Today I drove up through the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia enroute to my delivery at Allentown, Pa which occurs tomorrow. It was a grey and overcast day today but the color of the sky still could not cover up an area that is filled with vibrant farms and scenes of quality rural America.
Before coming in Virginia I had come north up through South and North Carolina and had seen indications of what state government is doing in the area of economic development and jobs. There are several examples but the one I think that clearly stands out is Spartanburg, South Carolina. This is the site of a very post modern looking complex of buildings that houses the production of Bavarian Motor Werkes or BMW. The car of choice for the type A me first- yuppie clan.
So why would BMW with its powerful socioeconomic status and growing market interest want to locate and build cars in South Carolina? I don’t know the exact answer to this question but it’s safe to say that this production facility is an example of what South Carolina is doing and New Hampshire isn’t.
Creating jobs. And why is this?
During my two terms in the Legislature I attempted to answer this simple but important question, at the time I didn’t even know a global conglomerate company like BMW would even consider operations in a rural area like Spartanburg. And each time I would ask this question I’d get the same type of response: New Hampshire is a small state that doesn’t have the same resources like larger states across the U.S.
I don’t believe this. I think New Hampshire is failing at economic development because of lack of leadership and to some extent the state run bureaucracy, that to me protects the rules of the past instead of leading for the future. I think the choices of some of the leadership in these area(s) reflects this. For example: how many new applicants have come into positions like in DRED or the Regional Planning Commissions in the last 5-10 years. I’d be willing to bet the answer is not many.
You’re willing to apply but outsiders are not allowed.