‘The Rundown’: Cox likes some of Biden’s infrastructure proposal

Your Friday morning Utah political cheat sheet

"The Rundown" logo

Good morning Utah, and TGIF!

Thanks for reading “The Rundown”.

I want to hear from you! Got a news tip or some interesting political scuttlebutt? Send me an email or reach out to me on Twitter.

Get this newsletter delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. Sign up for free here.

Cox likes some of Biden’s infrastructure spending proposal

Governor Spencer Cox says there are some things in President Joe Biden’s proposal to improve the nation’s infrastructure, but he’s not on board with everything. Asked during a Thursday appearance on CNN what parts of Biden’s proposal he could get behind, Cox rattled off a few things he would support.

“The parts that focus on real infrastructure, right? We need to make sure that we have roads and we have bridges and those types of things that matter,” said Cox.

Biden is proposing $2.25 trillion in new spending on infrastructure, but Republicans are grumbling that the plan includes spending on social programs that aren’t traditionally thought of as infrastructure.

Cox noted Utah’s economic recovery from the pandemic had allowed the state to fund some infrastructure projects in the Beehive State.

“We’ve been really good here in Utah. Because of the growth in our economy, we’ve had a unique opportunity to invest in education, to invest in infrastructure, and then to give some tax cuts to families and veterans and our seniors,” he said.

Utah lawmakers are currently getting ideas on what infrastructure projects they can fund with an expected $1.5 billion in federal COVID money that’s on its way to the state. They’ll meet in a special session next month.

Cox may have tipped his hand on how he’d like part of that money spent.

“Some of our infrastructure is aging. Our water infrastructure, for example. The federal government stopped investing in water infrastructure several years ago, which I think was a mistake. And that’s one area where we definitely need to rebuild our infrastructure,” said Cox.

Here’s what you need to know for Friday morning

  • Utah Republicans hold their annual state convention tomorrow. It will be the first large-scale in-person political event in Utah in more than a year. They’ll pick a new chair as well as consider censuring Sen. Mitt Romney for his impeachment votes [Tribune].

  • Robert O’Brien, who served as national security adviser in the Trump administration, speaks with The Tribune about his experience working with former President Donald Trump and the challenges to the U.S. presented by Russia and China [Tribune].

  • Amelia Powers Gardner is sworn in as the first woman to serve on the Utah County Commission [Tribune].

  • Whoa! Utah-based Vivint Smart Home Inc. agreed to pay a $20 million as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission after the company allegedly used credit reports fraudulently to help customers who couldn’t qualify for financing [Tribune].

  • The FBI warned Rudy Giuliani and Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson in 2019 they were the targets of a Russian misinformation campaign intent on spreading disinformation about Joe Biden ahead of the 2020 election [WaPo].

  • In a wild interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, Giuliani claimed he offered FBI agents who raided his apartment this week hard drives that he says belonged to Hunter Biden, but they were not interested [Huffington Post].

  • Federal prosecutors are reportedly zeroing in on what role Giuliani had in firing a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine [NYT].

  • South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott’s accusations that liberals use race as a political weapon ignited a fiery debate on social media [WaPo].

  • Florida Republicans pass a bill placing broad restrictions on voting in the state [NYT].

  • The Biden administration says the number of unaccompanied migrant children held by Customs and Border Protection dropped more than 80% in a month [CNN].

  • Economic activity in the U.S. boomed during the first quarter of 2021. The GDP jumped 6.4%, the best increase since 2003 [CNBC]. It’s not all good economic news, though. The pandemic wiped out $800 billion in income for women last year [CNN].

  • Disneyland in California reopens today for the first time in a year [OC Register].

  • Joel Greenberg, the associate of Florida Republican Matt Gaetz who is under indictment, wrote a confession letter that claims he and Gaetz paid women, including one who was 17-years-old at the time, for sex. Greenberg also asked Roger Stone to help him secure a pardon from former President Donald Trump [Daily Beast].

  • The FDA is moving to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars [NBC News].

“Utah Politics” podcast

Utah Politics with Bryan Schott

This week my guest is outgoing Utah GOP chairman Derek Brown. 

We discuss what he accomplished during his two years at the helm of the party and what challenges his successor may face. 

He also talks about why he’s worried about the states surrounding Utah that are turning from “red” to “blue,” and what that could mean for Utah. 

Listen and subscribe for free.

Friday’s Utah news roundup


  • The newly picked designer of Salt Lake City’s tiny homes village for the homeless wants 40 houses ready by March - Tribune

  • BYU quarterback Zach Wilson goes to Jets as No. 2 pick in Thursday’s NFL draft; he’s Cougars’ highest pick ever - Tribune


  • Transportation Secretary Buttigieg talks exclusively with FOX 13 - FOX 13


  • Gov. Cox holds ceremonial signing of six ‘government efficiency bills’ - ABC4


  • More than 100K Utahns ages 16 and 17 are eligible for COVID-19 vaccine. Clinics are going to high schools to get it to them. - Tribune

  • Thousands of Utah’s coronavirus vaccine doses are waiting to be claimed - Tribune

  • Utah will bring COVID-19 vaccine to your workplace, event or group, Gov. Spencer Cox announces - Tribune

  • 40% of eligible Utahns are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 - Tribune

  • Navajo Nation sends PPE to help COVID-ravaged India - FOX 13

Local government

  • World Trade Center Utah opens office at Utah Valley University - Daily Herald

  • Weber County anti-poverty program gets $100K boost from LDS Church - Standard-Examiner

  • Davis County fire departments to take over paramedic duties, could mean tax hikes - Standard-Examiner

  • Park City candidates for the first time must either pay for ballot access or collect signatures - Park Record

On the opinion pages

  • Cody M. Perry: Dinosaur National Monument should be protected from oil drilling - Tribune

  • Veronika Tait: The scientific method will help us solve our problems - Tribune

  • Moe Hickey: The American Rescue Plan is good for children - Tribune

  • Tim Glenn: It’s no surprise that Utah doesn’t get its fair share of public lands money - Tribune

You say it’s your birthday?!!

Happy birthday to KCPW’s Roger McDonough.

If you have a birthday you’d like us to recognize in this space, send us an email.

— Tribune reporter Karina Andrew contributed to this newsletter.