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Governor Huntsman names Provo Mayor Kaufusi as running mate

SALT LAKE CITY (February 7, 2020)  — Governor Jon M. Huntsman has chosen his running mate, naming Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi as his choice to be Utah’s next lieutenant governor.

“Michelle is a natural leader with a real passion for public service who will bring an important local perspective to our administration,” Governor Huntsman said. “Her service as mayor of one of our state’s largest cities has prepared her for this role and her years as a member of her local school board have given her insight into the needs of our students and teachers. Michelle is a tremendous addition to the ticket and she is the right choice to be Utah’s next lieutenant governor.”

In 2017, Kaufusi became the first woman elected as mayor of Provo, running on a platform of strong neighborhoods, vibrant economic development and responsible fiscal management. Born and raised in Provo, she attended Provo High School and Brigham Young University. She served six years as a member and ultimately president of the Provo School Board from 2011 to 2017.  

“I am honored to have the trust of Governor Huntsman and I look forward to a civil, yet spirited campaign and the opportunity to serve the people of Utah,” Mayor Kaufusi said. “There is no one better prepared than Jon Huntsman to lead Utah. His vision and leadership during his previous administration laid the foundation for Utah’s success over the past 15 years. The experience he gained while serving in our nation’s two most critical diplomatic posts gives him a unique understanding about the challenges we face. And his focus on growth, mental health and extending prosperity to rural Utah is exactly the kind of leadership we need from our next governor.”

The daughter of a single mother, Kaufusi watched her mother go back to school to earn a nursing degree and work graveyard shifts to support the family’s seven children. That example taught her the importance of education and hard work.  

“My mom worked hard and sacrificed a lot for our family,” Mayor Kaufusi said. “That had a big impact on my life. I worked hard in school because I had seen hard work in action. I am passionate about education. I started down in the trenches as a mother, volunteering, navigating the public school systems, and then as a member of the Provo School Board.  There’s nothing like having actually worked on those issues. I’ve been passionate about finding the less-served student and giving them the help they need to succeed. And I’ve seen our teachers struggle as we load them down with so many mandates and tests. We need to give them room to do what they are great at so all their creativity and all their love for teaching can be the difference-maker for our kids.”

Mayor Kaufusi is married to Steve Kaufusi, who played two seasons in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles. He is also the former defensive line coach at their shared alma mater, BYU. The Kaufusi family includes five children, three sons and two daughters: Alexis (Carly), Bronson (Hillary), Corbin, Devin, and Daryl (Tanner). They have one grandson, Taika. Her sons Bronson and Corbin both play professional football for the New York Jets. 

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