While our unemployment rate has fallen to 4.5% (the first time since 2005 that it has fallen below the national average), it still appears to have significant structural issues.
How did we get here? It was a perfect storm of economic calamities. First, our housing bubble had a 27% drop from its peak, one of the steepest of any state in the nation. This had a significant impact, not only on construction and real estate-related businesses, but on many other economic sectors as well. Then there was manufacturing; 27% of the the state's total job losses were in this sector due to overseas competition (particularly from China).
But here we are today, and now we must look towards the future. The following are several economic initiatives that I plan to explore and ultimately fight tirelessly for if elected as your next State Senator.
The Brookings Institute did a comprehensive study and provided us with some insights and recommendations as to how to jump start our economy. In short, innovation, innovation, innovation!
1) THE INNOVATION HUB- is a private-public partnership that will help drive Biotech, Green Infrastructure, resilience, and other future oriented industries that will have long-term sustainability. As I mentioned earlier, the collapse of the state's legacy industry still has an impact on our economy. We need to rebuild new "legacy" industries that will be sustainable and competitive over the long term. This is why this project has not only the ability to transform our local economy but projects like this can create change for our state wide economy as well. As a member of the Council, I have helped shape the policy around this initiative and I will continue to do so in the Senate.
2) COMMERCIALIZATION OF RESEARCH- We need to improve the commercialization of research being conducted at Brown University, the Naval Undersea War Center, and other research institutions. While a substantial amount of funds are being dedicated towards research, this knowledge isn't being converted commercially towards start-ups as compared to top universities in Massachusetts. We need to explore ways that will help improve the commercialization of the research being conducted in these institutions.
3) SOLOPRENEURS- Let's create a statewide program that will help support, embrace and cultivate individual contractors/business owners. These are individuals that are in business for themselves and have no employees. They are Web Developers, Designers, Architects and Carpenters to name a few. It's estimated that 40% of our work force falls into this category. By 2020, that figure will shoot up to 50%. We need to build a state-wide grassroots community made up of these independent freelancers. In Santa Cruz, they've created such a platform, one that provides services, networking events, collaborative shared live/work spaces and support groups. Today, Santa Cruz has one of the fastest-growing job markets in the nation.
4) STEAM AND VOCATIONAL EDUCATIONS- If we're going to create new legacy industries comprised of Information Technology related industries, we need to have a well educated workforce. In an interview Neil Degrassi Tyson said, "Anything that's going to grow in our economy will derive from innovations in STEM fields." College is not for everyone, that's why we need to invest in vocational programs for students that are seeking to learn a new trade. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. Or if you'd like to get involved in my campaign I would certainly welcome a PM from you or you can call me directly at: 401-338-2589