Manufacturing in State of the State Addresses: South Carolina

By January 22, 2011Economy

South Caroline Gov. Nikki Haley gave her first State of the State address this week, including a portion on the state’s economic climate and the need to attract businesses. But before we cite the relevant passages, we note that the first appointment she announced after her election was of a manufacturer.

From a Dec. 6 news release, “Gov.-elect Nikki Haley announces appointment of Robert (Bobby) M. Hitt III to lead Commerce“:

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Gov.-elect Nikki Haley today announced the appointment of Robert (Bobby) M. Hitt to be the next Secretary of the South Carolina Department of Commerce. Mr. Hitt, who lives in Simpsonville, has managed corporate affairs at BMW Manufacturing Company since 1993.

“During the course of the campaign, we said that jobs and the economy are top priorities and that we need a Commerce Secretary who knows that ‘can’t’ is not an option,” said Gov.-elect Haley. “No one has more economic development experience over the last two decades than Bobby Hitt. A businessman who has been at the negotiating table with commerce officials and business leaders many times, Bobby Hitt’s involvement in every aspect of economic development in our state means he’ll have no learning curve. He’ll hit the ground running in January.”

Right! Bobby has served as chairman of the board of directors of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance. Excellent choice, manufacturers agreed.

As for Haley’s State of the State address, the Republican struck a reformist and budget-cutting tone, calling for government to limits it activities to be more effective it its more critical tasks. From the text:

with this administration, you will find no greater priority than economic development and job creation.

I am spending time daily on the phone with companies interested in coming to South Carolina. Our focus will not be on the quantity of companies we recruit but on the quality of companies that call our state home.

We want partners, those who are willing to invest in South Carolina, create jobs in our state, and utilize the small businesses already here.

As I have said many times, Boeing was not just a win for our state for the jobs it directly created but for the auxiliary jobs and the economic activity it will bring to South Carolina.

When I met with Boeing executives a few months back, they told me that 91 percent of their contracts were going to South Carolina businesses.

That is economic development.

My pledge to you is that we will not wait another twenty years for the next Boeing or BMW. I am impatient by nature, and I’ve learned, happily, that Bobby Hitt is too. We will continue to work, day in and day out, to bring the type of companies to our state that make all of our citizens proud.

We will strengthen services for our small businesses so that we can take care of the businesses we already have. Commerce needs to be a resource for small business owners whenever they need help navigating the red tape of government. And when government requires something of businesses, we should make those requests as easy on them as possible.

As we focus on lowering our unemployment rate in South Carolina, we will home in on ways to improve the business environment in our state.

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