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Delaware Governor: Jack Markell

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  Archived Posts From: 2010


Every Job Counts

Written on: December 1st, 2010 in Job Creation

Yesterday, like most of my days, was about jobs.

It was one of those days that remind you that in Delaware, every job counts and every job has a story.

I started Tuesday afternoon with a lot of energy.  Literally.

Governor Markell with workers at the Indian River power plantI joined workers at NRG Energy’s Indian River Generating Plant to talk about an investment of approximately $400 million in a massive emissions control system that is creating 400-500 construction jobs while improving air quality.  NRG worked closely with the Delaware Economic Development Office and the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to protect our environment, improve our quality of life and help drive economic development.  The improvements will result in a 90 percent reduction in SO2 (Sulfur Dioxide) and a 70 percent reduction in NOx (Nitrogen Oxides) emissions.

Following the announcement, I spent much of the afternoon meeting with small businesses in Seaford.   (We’ve posted the photos on Facebook)

All of these businesses had started within the last several months and they are being run by passionate, hard-working entrepreneurs.  That’s what success requires.

These entrepreneurs shared their stories. Some were native Delawareans and were building businesses in their hometown to supplement their spouse’s income.  Others moved here from other parts of the country after researching great places to live and work.  We’re glad all of them are investing in Delaware’s future.

As I step back to look at the big picture of the day, I’m reminded that job creation is about collaboration, communication and hard work.  But it’s a collage that is made from each of our stories.Mary Sears, of the Chocolate Coffee Cafe in Seaford

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What’s missing from the jobs, jobs, jobs debate

Written on: November 29th, 2010 in Job Creation

This post was originally published in The Washington Post, on Friday, Nov. 26.

While President Obama was navigating the tides of global commerce this month, I was in a different part of Asia, making the case, one company at a time, for the economic opportunity my small state of Delaware has to offer.

Watching the hundreds of towering cranes building in China’s Hunan province and touring the 12-year-old Tainan Science Park in southern Taiwan that already employs 50,000 in high-tech industries, it was hard to read that the debate back home was about whether America’s “new normal” meant high unemployment.

The distance, and seeing firsthand the scope of growth outside our borders, made clear that the competitive sloganeering that passed for economic debate during the election season falls far short of actual solutions. Much of the debate over how to create more “jobs, jobs, jobs” has remained stuck on the points of greatest disagreement rather than areas that could achieve greater growth. For too many Democrats, it’s a focus on reducing executive compensation. For too many Republicans, it’s the fervent belief that government is taking over all private enterprise.

That framework focuses on false choices that distract from the real issues we must tackle to make the threat of this “new normal” an aberration. Neither line of thinking captures the essence of what we need to do to progress.

My perspectives on economic policy were shaped in the private sector; I earned an MBA from the University of Chicago, advised companies as a consultant at McKinsey, helped expand the company that became Nextel and served as an executive at Comcast. I can say with some certainty that those who argue that the “only” way to achieve economic growth is to “get government out of the way” are missing the larger picture.

Governor Markell with Motech Executives

They ought to listen to the successful executives at that technology park I visited, who credit their partnership with government in helping them create so many good jobs in the following ways: quick action on permits; low-interest loans, especially when the credit markets are difficult; planning the clustering of companies making up the supply chain; and investment in a high-quality transportation infrastructure.

They also ought to listen to the hundreds of American executives who have told me that critical ingredients for them to create long-term growth and long-term careers are highly responsive (not nonexistent) government, predictability of regulation (not lack of regulation), great (public) schools and excellent institutions of higher education (including vibrant state universities), reasonable taxes, a good workforce, a great quality of life and affordable (not unlimited) access to capital.

Increasingly, other nations are doing their best to offer executives those opportunities and policies at lower cost.

How do we compete? How we choose to answer that question is likely to determine our country’s success for the next several generations. Those answers will not be found in the framework of our existing debate or be produced by it.

My fight for Delaware and the efforts of other governors to fight for our nation’s shrinking middle class are more likely to be successful when our federal government takes at least the following steps:

  • Ensure that all activities related to bolstering our competitive edge at innovation are taken seriously. That means fully funding our patent office and making it easier for foreign graduate students to stay in this country after receiving their degrees.
  • Make regulatory and tax policy more predictable. Hundreds of billions of dollars are sitting on the sidelines in corporate balance sheets because executives are uncertain about the extension of various tax credits and the possibility of unpredictable regulations.
  • Acknowledge that infrastructure is an investment that will pay dividends over decades and not an expense that only adds to the deficit in the first year. