Growth Model Reasserts State’s Greatness

January 13, 2019
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Growth Model Reasserts State’s Greatness

I have traveled many roads throughout Pennsylvania. The state offers plenty of scenic routes with stunning vistas, historic villages and modern cities and towns. Pennsylvania roads, much like our own lives, offer plenty of twists and turns. Driving the curve on Route 322 through the village of Van in Venango County, through the horseshoe curve near Altoona in Blair County, or through the Delaware Water Gap in Monroe County, Pennsylvania’s winding roads snake through the landscape and in many ways serve as a metaphor for all of us as citizens of this great commonwealth. For many, the roads are well worn and traveled in routines of work, chores and obligations. The twists and turns are merely unconscious meanderings that require little effort and no inspiration. Regardless of our condition we press forward in a pattern of “same old, same old” and with each passing day our travels are more about getting by and getting through it all. We become consumed by our own lives while at the same time the world rapidly changes around us. Over the past four decades, Pennsylvania has been in decline while some other states have moved forward along roads paved with opportunity, progress and economic growth. By every reasonable measure, Pennsylvania now ranks near the bottom in job and population growth, innovation, modernization and achievement on a global stage. We can do better. We must do better. Over the next decade we, as Pennsylvanians, must decide which road we shall travel together. Do we take the pathway that is comfortable and familiar or do we take the road less traveled with its uncertainty and challenges? Individually, we may be from the farmlands of Lebanon and Lehigh, the mountains of Kittatinny, Nittany and Pocono and the cities and towns of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, York and Lancaster, but collectively we are Pennsylvanians. Pennsylvania has a rich and noble history. Not long ago, Pennsylvania was a focal point of much that was important in the world. We led the way in manufacturing, energy development, food production and innovation. Communities sprung up and flourished. I believe we can once again be a place that the world looks to for innovation and opportunity. Pennsylvania can be a place where residents can pursue happiness and achieve greatness. Our shared Pennsylvania story will be about working together to forge an agenda for growth for all our citizens. The Grow Pennsylvania economic development agenda is the story of how together we will harness the power of innovation so that we will live longer and healthier lives. The Grow Pennsylvania agenda is how we will encourage the modernization of our colleges and universities so they can serve as a powerful magnet to retain young Pennsylvanians for a lifetime and attract new citizens from around the world. The Grow Pennsylvania agenda will no longer tolerate creaking and crumbling last century infrastructure. Our agenda will modernize all aspects of our spaces and places. Our water and wastewater systems, our railroads, pipelines, telecommunications and transit systems will be vaulted forward into a new century and we will straighten out a curved road or two. The Grow Pennsylvania agenda will be our future. It will be optimistic and reinvigorating. It will be for all of us but it will not be easy. It will be hard. The road less traveled is never easy. We, as Pennsylvanians, will encounter plenty of twists and turns. We will confront plenty of special interests with narrow priorities. We will confront those that traffic in division and discontent. However, I am extremely confident that 21st century Pennsylvania citizens will rise to the occasion. We will unite and grow together. Join our hearty band. Please email me at rwonderling@chamberphl.com or visitgrowpa.com and learn more about how we can truly grow Pennsylvania.

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