Governor Names Thurl Bailey Ambassador to Refugee Community

SALT LAKE CITY – Governor Gary R. Herbert today named former Utah Jazz star Thurl Bailey to serve as his ambassador to the state’s refugee community. In this role, Bailey will act as a liaison between the Governor and the more than 50,000 refugees who call Utah home.

“Thurl has demonstrated exceptional character and passion, both on and off the court,” Governor Herbert said. “His advocacy on behalf of Utah’s refugees will be extremely beneficial as we continue to help them integrate into our communities, and enhance the fabric of our great state and unique quality of life.”

“It is an honor to be afforded this unique opportunity,” Bailey said. “I am humbled and firmly committed to reaching out the hand of fellowship to our refugees on behalf of the Governor and the Great State of Utah.”

Many refugees face employment, language and other challenges when they arrive. Utah’s largest refugee communities – about 5,000 apiece – are from Iraq, Burma, Somalia and Bhutan. There are also smaller refugee communities from many other nations.

A refugee is someone who is forced to leave their home country due to persecution based on race, religion, or for political reasons. For more information about refugees, visit