HURRICANE — Gov. Spencer Cox brought his message of improving infrastructure in Utah and building small businesses to Washington County on Monday, highlighted by a luncheon visit at the Hurricane Valley Rotary Club.
“It’s been an incredible trip. It’s been hot!” Cox told St. George News after he spoke to the Rotarians. “We’ve learned that there’s so many great projects here.”
The governor said some of the issues his team addressed on his day trip to Southern Utah included transportation infrastructure, state parks and small business development.
“What we’re seeing is that the economy is booming down here, growth is coming, but we’ve got to make sure we’re prepared for it,” he said.
Cox said he is a big believer in giving back, which is part of what makes Utah special. He came to Hurricane to praise that spirit of giving in what is billed as the youngest Rotarian club in the state.
“Rotarians embody that. You have businesses coming together to give back not just to our state but across the world,” Cox said. “These are people who are involved in their communities and we want to strengthen them and learn from them.”
Wil DuCrest, president of Hurricane Valley Rotary Club, told St. George News that the Rotarians appreciated the governor’s comments.
“He’s obviously a great speaker and we liked what he had to say. We were honored to have him come speak to our club,” DuCrest said. “A lot of Rotarians are small business owners. The governor obviously knew that about Rotarians and has a background with Rotary.”
During the question and answer period, Cox was asked to define what he thinks the ideal relationship should be between rural small businesses and the governor’s office.
“Small business is the economic driver of our steam engine,” Cox said. “I’ve been to Washington County every month since I’ve been governor. That’s why we’re doing this, we want to hear more, we want to listen more, we want to visit businesses throughout the state.”
The governor talked about how the state of Utah will use the federal money it is receiving for pandemic relief.
“Since we’re borrowing from future generations, we decided that we should invest it in infrastructure that will help future generations,” Cox said. “If they’re going to spend it, we’re going to take it and we’re going to invest it much more wisely than they would anyway and try to do it in a way that will bless future generations to come.”
The governor fielded a question about the rapid growth in the state of Utah, especially in Washington County where water is such a scarce resource.
“We are the fastest growing state in the nation over the past 10 years; the census confirmed that,” Cox said, “and we’re not slowing down anytime soon. And so if we’re going to do this, especially here, we have to do better on the conservation side. We also have to do better on the water storage side.”
Cox talked about a simple formula he believes should be understood: when investment in infrastructure precedes growth, quality of life stays high. If growth precedes infrastructure, the quality of life goes down every single time.
“And so that’s where we have to focus,” Cox said. “The way to do it, and I just can’t emphasize this enough, is good planning and the willingness to invest in the infrastructure that it will take.”
If you have good roads and good water, Cox added, your quality of life will stay the same no matter where you live.
“And we’re here to help you with that,” the governor said.
Several members of the Hurricane City Council were on hand for the governor’s speech, including Mayor John Bramall and council members Kevin Tervort, Darin Larson, Nanette Billings and Dave Sanders.
“I thought the governor was right on point,” Tervort said. “He’s got a great outlook for the state and I think he’s actually looking out for the southern part of the state and doing a good job of it.”
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