Ted Wheeler's TV Spot: The Numbers Guy

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

For Ted Wheeler, his first TV spot in the State Treasurer's race is especially critical - since he's introducing himself statewide for the first time.

The spot labels him "The Numbers Guy", which is basically right given the job - but that by itself seems notable: After all, it seems that every politician these days is hammering away on jobs, jobs, jobs to the exclusion of everything else - even where the connection requires a bit more analysis.

What do you think? Your thoughts?

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    [Full disclosure: My firm built Ted Wheeler's campaign website. I speak only for myself.]

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    FYI: I edited this post slightly. Initially, I had obliquely linked to the story about Metro president candidates talking about jobs by calling it a "tenuous" connection.

    As a number of friends have pointed out to me today, while job growth hasn't typically been seen as part of Metro's portfolio, anytime you're talking about land use and transportation infrastructure, you're talking about economic development - which means jobs.

    Mea culpa. Post edited.

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    I'm biased, of course, since I work in economic development, but I see job creation as the engine that feeds everything else. Typically, companies that are defined as traded-sector, like high-tech, software, manufacturing and warehousing/distribution, tend to have the greatest impact on the creation of new tax dollars and family-wage jobs.

    How can a city/county pay for infrastructure, education, public safety, healthcare services - and even conservation or environmental quality - without jobs that create new investment?

    For example, the Facebook project here in Prineville provided nearly $400,000 to Crook County in planning fees (among helping many other services). This project alone saved the county from having to layoff more people - or cut vital services, at least for this year. It is amazing how one project like this spurs on so much activity, and creates opportunity in so many areas: local government, real estate, legal, contractors, trades, engineers, architects, etc. There is a major ripple effect.

    With that said, economic development is a very broad term, and a community or organization may have different priorities based on needs or wants. For instance, conservation and environmental protection should be a part of the equation, given the impacts and use of resources many projects - like Facebook - will inevitably have. Then there's education, tourism, downtown redevelopment, renewable energy, affordable housing, and infrastructure upgrades - like water, sewer, roads, bike lanes, etc.

    Family-wage jobs can be created in a number of different ways, and through a plethora of projects and/or ideas. I believe an overall economic development approach that includes multiple legs, is the most productive and sustainable approach. However, one organization alone can't provide every leg of the stool, so it requires a community-wide effort with multiple organizations and jurisdictions bringing their time and expertise to the table.

    I just think it's easier and more politically palatable for candidates to invoke job creation without a lot of specifics, especially given unemployment rates, and the complexity and diversity of economic development. Saying "we need more jobs" certainly gets the attention of potential voters.

    In my opinion, candidates should have a better grasp on the organizations already doing economic development work, and find out what their future goals are, and what accomplishments have been met. Then, at that time, it seems more appropriate for a candidate to publically support those groups who are already doing the work, and then create their platform based on areas they believe are lacking; or by choosing a specific economic development project to advocate for.

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    less Ted, more Katrina! (jk)


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