Thursday, April 2, 2015

Cosmopolitan Utah Has a Lot Going For It

An opinion piece in today's Deseret News outlines some of the great qualities of Utah. The text below is the beginning of the article:

Welcome to Utah, President Barack Obama. You’re making your first presidential visit here in your second term, and it’s been nearly eight years since your most recent stopover in the Beehive State, a quick August 2007 campaign appearance in Park City.

Much has changed since then. We’ll bring you up to speed so you have a better idea of the Utah you’re visiting. It’s more than just a “sparsely populated Western state,” “the Mormon state” or “one of the Republican-reddest states in the union.”

Actually, Utah is more “blue” than “red,” if one looks beyond political parties to the representative colors of universities, given the dark blues of Brigham Young and Utah State universities against the University of Utah’s crimson.

You’ve likely heard the laundry list of accepted Utah accolades. It’s the state with the highest birthrate and youngest population — and yet the lowest child poverty rates. It has long been listed as tops for volunteerism and the percentage of personal income donated to charity. For three years running, Forbes has ranked Utah the best state for business and careers, with a strong economy and emerging “Silicone Slopes” high-tech industry helping keep the state financially awash in black ink.

Also, Utah is often featured among the leading “best places to live” locales, while St. George is the country’s second-fastest growing metropolitan area and Heber City the second-fastest micropolitan area. And the state is internationally renowned for its tourism, national parks, recreation and skiing — the latter earning the tag “the greatest snow on Earth.”

Those are some of the givens. But dig a little deeper, and you find an even richer and surprisingly vibrant state.

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote “Utah may be the most cosmopolitan state in America” because of the language training and international experiences of young adults serving missions across the globe for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Kristof cited University of Utah findings that more than 130 languages are spoken daily in commerce throughout the state.

Read the rest of the article "In our opinion: Welcome, Mr. President — please see Utah as a pretty, great state, not just a flyover state."

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