To say this election season has been divisive would be an understatement. People are vehemently passionate on both sides of the aisle, and it's safe to assume everyone has something to say about it. Before we continue to degrade our opposition and hurl negative and nasty comments at each other, we should stop and think how - in the face of inevitable and uncertain change - opposing groups may need to start working together.
While all economic developers certainly don't hold the same political viewpoints, this is a group that should unite and join forces during a time of immense unpredictability. Whether you're a Democrat or a staunch Republican - or you fall somewhere along the vast spectrum in the middle - it can't be denied that this group may face tough regulatory change in the near future. Trump has grandiose ideas - and equally lofty rhetoric to accompany them - and deciphering the exact nature of his economic policies is a complex task.
According to gothamist.com, Trump plans to eliminate various agencies and departments, among them the Economic Development Association. There are other economic development programs under immediate and direct threat of severe funding cuts or out-right elimination as well. And while we know change is imminent, it is hard to tell exactly what the impact will be on EDOs large and small, urban and rural. It may be that our entire industry decreases in size, or the percentage of private funding continues to rise at a faster rate. There are a plethora of other outcomes that we may not see or feel for a long time, but there is some certainty to grasp right now. And that is for economic developers to band together and work together to accomplish short and long term goals.
- This means working across the economic development aisle to help local and regional partners.
- This means leveraging existing partnerships and relationships to find alternative marketing investment for your community.
- This means networking more now than ever before. Networking to find answers and solutions that will help your community not just survive this transition, but thrive right on through it.
- This means reaching out to elected officials to discuss the potential impact of cuts to economic development programs.
- This means reaching out to elected officials to discuss projects currently under development that will be harmed if and when federal resources disappear.
Our team is currently in the trenches at IEDC Leadership, where we’re hoping to discuss and strategize around making the industry the best and strongest it can be. We want 2017 to be the catalyst for better economic development marketing, strategies, and outcomes. And we want to help the profession get there through the construction of new ideas and methodologies that will withstand Trump’s Administration and inevitable modifications to our existing platforms and systems of success in economic development.In the meantime, we’d love to hear your feedback on the changes coming down the pipe - how they will impact the economic development industry, and the work we all do making communities and regions great.