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  • Writer's pictureMichelle

Provo on the Global Stage

Recently, I had the incredible honor of representing Provo at the Milken Institute Global Conference, where I participated in a panel discussion titled "Lessons from America's Best-Performing Cities." It was an enriching experience to share the stage with other distinguished mayors and to spotlight Provo on a global platform.

During the panel, I was asked to describe what makes Provo a top-performing city. My phrase was "leap of faith." This encapsulates our approach to governance and community building. In Provo, we aim high, take calculated risks, and rally as a team to achieve big, impactful projects. This philosophy has guided us through many challenges, always striving to make our community stronger and more vibrant.

Below, you can read about what I shared during the panel, highlighting why Provo stands out as a top-performing city.

Community and Resilience

One of the key topics discussed was how Provo maintains low levels of income inequality and high resilience to economic and natural disasters. I emphasized our community’s ethos, captured in our motto: "Welcome Home." This is more than a slogan—it’s a way of life. We know our neighbors by name, offer exceptional care, and work together to ensure everyone feels included and supported. Our collective efforts are driven by the belief that everyone deserves a place to call home, and a community that cares deeply about their well-being.

Lessons from the Pandemic

I was asked to reflect on the lessons learned from the pandemic and I shared our unique approach to keeping Provo safe and active. Unlike many other places, we kept our parks and recreation centers open, adapting with innovative measures to ensure safety. Our community's willingness to embrace the outdoors and maintain social connections in a responsible way played a crucial role in our successful handling of the pandemic. This approach not only safeguarded our health but also reinforced our community bonds.

Looking to the Future

Looking ahead, I spoke about balancing immediate needs with long-term visionary goals. It’s essential to validate our current concerns while striving for ambitious projects that will benefit future generations. A poignant example was our successful push for a new public safety building—a project that seemed like political suicide but was necessary for the well-being of our public servants. This leap of faith was a testament to our commitment to doing what is right, even when it’s tough.

Affordable Housing Initiatives

Affordable housing is a pressing issue nationwide, and Provo is no exception. Drawing from my own experiences growing up in a modest household, I understand the struggles many face. That’s why we’re taking proactive steps to address this issue locally. We're working on innovative projects, such as workforce housing initiatives, to ensure that those who serve our community can afford to live here. These efforts are small yet significant steps towards a more inclusive and supportive community.

What Keeps Me Up at Night

Finally, what keeps me up at night is the well-being of our residents. My decisions are deeply influenced by the needs of those around me, including the widows on my street and others on fixed incomes. Ensuring that basic services like water, electricity, and safety are reliably provided is my utmost priority. Every decision I make is with the thought of how it will impact my neighbors and, by extension, our entire community.

In conclusion, attending the Milken Institute Global Conference was a proud moment for Provo. It was an opportunity to highlight our achievements, share our strategies, and reaffirm our commitment to being a welcoming and resilient community. I am honored to serve as your mayor and to work alongside all of you in making Provo the best place to call home.

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