Lt. Gov. Greg Bell speaks at chamber banquet
The Emery County Business Chamber held its first installation banquet with awards for local businesses and guest speaker Lt. Gov. Greg Bell. Commissioner James Nelson was the emcee for the evening. Commissioner Nelson thanked the chamber for their activity in the county including the shop at home campaign. The chamber is a voice in the community standing up for local businesses and helping to keep local dollars in the community. He mentioned the Lunch and Learn events every other month which are informative and enlightening for businesses. The chamber hosted an economic summit which was well attended and offered a variety of workshops for local businesses.
Commissioner Nelson said they picked up Lt. Gov. Bell at the airport and took him on a tour of the San Rafael. Lt. Gov. Bell was presented with a gift basket from Forbidden Fruit.
Lt. Gov. Bell said, "I love this part of the country. I lived in Carbon County as a boy. Living in an area like this was a boy's dream. We would head off on our bikes with our bow and arrows. It was paradise. I feel so sad for my grandchildren who are growing up in the city, with no chores to do and no places to run. This is a great place to live and raise a family. It's sometimes a challenge to make money in rural Utah. I bring the governor's good wishes to you. He's a Utah guy and he doesn't put on airs. It's a privilege to be his saddle partner. He has great wisdom. It's what he was born to do. We're not spring chickens any more. We're Utah people and we're not going anywhere. We are here to help you. That's our function. We plan to increase the efficiency of Utah State government. We are the most efficient state government in the nation. We cut $1 billion out of our budget in one year. We left public education alone."
He said most of the agencies expenses are for personnel. The agencies were forced to cut back 20-30 percent of their budgets. So now when departments come in they want their budgets restored, but we're not restoring them to what they were. It's worked, the agencies have kept going. When the recession hit Utah had $529 million in the rainy day fund. At the low point there was $220 million and now the state is building that money back up. Utah State government is pretty efficient. The schools are a challenge they have a tremendous growth rate. In the 1990s, when Gov. Leavitt was governor the schools grew 10,000 kids per year. Now the average growth is 13,000-14,000 students per year. We have a lot of babies in the state of Utah, but that's good other states are not growing. They have no growing markets or new customers for their businesses. There are no youth to maintain an aging population. Utah is a magnet for those from around the globe. They love it here. They love the environment. They love the workers. They love the red rock and the skiing. They like the feel of the warm and neighborly people. Utah has some misconceptions to overcome, like you can't get a drink and everyone is Mormon and you have to have more than one wife.
Utah is a prime spot for site selectors who are looking to move or start businesses. One employer told Lt. Gov. Bell that he loved his employees. He was asked why and he was told, 'because they come to work, they show up. In our location before, I didn't know if the employees were going to show up for work. I didn't know if they were coming back to work after lunch. In Utah, they give you a hard days work. They have a real work ethic. The employees are putting Utah on the map. He told of the story of the General Electric Foundation that finds charities to help. The man who travels around the world for the foundation was in Utah and he told Lt. Gov. he was proud to know an official of the most efficient state in the United States. We should brag about what's good about Utah.
Mike Mower works for the governor and he's always working in stories about Emery County. He's still so proud of coming from Emery County. The local people, the community, you guys make it happen. This is America. It's the local people that serve, the commissioners and all others.
Lt. Gov. Bell told the story of Muhammad Yunus, who was from Bangladesh. He came to America for an education and then returned to help the people of Bangladesh and teach them about economics. But, these people lived in wretched conditions. Some families were living on two cents per day. The loan sharks were getting most of the money from the products the people were making and selling. These products went to Taipan and other distributors, but the manufacturers made very little off of each item. To get out from under the loan shark the people only needed $7. Yunus started a bank and started lending people the money to get out from under the loan sharks. They went from only keeping two cents per day up to $1.25 per day. They used the extra money to make improvements to their living conditions. One lady bought tin to put on her roof. The bank has had $8.5 million borrowers and a 98 percent payback rate. He's started banks in other countries now, too. The bank council is made up of women, who decide if you have a viable business for the bank to loan money to. The children needed vegetables in their diets, because they were experiencing night blindness. They started selling packages of vegetable seeds. Improvements have been made in heating, cleanliness and solar units with batteries to add light to the homes there. Why do I tell you this story, because people don't need a hand out, they need a hand up. A way to improve their conditions through their own hard work.
There are new ways to do things that haven't been discovered, Yunus has discovered a new way to pull people out of poverty. He is revolutionizing a whole nation. This gentleman is giving people access to education and to business. He's giving them access to medical help. With cell phones pictures are taken of medical conditions and emailed for a diagnosis to doctors and treatments are given to help these people. It's incredible what this one man is doing.
Emery County has not been as profitable as some areas. We need to be clever and innovative. Like what the candy store, (Forbidden Fruit) has done. Think of good ideas and nurture them. Sometimes we have to do things differently than we have done in the past. We can do it. You don't have to wait for anyone. Everybody wins when businesses succeed.
Past President Tyler Jeffs said the business chamber has worked to create a better business climate for all of Emery County. He encouraged everyone to join the chamber and become members. Awards were presented to Industrial Electric, Castle Valley Co-op, Randy's Service, Magnuson Lumber, West Winds Truck stop, Emery County Progress and AJB Holdings and KOAL-Castle Country radio and Nielson Construction.
The board members were sworn in by Judge Scott Johansen. Board members include: Julie Jones-chairman, Daine Behling,-pres. elect, Nanette Tanner, Ann Jones, Jenene Hansen, Patsy Stoddard, Keith Brady, Ethan Migliori and Brookelle Langi, executive director.
Jones thanked everyone for coming and for their support of the business chamber. "The chamber has grown strong in the two years of its existence. I believe in and love Emery County. We have great people here, we have people who can weather the storms," said Jones. She thanked her family for coming and for their love and support of the many things she's involved with in the communities.
The door prizes were presented including the grand prize of a TV donated by Emery County Progress and Ace Hardware which went to Steven Furner; the Skullcandy headphones went to Eric Howes donated by Emery Telcom, Gayla Guymon won the I-pad donated by Emery Telcom, Brandon Brady and Mark Holyoak won the Green River golf course passes donated by Green River State park, Emery County bucks donated by the Emery County Chamber went to Andrea Johansen, David Hinkins, Alice Wadley and Patrice Holyoak. These bucks are to be spent at Emery County businesses and the chamber will reimburse the business.