ST. GEORGE – Utah Gov. Gary Herbert spoke at a luncheon at Dixie State College on June 10.
Among other topics, Herbert spoke about the economy, China’s continuing rise to prominence in international business, and the importance of small business during Utah’s recovery from the Great Recession.
Herbert acknowledged the economic hard times but said that Utah its way to recovery.
“We’re on the right road,” Herbert said. “We’re going in the right direction. It’s not just by happenstance – it’s by design.”
Herbert believes that Utah will help lead the nation out of the Great Recession and the hard times the recession brought.
He also said that a healthy economy is the key to improving other state issues, including education.
Herbert shared some stories from his recent visit to China. He said that the Chinese knew two things about Utah: There are a lot of Mormons in Utah (though they don’t quite understand what Mormons are) and that Utah is home of the Jazz basketball team.
Herbert brought basketballs autographed by Jazz players to China as gifts. He was surprised at many Chinese people’s enthusiastic reactions.
“If you offered them the ball or $5000 they would have taken the ball,” Herbert said.
Herbert said that many Chinese also knew that Utah “(is) leading America out of the economic downturn.”
The governor acknowledged the role of small business in healing the economy. He urged small businesspeople who are confused about Utah state business regulations to email their questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“If (small businesses) know what the rules are, you’ll follow the rules nine times out of ten,” Herbert said.
Herbert praised Litehouse Foods’s new location in Washington County, saying it is “a shot in the arm” for the local economy.
Herbert also said that Utah’s large bilingual population– fueled largely by the mission program of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – has attracted business to Utah. He shared a story of a business owner who brought his international business to Utah partly because of the high bilingual population.
The business owner told Herbert that he knew he could find people in Utah who speak any language his business needs.
“We’re going to grow from within,” Herbert said. “We’re going to be an island of attraction for people in the business field.”
Herbert is optimistic about Utah’s continuing recovery from the Great Recession.
“We’re not perfect,” Herbert said, “but we’re getting a lot of things right.”
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