VIEWPOINT: Legislators can help state keep growing
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
With the legislative session in full swing, our senators and representatives are addressing a wide range of issues. A glance at key topics being debated in the Capitol reminds us that many are tied to economic development. Numerous community volunteers and personnel across the state are fortunate to be engaged in work that affects the economic prosperity of our state through economic development.
A big issue on the table is the condition of our state's roads and bridges. Infrastructure improvements are critical to commerce and our ability to attract new and expanding companies.
Often, the first questions that come up when we visit with company executives are about the condition of our infrastructure, along with our willingness to maintain it.
Here in the Sioux Falls area, excellent transportation infrastructure – in addition to our profitable business climate – is a major factor in attracting corporate attention. Located at the junction of two interstates, close to a regional airport and served by major rail lines, the Sioux Falls area is at the crossroads of America. But the roads and bridges that are part of that transportation network must be maintained in excellent condition for our state to grow.
Education, another prominent topic during the legislative session, is also closely linked to economic development. Our educational system is shaping the workforce of tomorrow and conversations about education often involve economic development partners in a community.
Whether you look at first-graders, high school seniors, technical school or college students – these children and young adults are acquiring vital skills for lifetime learning and problem solving. No matter what work our young people choose as adults, the lessons they learn as students will help them have a more successful future. Educational excellence is critical at every level, and schools must have high-quality teachers and the facilities they need to ensure a world-class workforce.
There are other issues before our legislators, too – issues about business, community development, taxes and attracting skilled workers. Our elected representatives are looking to you to express your opinions about these issues so that they can do what they were elected to do – represent the people.
It is important for all citizens, but especially those of us who work in economic development, to be informed about legislative issues. But regardless of what specific issues you are following, we all have opportunities to attend legislative coffees, communicate directly with our legislators and, in general, be educated citizens. We need to participate in the process and take time to thank our legislators for their service.
The future of South Dakota is being debated in Pierre today – let's work together to make it an even stronger, more prosperous one.
Nick Fosheim is executive director of the Minnehaha County and Lincoln County economic development associations