Matt Doheny continued his "50 Businesses, 50 Days" tour this week with visits to eight businesses in the technology and communications field.
"During my tour this week, I was again reminded of the importance of developing comparative advantages," said Doheny, the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties' candidate. "Business owners told me they started their company and grew it here because they fell in love with our area."
"But capital is fluid -- and so are people. That's why I'm committed to making the north country, Adirondacks and Capital Region a more attractive place to work with these four common-sense ideas."
Government has a key role in terms of developing infrastructure. That has traditionally meant building roads, bridges, and water and sewer lines, which are essential for companies to take advantage of global opportunities by both receiving goods and exporting their products.
When we talk of infrastructure in the 21st century, that conversation must include Internet and cell phone service. There is a global competition for jobs. A rural community cannot compete if it does not have Internet and cell phone service.
To date, a mixture of both public and private entities have worked to extend cell coverage and Internet to unserved and underserved areas. Matt is very supportive of those efforts. This is an area where the investment has to be made, whether public or private -- and he will work to make sure it happens.
Since broadband providers must see a financial benefit before they consider extending service to remote locales, communities currently without service should come together and develop a strategic plan that demonstrates the benefit.
The role of a congressman is to build coalitions. He must connect and organize local businesses and communities to demonstrate the demand that will lead to broadband investment.
THEN GROW JOBS
Increasing broadband coverage creates endless opportunities for employment. Established residents can begin "homesourcing" -- contracting with companies to work from the comfort of their living room. While "homesourcing" has been primarily used for call centers and customer service, there are potential opportunities in both the manufacturing and financial services sectors. Carnival Cruise Lines, Hilton and JetBlue are among the companies who have already incorporated "homesourcing" into their business model.
BE THE WORLD'S BACK OFFICE
Helping connect current residents to jobs is part of the growth equation. A second part is convincing companies established elsewhere to move jobs here. While broadband expansion would allow companies to, for example, move certain back-office functions to the district, New York's tax structure is still a complicating factor.
New York ranked second-to-last in the State Business Tax Climate Index, including ranking 49th in individual income taxes and 45th in property taxes. While the state tax structure needs reform, Congress can help make New York more competitive by lowering spending and reducing unfunded mandates.
HELP BUSINESSES SUCCEED SO THEY STAY
While it's important to attract business, it's equally imperative to create a climate in which they can succeed. Businesses thrive because they identify and exploit efficiencies.
The role of a congressman is to work with local, regional and state economic development agencies to identify potential "clusters" -- groups of like-minded business that rely on each other to maximize competitiveness -- and then nourish their mutual development in our region.
In addition, Matt's role will be to help economic development agencies think strategically about how to spur industries that can supply or support already existing clusters in this congressional district or an adjacent one.
Matt started North Country Capital last year because he recognized that new and emerging businesses locally had a lack of access to capital. As congressman, Matt would work with business leaders in the area -- and around the country -- to create a fund that would provide start up equity and loans for local businesses.
GET SMART. STAY LOCAL.
One of this district's comparative advantages is the abundance of quality higher-ed institutions. The Research Triangle Park in North Carolina has connected five local universities with more than 170 global companies. That symbiotic relationship has increased economic activity in the region -- and there's no reason it cannot be emulated here.
Covenants between this district's community colleges, four-year universities and technology companies could be a win-win for both entities, as students would be taught marketable skills and companies would spend less on job training.
In addition, permanent resident visas should be offered to some foreigners who have distinguished themselves in science, technology, engineering or math at one of our local universities.