We all depend on a thriving and equitable economy to provide opportunity for individuals, goods and services for families, and revenues for vital public-sector investment. I will work to create that economy.
We have several key opportunities to foster and needs to address here in Eugene, and I look forward to emphasizing them.
Fostering economic niches and growth sectors
We have several local economic clusters that provide a significant share of jobs and economic activity, and I will always work to keep those companies and sectors thriving. Examples include food, technology (especially software), and the University of Oregon. These economic powerhouses are on-going partners for the community and for City government, and I will work with them to make sure they can thrive here and provide our broader community with maximum benefit.
Existing and Emerging Infrastructure
Local government is the principal steward of key infrastructure elements, and we need planning and investment to match continuing and emerging needs. We need to continue our investments in transportation, and in particular continue to build out our transit system. Transit is essential for providing cost-effective and environmentally responsible access to labor markets and services for all of our residents, especially our most economically vulnerable.
At the same time, we must look ahead to new infrastructure needs. I have continually supported the City's work on broadband fiber for our downtown core. The gigabit fiber access that we are building out (still in pilot, but coming to more buildings) will enable business models of the future to emerge here in Eugene and put our community on the map for the tech sector on the West Coast. We must seize this opportunity.
Cultivating the Local Creative Economy
We have a number of exciting centers of activity here in Eugene that together constitute an important part of the economy, providing jobs with above-average wages and excellent long-term prospects. Several of these sectors are clearly part of the information economy, high tech, and/or sectors that are expected to expand nationally and globally in the coming years. It is the job of city council to make sure that these sectors have what they need to grow and thrive. A few of them are worth mentioning:
- Our local tech sector: Our so-called Silicon Shire is the source of thousands of good jobs and several hundred million dollars in annual economic activity.
- Our local business incubators: Oregon Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network (RAIN) and FertiLab Thinkubator are both important springboards for new innovative companies. As important as it is to have such incubators in our city, we must ensure that they can both start and grow here in Eugene.
As your city councilor, I will work with these exciting and innovative developments and make sure our city is supporting these opportunities in the best ways possible. Part of that support is simply to ensure continued livability of our neighborhoods and the development of downtown – both of which are essential to attracting and retaining businesses and employees in these emerging sectors.