Here's the latest release from Republican candidate for governor, Tim James.
He has released his "Common Sense Plan" to create jobs and opportunity. Metro Birmingham, he noted, is responsible for over half of Alabama's gross domestic product. "When Birmingham gets a cold, the rest of Alabama gets pneumonia," he said.
As a result, James pledges that if elected he will open a Birmingham office in order to work closely with Metro Birmingham leaders to forge a strong alliance for economic development. He will be in the Birmingham office at least two days a month to meet with leaders and constituents.
"As a business entrepreneur who has started companies and created jobs, I understand the importance of taking care of Alabama businesses that create and employ over three-fourths of our work force," James said. "We need to enlarge the scope of our economic development incentives to include existing companies, including tax incentives for creating new jobs and investments in new plant and equipment."
James said the State of Alabama would continue its search for out-of-state companies looking to relocate. "Alabama's in a prime position to attract new businesses, due to our low-tax, business-friendly regulatory climate, as well as abundant water and land resources. Most important of all, Alabamians have one of America's highest work ethics; we are a people who understand the value of hard work and self-determination."
James outlined the rest of his Common Sense Jobs and Opportunity plan to include:
1. Transportation Investment – Ramp up planning and development for a Metro Birmingham strategic plan, including a northern loop for Metro Birmingham, a project that James says is years overdue.
2. University of Alabama at Birmingham – As the region's No. 1 employer, UAB is also a major center for bio-medical research and development. James pledges to work with local leaders and others to provide support, especially for bio-tech companies seeking venture capital and other guidance.
3. Work Force Development – Expand our work force development efforts to include a partnership between businesses, high schools and our two-year college system. An apprenticeship program will help companies attract and train good workers while helping bring down the state's alarming high school drop-out rate.
4. Internet Broadband Deployment – Continue Governor Bob Riley's "Connecting Alabama" program to deploy broadband services throughout the state so that every community, household, business and school is connected.