Compassionate, tenacious and driven, Michelle Kaufusi will apply her experience as the first female mayor of Provo to advocate and improve life for all Utahns.
Michelle Kaufusi was born in Provo, the sixth of seven children. Her mother worked graveyard shifts as a nurse, teaching to her children the importance of grit and perseverance. Michelle worked odd jobs throughout her childhood, supported by the “family” of Provo City as friends and neighbors provided opportunities for her and her siblings. Michelle’s drive to advocate for the underdog stems from that tumultuous upbringing. She recalls the struggle of having an absent, alcoholic father or the discomfort of standing in line in the cafeteria and having to tell the cashier, in front of her friends, that she was a free-lunch student.
Michelle attended Wasatch Elementary, Dixon Middle School, and Provo High School before entering her dream school, Brigham Young University, on an academic scholarship. Her degree from BYU is in Global Studies, including coursework in local government. Mayor Kaufusi also met her husband Steve while a student at BYU. She was a Cougarette and he was a football player who later coached the Cougars defensive line.
Michelle and Steve Kaufusi have five children— Alexis (and her wife Carly), Bronson (plus his wife Hillary and son Taika), Corbin, Devin, and Daryl (and her husband Tanner). The Kaufusi family has an ingrained work ethic that has earned them college scholarships for athletics and academics. Bronson, Corbin and Devin all played for BYU Football, and the oldest two brothers currently play in the NFL for the New York Jets.
Michelle has been actively engaged in grassroots community service since her children were small, serving in parent organizations for her children’s elementary, middle, and high schools. She became a member of the Provo School Board in 2011, and later became its president. Mayor Kaufusi also served on the Utah High School Athletic Association, the steering committee for Utah Valley Regional Medical Center’s hospital replacement project and the Provo City Citizens Advisory Board.
A problem solver and collaborator by nature, Michelle is always looking for ways to serve the community she loves. For example, when Michelle learned of students who couldn’t afford to take the ACT test, she worked, collaborated and fundraised until a free course was available for every student.
“That’s my ‘why’: I want to help the underdog the way I was helped. And I want to build and lift the larger community here in Utah, because it has given me and my family members so much.“
In November 2017, Michelle made history when she was elected to be Provo’s 45th mayor and the first woman to hold the office. As Mayor, Kaufusi has been praised for her leadership in guiding Provo through the devastation of Covid-19, leading to Provo being recognized by Forbes as one of the Top 10 cities in the nation best poised to recover from the virus. Kaufusi also worked to secure funding (including from the state and Utah County) for a new Provo Airport terminal, as well as addressing critical infrastructure needs, including Provo’s new wastewater treatment plant. In 2019, Mayor Kaufusi was awarded the title Informed Decision Maker of the Year by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.
As Lieutenant Governor, Michelle Kaufusi will bring her experience and passion for local leadership to address important causes for the whole state, including education, transportation infrastructure, inclusion, and elections. She is a leader with the unique ability to gather people of all different opinions and backgrounds and work towards consensus. Mayor Kaufusi is a problem solver, unafraid to dig down into the most difficult issues and bring people together in pursuit of a common cause. Compassionate, tenacious and driven, Michelle Kaufusi will apply her experience to advocate and improve life for all Utahns.
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