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Gov. Cox Addresses Housing Crisis, COVID-19 in Press Conference

In his monthly conference with the media, Cox was asked about housing prices, new COVID-19 variants and the decline of democracy in the U.S.
(Courtesy of Flickr)


Gov. Spencer Cox’s monthly press conference on Thursday began with him addressing his “top concern” for the year: housing in Utah. He also talked about the rise of COVID-19 cases and the need to “disagree better” across party lines in America.

The Housing Crisis

Housing prices are “out of reach for most Utahns,” especially first-time homebuyers, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

The Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute in Salt Lake City found you needed to earn at least $98,640 a year to buy a home at Utah’s median sales prices in the spring of 2021.

Cox addressed the state of housing in Utah and his plans to move forward. He said there are many efforts being made to improve housing availability and costs. This includes partnerships with private sectors, such as Ivory Homes and a first-time homeowner down payment program.

With these new builds underway, Cox said he is optimistic about the state of housing in Utah continuing to improve.

“We appreciate our private sector partners and we’ll continue to work on moving policy solutions forward to help reduce the cost of housing here in the state of Utah,” he said.

Cox also mentioned the importance of high-density housing, especially in places where the public transportation infrastructure is being invested in.

COVID-19 Resurgence

With many COVID-19 variants on the rise and schools back in session, many students are concerned about safety being back on campus. When asked about keeping Utahns safe, Cox said people can take precautions such as getting vaccinated, getting tested or wearing a mask if they choose to do so. He added that three years after the initial outbreak of the pandemic, there are many more resources available to use and more knowledge about the virus. 

“Let me be absolutely clear, there will be no mask mandates or really be no mandates of any type,” Cox said. “And in our job to keep people healthy is to give them the best information we have at our disposal.”

He added COVID-19 should not be treated any differently than other seasonal sicknesses such as the flu.

“It’s time that we treat COVID like other diseases, that are seasonal, cyclical and that people take responsibility for their own healthcare,” Cox said.

‘A Declining Democracy’

Cox also expressed fears for the future and the state of democracy in the United States. Recently, Orem Mayor David Young was spit on and attacked after a city council meeting. He said he believes the U.S. is a “declining democracy.”

“It scares the hell out of me, and it should everyone else,” he said.

Cox added amidst rising violence against politicians, he hopes that fear people feel can be a uniting force. 

“I am hoping that this will be a wake-up call as to how we can disagree better as a nation,” he said.

Other topics of discussion included Sen. Mitt Romney’s decision not to run for reelection, the deep divide between political parties, the increasingly inevitable government shutdown, the rise of homelessness and the Great Salt Lake.

He also made clear his intent to back the current Utah speaker of the house Brad Wilson in his future run for Senate, following his resignation from the current position.

 You can find all past press conferences with Gov. Cox, which are done monthly, here.


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About the Contributor
Allison Stuart, News Writer
Allison is a senior at the U and has been writing for the Chronicle since the fall of 2021. Her interests include reading biographies, working out, singing and organizing. She is studying communication with an emphasis in journalism at the University of Utah.

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