It’s all politics, all day, everyday these days, and so it goes on Nature of Business this week. I spoke with Ovide LaMontagne, the Republican candidate for governor of New Hampshire, about the intersection of business and environment, conservation in the state, nurturing clean manufacturing/technology, the general state of the economy, and much more. Very interesting perspective.
Economic development was a big point of discussion and, at the outset, LaMontagne spoke of how he would immediately put in place a statewide economic development plan that takes into account the varied regions of the state and places major emphasis on tourism and conservation. He pointed out that many people who have decided to live and set up shop in the state have done so because of its beauty and that this beauty must be maintained — it is from this point of view, he states, that a platform can be created where jobs can then be created and businesses can be set up at the right location, at the right time, and for the right reasons.
As far as encouraging cleaner manufacturing in the state, LaMontagne highlighted some of the companies already paving the way including TurboCam International, a high end turbine manufacturer with over 300 employees whose facility’s net use of energy is zero, as well as BAE Systems, and Fidelity Investments. He stated that these are the kinds of companies New Hampshire wants and is pleased so many already exist.
With regard to energy, LaMontagne would endeavor to put in place an updated plan that strategically focuses on energy diversity. In a state where the majority of people rely on oil to heat their homes, sources such as natural gas are game changers being not only cleaner but also cheaper.
Quality of life is certainly high in New Hampshire, and a 5.7 percent unemployment rate fares better than most states. Businesses, however, are still on edge so it will be very interesting to see if the next Governor, whomever the people choose, will put business owners and entrepreneurs at ease and incentivize even greater innovation in the state.