Also, it appears that she has seen Tim Murray’s commuter rail wifi proposal and raised him: she proposes investing in statewide wifi. Touche, Mr. Murray, touche! (Seriously, both great ideas and both ought to be implemented in this most technologically advanced of states, particularly in dense, poor urban communities where it should be offered free or at a reduced rate.)
All in all, this is by far the most comprehensive proposal put out by any of the LG candidates so far this year. Murray has put out his two proposals as well, and those, combined with this economic revitalization plan, are great starts. They also show how far apart Silbert and Murray are from the others in the field. Goldberg’s recent injection of her own inheritance into her campaign can’t be a good sign. She didn’t even earn the friggin money, for chrissakes. At least Gabrieli, Deval and even Healey can claim that they, or their spouses, worked to earn their money. She got it from Mommy and Daddy. Not good and not the image we Dems want to be sending out there.
So, it looks like the “issues” game is on and it’s a two-horse race.
Look forward to your comments and thoughts.
Andrea Silbert Releases Economic and Jobs Growth Plan for Massachusetts
I am running for Lieutenant Governor to re-energize Massachusetts through job creation and innovation. My first priority will be to lead the stateâs economic development efforts, working with the Governor and Legislature to present a bold vision and a clear plan to replace the 170,000 jobs that our state has lost since 2001. Massachusetts is a national hub of innovation and entrepreneurship. In recent years, however, we have faced significant challenges and we have not lived up to our potential. While corporations continue to invest in research and development and entrepreneurs continue to innovate in the Commonwealth, job growth remains stagnant. Massachusetts is one of the few states in the country losing population as young, educated residents seek opportunities elsewhere. My goal is to reverse this trend and return our state to its position of leadership.
I am confident that we can do better. I have devoted my lifeâs work to economic development and job creation. As the former CEO and co-founder of the Center for Women & Enterprise, my team and I helped individuals create over 14,000 jobs that now generate $400 million in new wages each year across Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Small and medium-sized businesses are the lifeblood of innovation and opportunity and they are the big businesses of tomorrow. When an entrepreneur starts a company he or she hoists a sail. I know first hand how state government can get wind into that sail in the form of capital, training and technical assistance. With strong leadership and a vision, state government can create and execute programs that will tap the potential that exists here in Massachusetts and get our economy moving again.
Job creation is at the top of my list of priorities. I agree with Franklin Delano Rooseveltâs decades old argument that the best social program is a good job. I also know that the number one source of revenue in the Massachusetts state budget is income taxes. Income taxes come from wages, and to improve the quality of life in our cities and towns we must create new jobs. Jobs generate the money we need to invest in education, expand workforce housing, protect our environment, fund universal health care and make sure the social services are there for people who need them.
My four point plan to grow our economy is as follows:
1. Jumpstart and Invest in Entrepreneurs and Businesses from the Ground Up
Over the last 10 years, our state governmentâs economic development agencies and programs have been severely cut. These agencies and programs play key roles to help homegrown companies stay and grow in Massachusetts, to sell Massachusetts to new employers, to reduce red tape, to speed up permitting and to enforce consumer protection and competitive policies. Under my plan, we will:
â¢ Re-invigorate the Massachusetts Office of Business Development and staff the office with proactive, highly-trained professionals with small business expertise. This office and I will work closely with the federal Small Business Administration to maximize federal dollars flowing to Massachusetts small businesses.
â¢ Remove and/or streamline burdensome regulations. The permitting process at the state level often adds unnecessary time, cost and hassle for new and expanding businesses in Massachusetts. While retaining environmental protections we can streamline this process and other regulatory hurdles.
â¢ Continue to fund Public-Private Partnerships that Work Directly with Businesses. Accessing programs like the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the Smaller Business Association of New England, the Commonwealth Corporation, the Workforce Training Fund and the Center for Women & Enterprise are all inexpensive ways to leverage public dollars.
2. Reinvigorate the Innovation Economy â Invest in Sciences and Technology
Innovation has been the engine for job creation in the Commonwealth for more than thirty years. We must continue to capitalize on the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit of our populace. Under my plan, we will:
â¢ Encourage investment in our most innovative companies and industries. Create a Venture Guarantee program to stimulate equity funding to companies in major growth sectors of the twenty-first century including life sciences, renewable energy, security technology, high technology and robotics.
â¢ Make Massachusetts the center of innovation in the life sciences. Promote expansion of key industries such as biotechnology, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and healthcare services by bringing together universities, hospitals, venture capitalists, groups like the Massachusetts Biotech Council and state agencies.
â¢ Introduce and support legislation, especially for stem cell research, that will enable life sciences organizations to operate and innovate within a clear and predictable legal and regulatory framework.
