and how do I not screw that up?” Cox said. “That’s, I think, the thing that weighs on me the most.”

“The private sector is flourishing. We have a great quality of life. That can-do spirit continues and if Utah was a stock I’d tell you buy because the future is bright,” Herbert said.

At the end of the summit, the leaders signed The Utah Valley Growth and Prosperity Compact.

The document is the culmination of several years of working to identify and prioritize goals for the future of Utah Valley. Those in attendance and those watching online were also invited to sign the compact.

“The Utah Valley Growth and Prosperity Compact is based on key values and guiding principles that we urge all to utilize in addressing the complex challenges we face together,” the organizers of the summit said.

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Gov. Cox and former Gov. Herbert discuss Utah’s prosperity, booming population