By JEFF JOBE
Kentucky saw a big change last year as Republicans took control of the House of Representatives and elected Jeff Hoover as Speaker of the House – the first Republican in almost 100 years.
Without a doubt, Speaker Hoover and Senate President Robert Stivers coordinated and handed Governor Matt Bevin the biggest historically conservative pile of bills to sign into law in our state’s history.
Those laws included years, if not decades, of being introduced, assigned to committees, debated and voted on. I remember being pleasantly surprised as the new Republican majority acted like true leaders and passed the bills they had promised time and time again.
It is my hope that 2018 will have these same men go to Frankfort, put aside the cries and accusations of personal disputes and attempts by the biased media to turn them against one another. Our pension system is broken and must be fixed, and our government needs versus income demands are not sustainable.
If a compromise is to happen I suggest fixing pensions, cutting government size while legalizing medical marijuana and casino gambling. Doing this will increase revenue to balance the needs for those already retired without taxing struggling families outside the good government jobs.
Because of the business-friendly laws signed in 2017 the work of industrial recruiters has been made much easier and results are being seen in a big way. We’ve seen over $9.2 billion in corporate expansions and 17,200 jobs announced.
It seems each week our newspaper email is receiving another announcement of a company already in Kentucky expanding and this is a true sign of industrial confidence. I can assure you that just a few years ago the big stories this time of year would be the cut backs and layoffs instead of expansions.
But also, the amazingly big industrial game changing announcements including Braidy Industries’ $1.3 billion investment and 500 jobs in Greenup County and a company called EnerBlu bringing 980 jobs and a $413 million investment between Pikeville and Lexington; will change those regions for generations to come.
2017 wasn’t good for the Kentucky news industry as a whole as our state’s largest newspapers in Lexington and Louisville and their political pundits devoted more inches of newsprint in trying to fabricate a home purchase scandal in which Governor Bevin used his own money to buy a house in Anchorage than they did promoting good relations for these two companies offering our state more than $1.7 billion in economic development sure to create hundreds of jobs and help make payrolls for dozens of contractors and estimated to employ almost 1500 of their fellow Kentuckians.
In my last conversation with Governor Bevin I asked what was planned for our region in South Central Kentucky and he helped me finally understand what he meant by always saying, “We are Kentucky.” As governor, he is charged with offering all our assets to a potential company interested in locating here and as long as they come to Kentucky he is happy. I personally thanked him for helping my hometown of Greenup secure Braidy Industries and shared a memory of mine where my younger brother, Mark Jobe, camped out one December night in line to apply for one of three jobs being offered at a local steel mill.
He listened and said, “Jeff, I hear these examples from countless Kentuckians all across our state and this is why I want so badly to bring these jobs, families can change for the better with good jobs,” and he shared a similar memory of him and his father cleaning offices at night when he was a young man. He concluded our conversation with a tremendous compliment by saying, “I believe because you and I know how it felt to want a better life so badly that we are not scared to fight for helping someone else get one.”
With this in mind and being thankful to God for living and loving yet another year I want to encourage every single land owner within our readership coverage area interested in growing or selling to reach out to a realtor and list their property.
It takes land for growth and the short list of properties shown by our economic development types and local politicians are owned and controlled by an even shorter list of people.
Step up in 2018, contact the true economic development professionals; a local real estate professional and see what a difference your 10, 50, 100 or 500 acres can make to us all if sold to the next Braidy Industry or EnerBlu Corporation.
Thank you for reading this local newspaper.
Jeff Jobe is founder and CEO of Jobe Publishing, Inc. His commentary reflects his personal views and does not reflect the views of personal or professional associations and affiliations. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his previously published commentary at www.jobeforkentucky.com