Posted by: Deb Henry | 10/19/2011

Good luck and Godspeed.

Every ten years, after the U.S. census is taken, lines get re-drawn as to where political representation lies throughout the United States. The concept of redistricting began in an honest desire to redraw boundaries to redistribute power to create competitive districts that would encourage residents to fully engage in the democratic process. Remember how you would shuffle the cards before a game of poker? Remember when you were little, and Ma made you share the cake? You cut the slice — but your sibling chose their piece first — you had an interest in making the split fair.

Today, Utah has one of the lowest voter turnouts in the nation and the disgusting, increasingly concentrated power in our government continues to fester.

I am writing this blog from Ireland because I am pissed.  No, not drunk — angry.

It seems those (1%) who toggle the strings of the puppet government that manipulate Utah’s economy and Legislature need to travel more. They’ve gotten lazy. They think this is the way it is, and the way it will always be. They forget that they are trusted with the responsibility of attracting new/ good/ smart/ resilient  businesses to our state and that these businesses expect a qualified, educated work force — yet our state stands in the way of providing that service. These ambitious companies are lured to Utah (mostly at the taxpayer’s expense via taxes through GOED) to privately subside the education system that continues to provide them with this pathetically lacking pool of applicants. These magnificent small businesses are given no choice but to import their workforce from educated states because the graduates in Utah cannot begin to compete on a national scale (let alone an international scale) for these technical jobs.

Let us recap: GOED attracts companies to Utah who expect a certain caliber of employee when they arrive. These private companies are met with the debacle that is that is the pathetic public education system in Utah. These companies are forced to spend their privately earned revenue on training employee  — which results in driving DOWN their investment for moving to Utah and decreases the amount of investment they can return the state.

Sweet irony!

Fortunately, we have an elective, out-of-state, supremely educated (publicly, etc.) sub-section of the Utah workforce who chooses to stay — believing (renewed, each cycle) that one of  these days, GOED and the economic community at large will understand that this elective population can leave whenever they wish. If the air quality gets any worse, they leave. If Kennecott gets to plunder our mineral rights even further, THEY LEAVE. If education continues to decline, if they are given the choice to raise children here or somewhere that values education, THEY LEAVE. Our entire economy suffers when this population of elective, highly educated individuals gets fed up with Utah — and leaves.

Perhaps you think that keeping Utah homogeneous is beneficial to Utah. We “protect our own” and can give a singular, insular product to the business community. Reality check: new, competitive businesses are not attracted to these employees. If these small business owners are not attracted to these values, they are then not attracted to the economy of Utah. We are hurting ourselves by providing a generic employee to these potentially productive small businesses. We are hurting the American economy if we are not generating vibrant, dynamic, heterogeneous, uniquely intelligent American employees.

The Congressional districts that just passed the Utah Legislature are a slap in the face to people like me who want to love Utah — but do not need to love Utah. Every day I choose to live in Utah and every day the Legislature chooses to give me reasons to leave and take my educated skill set elsewhere.

The more blatantly gerrymandered these maps are, the fewer people who have their values represented by the 1% on the Utah Hill. The more concentrated the Utah elite government becomes, the less powerful you, the individual becomes. Do not fool yourself. You’re not one of them. You are of us, the 99% and you are unfortunately the Utah Legislature’s pawn now that these battle lines are drawn to refute your American voice.

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