Provo inaugurates mayor, incumbent councilman and 2 new councilwomen
Courtesy Provo City Government via Facebook
Provo held inauguration ceremonies Tuesday for its two new City Council members, Rachel Whipple and Katrice MacKay, along with returning Councilor George Handley and Mayor Michelle Kaufusi.
They join current council members Shannon Ellsworth, Bill Fillmore, David Shipley and Travis Hoban.
In giving her second term inaugural address, Kaufusi thanked her family and friends for the support and enlightenment they have given throughout her life.
“First, I want to publicly thank the guidance counselor at Provo High School, who helped me realize that this awkward teenager could get an academic scholarship to (Brigham Young University) and, therefore, attend college with hard work and vision,” she said. “I don’t remember your name, but so much of my life has hinged on the plans you helped me formulate. Similarly, to my friend’s father, Mr. Rowe, who worked at BYU and helped me identify several scholarships: thank you for helping set the course of my life. I am so grateful to the two of you.”
“I’ve spoken many times about my mom, the single parent and hardworking nurse who raised seven kids on grit and Tab, the diet soft drink,” Kaufusi added. “Thank you, Mom. I love you and miss you. And to all the single parents out there: Hang on and keep at it. One day, your sacrifice, like my mom’s, will bear fruit in the lives of your children, more beautiful than you can imagine.”
Courtesy Provo City
Speaking to the two new city councilwomen, Kaufusi said: “I would like to express my heartfelt congratulations on your elections. Politics is a challenging world you’ve entered. Nationwide, many local officials have been stepping down due to the sometimes toxic nature of communications about politics. So, some might question your sanity. But I don’t. I am deeply grateful for any decent person willing to face the pain that sometimes attends the world of public service these days.”
The mayor told them to never lose sight of the fact that the citizens have trusted them with an extraordinary gift: the gift to help shape the future of the city. She told them to value it and be humble about it.
“Be grateful for the residents of Provo, not just for giving you this rare opportunity but also for being the ones who make Provo great,” Kaufusi said. “As I walk into my office at City Hall, I remind myself this is not my seat. It belongs to the residents of Provo.”
“Finally, recognize that you have entered a team sport. Serving as a city council member makes you part of a team,” Kaufusi added.
She said that team consists of themselves, their fellow city council members and her.
Courtesy Provo City
“Together, we make up the eight elected officials chosen by Provo residents to serve as city council members and mayor to help lift and strengthen Provo for the benefit of those residents. In an authentic sense, we are the ‘home team’ for them, and they are hoping we’ll make them proud,” Kaufusi said.
Using a personal family experience, Kaufusi said she learned that teamwork is a frame of mind and a frame of heart, one that she has seen exhibited by city councilors in Provo many times. She told them that as teammates they can elevate Provo.
To welcome the new council members and help them join the established time, Kaufusi handed out to the eight elected officials T-shirts that said “Team Provo.”
MacKay grew up attending Edgemont Elementary School, Farrer Middle School and Timpview High School. After graduating from the BYU Marriott School of Business, she moved to San Francisco and Seattle. She then moved back home to Provo to raise her four children with her husband, John “Dewey” MacKay.
Whipple was elected in 2021 to represent District 5. She and her family moved to downtown Provo in 2009. Over the years, she has served on various city committees and on the boards of local nonprofit organizations. Whipple is a civil litigation attorney in Provo. She enjoys hiking, gardening and textile arts.
Courtesy Provo City
Handley was elected in 2017 and represents District 2. He moved to Provo in 1998, where he and his wife have raised their four children. He is an educator and author who has been civically engaged for many years.