State Sen. Kevin Kelly Commit to excellence with growing jobs
The collective groan could be heard across our state recently.
A top high school player had chosen to play for Stanford University instead of Geno Auriemma’s UConn women’s basketball team. “How could this have possibly happened?” was no doubt a question repeated at Connecticut office water coolers and coffee shops.
Nutmeg State residents know that despite the prized recruit’s decision, Coach Auriemma’s internationally acclaimed team will continue to perform at the highest level for years to come. Why? Because the program is committed to relentlessly pursuing — and achieving — excellence. It will remain a source of great pride for so many in our state.
The recruit story raises an interesting question.
What if we had that same commitment to excellence when it came to growing Connecticut jobs?
Take our insurance industry, for example. A century ago, Mark Twain called Hartford “a city whose fame as an insurance center has extended to all lands.” That’s pretty impressive, yet today, we cheer news reports that show Connecticut approaching the insurance industry employment levels we saw back in 2012. We shout alleluias at mediocrity when instead we should be aspiring to be the best among states for insurance job growth. As we pat ourselves on the back, we might imagine how much better our insurance industry and others would be performing if they hadn’t been hit in recent years by the two largest tax hikes in state history.
The 2019 legislative session is approaching. Connecticut lawmakers have a golden opportunity to pass policies which help create a stable, pro-growth, business friendly environment. Unfortunately, several anti-business, potentially job-killing bills will be proposed. It happens every year in the Democrat-controlled Connecticut General Assembly. Even if those bills do not end up becoming law, their mere proposal and public debate sends shivers down industry leaders’ spines. Spooking potential job creators is not an effective growth strategy.
Here’s hoping Connecticut, through its public policies, will aspire to the “fame” Twain described a century ago. Let’s refuse to settle for anything less than the best when it comes to job growth. And when we come up short of our economic goals, we must frankly assess why we underperformed and then act decisively to improve. That approach has certainly been a winning formula for Coach Auriemma and his championship teams, hasn’t it?
State Sen. Kevin Kelly, a Republican, represents the 21st District, which includes Monroe, Seymour, Stratford and Shelton. On the web: www.SenatorKevinKelly.com