Friday, January 14, 2011

Eco-devo tour might get it right this time

Gov. Hick takes to the road today to do a little more of what his transition team started regarding Colorado's economic-development strategy.

So far, Hick has not named a director of the Office of Economic Development and International Trade, and to my mind that's a good thing. The last two governors did a poor job crafting a strategy for the office that actually accomplished something.

Which meant the state and its small businesses suffered for 12 years from a high-level lack of concern for the prosperity of Colorado's small-business owners. Small business, after all, generates the most jobs in our economy, and the state's interest in business owners who are job generators only makes sense.

That was not the strategy of the last two governors. Both Bill Owens, who thought a free market should allow small business to fend for itself, and Bill Ritter, who had a Democrat's instinct for stepping away from anything that smelled of the monied interests in Colorado, allowed the economic-development office to flounder.

I think both governors hoped the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and its own economic-development arm would cover their asses on the eco-devo front during their terms.

But the Denver chamber had its own problems of perception rooted in its sometimes blind following of big-business interests. It paid lip service to small business, but I think its leaders felt more comfortable, more powerful and more influential dealing with the bigs. They simply paid less attention to the smalls.

The Hickenlooper team's encore tour of statewide economic-development interests promises a broader approach our new governor calls "bottom-up."

Outstate eco-devo folks have learned from the past that the phrase might mean they are just in for another spanking. Here's hoping for more from the state's newest chief executive. 

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