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Living in The Land of Wasted Potential

Living in The Land of Wasted Potential

 

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I recently attended a breakfast meeting, and sat in a room full of successful business leaders along with a large number of attorneys. The subject was the business climate on Long Island, and somehow I left the event slightly depressed. While some companies are making a lot of money, that doesn’t make up for the fact that Long Island really needs a major boost from someone and from somewhere.

There’s no question that, locally, we are blessed with some great natural resources. We have spectacular beaches, wonderful parks and many historic sites. We have a talented workforce and many skilled young people who are eager to live on Long Island, but something is missing: leadership. I’m not talking only about politicians. We have a handful of hard-working elected officials, but the region could use a lot more. We have quite a few successful company executives, but we could use some more success stories.

As a follower of both the local and national media, I would love to see announcements more often that a major company has decided to plant its flag in one of our two counties. Many of our smaller and midsized companies are enjoying record profits and have dedicated employees. The health care dynamos such as Northwell are booming, and more and more major hospitals are becoming affiliated with our local health care centers, which means good jobs and access to more skilled medical services.
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While I don’t expect Amazon or Facebook to build a gigantic headquarters here, I don’t get the feeling that there are any Long Islanders out there knocking on the doors of those companies’ executives, like elected officials used to do years ago. Suffolk County has been much more aggressive, thanks to the hard work of County Executive Steve Bellone, but Nassau County, with a host of budget headaches, is sound asleep when it comes to recruiting new companies to this great area. There are three towns in the county, and they all function as separate entities. It would be productive if they would sit down one day and figure out how to promote the whole county, to make up for its failure to attract big businesses.
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Jerry Kremer was a state assemblyman for 23 years, and chaired the Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee for 12 years. He now heads Empire Government Strategies, a business development and legislative strategy firm.

 

To read the entire article on The Long Island Herald, click here.