â¢ Make Massachusetts the center of innovation in one of the most important pursuits of our day: the search for renewable energy alternatives. We will create a strategic plan to work with our public and private higher education institutions and businesses to encourage innovation and growth.
3. Invest in our Physical Infrastructure
We must urgently create more housing for workers and public transportation for commuters. I believe we should invest in economic development from the inside out, revitalizing our main streets and urban centers. Never is the term âif you build it, they will comeâ more apt than in economic development. Once upon a time, Route 495 was just a new roadway. Now, the 495 beltway is one of our countryâs software and high tech Meccas. Rail routes will be our next gateway to development. Under my plan, we will:
â¢ Win federal funds for a regional rail system. Along with colleagues in other states, I will lobby Congress for money for regional rail from Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont down through Massachusetts and on to Connecticut and Rhode Island. The best way to raise the money we need to expand rail in our state is to work jointly with the rest of the New England states to win federal dollars.
â¢ Expand commuter and freight rail service throughout our state, beginning with Southeast, Central and Western Massachusetts. Increased rail service will enable residents to live in more affordable and underutilized sections of the state and commute to their jobs. Rail is a first step in revitalizing communities; rail enables us to bring jobs to communities where people live rather than the other way around. Increased freight rail capacity will cause companies to lo
ok to these regions as places to grow their businesses.
â¢ Create workforce housing. Housing and job creation are two sides of the same coin. We are losing population in large part because the cost of housing in Massachusetts is so high. By increasing transportation to the more affordable areas of the state, we can provide reasonable commute times and keep our people here. We must also continue to invest in programs that help working families afford homes, such as the soft-second mortgage program or rental programs for younger workers.
â¢ Revitalize urban downtowns and the main streets of our small towns. I will advocate for revitalization through the Main Streets Initiative, a public-private partnership program created by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
â¢ Encourage cities and towns to create economic development plans. I will create a competitive grant program that cities and towns can compete for by submitting their economic renewal plans. State investment will focus on helping revitalize downtowns that are underutilized, in such areas as Worcester, Pittsfield, Lawrence, Fitchburg, Springfield and Fall River.
â¢ Renew our âbrownfields.â I will advocate for more funding to restore brownfields and create programs that provide incentives for companies who choose to re-use and revitalize former brownfields for their new construction.
â¢ Roll out wireless Internet access throughout the Commonwealth. A simple way to help Massachusettsâ small businesses and increase the productivity of all Massachusetts workers is to build incentives for providers to roll out wireless Internet access throughout the state.
4. Invest in People â Our Human Capital
The organization I started and ran, the Center for Women & Enterprise, is an education and training organization. I know first hand how important preparing people to be good business owners or employees can be â in todayâs global economy this is now more important than ever. Massachusetts is not just competing with North Carolina or California; we are also competing with Bangalore and Beijing. Our employees need to be trained to the highest levels and that training must be aligned with the needs of our current and potential employers. In some cases, our work force needs to be redirected and retrained to compete in our twenty-first century knowledge-based economy. Under my plan, we will:
â¢ Get children off to a head start. Universal pre-school and all day kindergarten are critical to preparing children to excel in school. They are also essential because most adults â both women and men â are engaged full-time in the workforce and need high quality and dependable childcare and pre-school.
â¢ Invest in a strong foundation for our children â particularly in math and science. K-12 education should make sure that all students have core language and math skills ensuring that all graduates are prepared for further training. Additionally, I want Massachusetts students to receive a strong foundation in math, science, financial literacy and engineering regardless of what careers they choose.
â¢ Invest in our workforce by increasing funding to our public institutions of higher education. 85% of the graduates of our public universities stay and work in our state. These graduates are our workforce, and they must receive a world class education that is as good as the education our private universities offer. I will look for creative ways to encourage our graduates to stay, innovate and work in Massachusetts.
â¢ Invest in workforce training programs. We must immediately invest more to equip our adult workforce with the skills and education they need to compete in the 21st century economy. Employers have stressed the need for more English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes, Adult Basic Education, job readiness and job training programs. Forming public-private partnerships with industry groups â particularly in health care, high tech and higher education â as well as with non-profit groups will help align government policy with employersâ workforce training needs.
â¢ Coordinate all workforce training programs. We will encourage collaboration between community colleges and universities, large employers and non-profits/social service providers to provide workforce training to all workers who need it, including our immigrant population.
If you believe as I do that we can do better at making the Massachusetts economy robust and vibrant for the twenty-first century, join me in helping create good jobs and a renewed sense of hope in Massachusetts. I invite you to share your thoughts on the points outlined in this paper via a written note to Info@AndreaSilbert.com. Together, we can make a real difference for Massachusetts.