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March 4, 2020
By Kay Kirkland, City of Enterprise
Lt. Gov. Ainsworth says state economy is “roaring”
Alabama Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth told investors of the Wiregrass Economic Development Corporation March 2 that the state’s economy is “roaring.” He said Gov. Kay Ivey’s administration is working diligently to help the state grow and create jobs in order to maintain that high standard well into the future.
Ainsworth was the keynote speaker at the 27th Annual Investors Luncheon at the Wiregrass Electric Cooperative headquarters in Hartford.
Among the administration’s priorities are the needs of education, business and industry concerns, the military’s mighty influence in the state and the all-important Census 2020.
A “listening session” recently indicated the top concerns for business and industrial leaders are workforce development, childcare options and property taxes.
With up to 40 percent of jobs predicted to be replaced by technological jobs in the future, Ainsworth said the state will be emphasizing the importance of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) initiative in state school systems.
School System quality is among the factors important in recruiting business and industry, he said, and it will be a priority when another Base Realignment and Closure assessment is done. With the world constantly changing and ever-increasing budget demands, he expects that the situation is not “if” a BRAC will happen sometime in the near future, but “when.”
“We need to be the most military friendly state ever,” Ainsworth said, noting that the military provides 210,000 jobs and has a $21 billion impact on Alabama’s economy.
A great opportunity for growth exists in the aerospace industry in Alabama, which already has 300 aerospace companies.
Federal funding is likely to be critical to some of the state and local community projects.
One way to help ensure Alabama gets its fair share of federal funding is for the state to get an accurate and complete Census count this year. The Governor’s Office and the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs are encouraging everyone, including Fort Rucker military personnel, to complete the 2020 Census.
Congressional representation and funding for programs in education, economic development, public safety, and recreation for the next 10 years depends largely on information collected in by the census, he reminded.
WEDC Jonathan Tullos presented Ainsworth with a beautifully carved wooden helicopter in appreciation for his visit to the annual meeting.
Tullos gave the crowd at the annual meeting a review of the year within the WEDC, and Chairman Jake Cowen turned over the gavel to the new president of the Board of Directors, Trent Dillard.
Photo by Kay Kirkland:
Pictured is Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth with new Wiregrass Economic Development Board of Directors Chairman Trent Dillard and Enterprise Mayor William E. Cooper.