Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware, a Democrat, delivered his State of the State address on Thursday, Jan. 21, and he used the word “manufacture” in his speech (transcript).

We’ve been search for references to “manufacturing” and “industry” in governors’ speeches this month, and Markell’s mention certainly qualifies. His reference comes as he describes a multifaceted policy and spending approach toward economic growth in Delaware, using as a starting point the announcement by Fisker Automotive that the company will manufacture a plug-in hyrid sedan at the former GM plant.

Fisker also received support from federal taxpayers via the Obama Administration, including a $528.7 million dollar loan from the Department of Energy. Vice President Biden traveled back to Wilmington to announce Fisker’s siting choice.

The governor did not discuss the federal funding, but he plugged the state’s company recruitment and regulatory reform initiatives, thanked the congressional delegation, lauded the state’s workforce and praised the UAW. He also put Fisker in a larger policy context:

Fisker’s decision to locate in Delaware will only be a success when the cars produced here get sold in showrooms across the world. Fisker has announced an extensive dealer network and their business plan calls for them to export half the cars produced here. One of the most attractive aspects of Delaware was our easy access to, and high-quality workforce at, the Port of Wilmington. Businesses like Fisker need to efficiently get products to the market. That is why I am recommending $10 million in bond bill funding for the Port of Wilmington and that we move forward with the Northeast Corridor Rail project and the Route 301 bypass project – all important infrastructure projects that will make Delaware more competitive.

To restore Delaware’s promise and prosperity, we should not only build, assemble and distribute the next generation of cars in Delaware. We should invent and manufacture the technology for the cars – as well the technology for other industries of tomorrow. …

That is why I am supporting in this year’s bond bill plans to provide a center for high-tech laboratories, health sciences, alternative energy research and development, and other emerging industries at the old Chrysler site.

Global trade, infrastructure and R&D are powerful tools to encourage economic growth.

Education is also a prerequisite. A section of Gov. Markell’s speech was entitled, “A Great Economy Demands Great Schools.” Earlier in the week, he joined Sen. Ted Kaufman and DuPont to announce  a Statewide Council to Improve  Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education.

All in all, Gov. Markell’s State of the State address presented the big picture of how to achieve economic growth and jobs for the state, one that embraced the important elements for a strong manufacturing sector. It’s appreciated.

For earlier posts on other governors’ state of the state addresses, go here.

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