The Kafusi Family has Roots in the Building Industry
Provo Mayor and her Husband Speak to the
Utah Valley Home Builders Association
Provo’s newest and first female mayor, Michelle Kafusi, along with her husband Steve, spoke to a large crowd at the monthly meeting of members of the Utah Valley Home Builders Association recently.
Steve, former defensive-line coach for Brigham Young University, “If I weren’t coaching football, I’d love to be a contractor.” Growing up in Tonga, the oldest of eight children, Steve learned the value of hard work as his dad assumed the trade of laying brick early on in Steve’s childhood. Steve’s dad started laying brick for new churches in Tonga for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The bricklaying industry is what brought his father to the United States. Coming to the United States, he secured a job six months prior to his family joining him. Steve emotionally recalled his father frequently taking the family to Trolley Square to point out the exact wall he built to remind the children the value of work.
Football came easy to Steve as his hard work laid the path for his success in the football field, which proved successful as he played football for BYU and went on to play professionally for the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL. Together, he and Michelle have worked diligently to instill that same value in their five children -- all of which have moved on to play college sports at BYU and BYU-Hawaii.
Michelle is the 45th mayor of Provo and brings with her countless hours of volunteer service, having been a PTA president twice, served for six years on the Provo School Board and most recently was serving as interim mayor since the departure of John Curtis who left the office to serve as Utah’s newest Congressman.
Mayor Kafusi inherited a citywide, failing water system that she claims should have been replaced many years ago. “Nobody wants to be the mayor responsible for raising taxes to repair that,” she claimed. However, she doesn’t want to be just another mayor kicking that issue down the road. Repairing that infrastructure rather than putting a quick fix on it is one of her major obstacles to tackle as mayor. Another goal for the city is to possibly expand the Provo airport to include more terminals and enticing businesses such as FedEx and Amazon to use this airport.
“We couldn’t be a city without you,” Mayor Kafusi emphasized to the members. Given they 52% of Provo is non-taxable, the mayor said we have “small taxes to work with and have to juggle to make it work.” The job description of the mayor, she said, is to keep the safety and needs of the constituents in mind. That is her priority in making future decisions for the city.
Bill Peperone, Provo’s City Planner, spoke briefly at the end of the meeting and explained several areas of proposed residential growth Provo will be seeing in the future.
The Utah Valley Home Builders Association’s aim is to protect, preserve and promote the building industry in Utah. Members comprise of builders, designers, bankers, suppliers and many businesses across the valley. Meeting monthly with educational meetings such as this one, the UVHBA’s most visible activity is the annual Utah Valley Parade of Homes, which is in its 43rd year. A non-profit organization, the UVHBA also provides continuing education and licensing for the construction industry as well as giving back to the community in forms of scholarships and service to those in need. The UVHBA has been key in contributing thousands of dollars in an endowed scholarship fund to Brigham Young University as well through the ongoing building of Cougar Houses – homes built by members of the UVHBA through donated services. Proceeds of the sale of the home go to the university. To become a member, call the UVHBA at 801-225-8893 or e-mail email@example.com.