A half-dozen cranes can be seen towering across the Silicon Slopes, just south of Salt Lake City, erecting glassy office structures to increase the state’s tech industry. Both the state and businesses want this to continue. Some industry professionals believe that Utah needs to be better known to increase its popularity.
Sunny Washington, a tech lobbyist, is pushing for inclusive legislation at the Capitol. Washington is also part of Silicon Slopes. The industry’s advocacy organization.
Washington says, “While companies might want to participate in outreach efforts, it’s possible for that to be reversed if insane laws don’t reflect the state’s values.”
She and other lobbyists argued against the unsuccessful bill that would have been able to bar transgender girls from playing in girls’ sports teams. Additionally, they supported legislation to alter the name Dixie State College. This college is closely tied with the Confederacy.
Washington states that there is still much to be done to help people believe Utah is the right place to bring their families and feel part of the community.
Kimmy Paluch (39 years old) and her husband, along with their children, moved from Oakland, Calif., to Utah in 2018. Their agency provided services to help tech and other companies launch new products.
Paluch explains that the Silicon Valley bubble was dissatisfying for them as an organization. Paluch says that funding was not available for innovative ideas, which were not serving the elite 1 percent. One — the lack capital flow to founders not well represented.
Paluch thinks Utah has the potential to be a great place because it’s a young, tech-oriented state. She also felt it was personal. Paluch is Black and immigrant.
She had to deal with her knowledge about Utah’s history when she was trying to decide whether she would make the move. My Bay Area friends were shocked when I told them that we would be moving to Utah. “
It’s no secret that Utah is very White. This is something that three-quarters Utah’s population knows. It is also heavily populated by Mormon and Republican. Paluch doesn’t belong to any of these groups.
Although she claims to still be thrilled about being in a politically changing environment, cultural differences made it difficult for her and her spouse.
Will I be able to feel like I belong in this community?” Paluch said that this was a question she had to consider. Paluch stated that she was not concerned about her safety. “I was not concerned about my own safety. My children were a concern of mine. Concerning my children, I was worried about their treatment upon arrival. They have been treated well, and that hasn’t been a problem.
Brad Wilson, the Utah House Speaker and top Republicans from the state say they are proud to make Utah a desirable business destination. Wilson acknowledges that it is not easy to stop businesses moving from his home state.
“Utah’s uniqueness and individuality is what makes it special,” Wilson says. We must preserve Utah’s uniqueness and not fear or be embarrassed about the things that make Utah special.
Paluch believes that all people can benefit from the many opportunities Wilson and legislators have created. Paluch says this doesn’t hold true when some groups aren’t part of the Utah traditional mold.