On any given day, a dozen cranes tower over the “Silicon Slopes” region that lies to the south of Salt Lake City erecting glassy office buildings to make more space for Utah’s growing tech industry. State and private companies want that growth to continue, but industry leaders insist that to make it happen Utah’s image will need some work.
This is why tech lobbyists such as Sunny Washington are pushing for more inclusive legislation for social inclusion at the state Capitol. Washington is also a member of Silicon Slopes, the industry’s advocacy group.
“As many companies attempt to be active in their outreach, it can honestly be undone if we have some crazy law that is not reflective of our state,” Washington says.
She and other lobbyists argued against an unsuccessful bill that would have been able to bar transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports teams. They also supported legislation to change the name of Dixie State University, whose name is associated with the Confederacy.
“We have plenty of work to complete to ensure that people feel ‘Hey, Utah is a great place where I can bring my family, and they’ll feel welcome,’ ” Washington says.
Kimmy Paluch, 39, moved from Oakland, Calif., to Utah from Oakland, Calif., with her husband and two kids in the year 2018. They were running a consulting firm that aimed at helping tech-relatedas well as other companies introduce new products.
Paluch writes that “we were very disappointed by the Silicon Valley bubble.” “One was due to the inventions that were being funded, that they were serving only the 1 percent. And then two due to the absence of capital flow to the under-represented founders.”
Paluch believes that Utah has a chance to become a better place due to the fact that it is a younger tech market. It was also personal to her, too. Paluch is a Black woman and an immigrant.
Paluch told the AP that she needed to confront her concerns about the image of Utah when she decided whether or not to relocate. “I recall telling my Bay Area friends we were moving to Utah, and they said”Why?” “
It’s not a secret that Utah is extremely white three-quarters of the population is identifying that way. The state is also heavily populated by Mormon, and Republican. Paluch isn’t any of these.
Still, she says she was thrilled to live in a place with a different political environment and a different culture, but the distinctions did cause her and her husband some pause.
“Will I feel as if I’m part of this community?” Paluch says she had to consider. “I wasn’t afraid of myself. … Concerning my children I was worried. I was wondering whether they would be welcomed. This has not been an issue, thankfully.
Brad Wilson, Utah House Speaker, along with other top Republicans in the state state they are proud of making Utah a business-friendly state. Wilson states, however it can be at odds with the idea of preventing businesses from changing his state of residence.
“Utah is distinctive and very distinctive,” he says. “We should protect Utah’s uniqueness and not be ashamed or scared of the elements that make Utah distinctive.”
Paluch believes that the opportunities for economic growth Wilson and other lawmakers have worked hard to create only matter if they are open to all. This isn’t the case, she says that people who aren’t part of the traditional Utah model feel uncomfortable in the state.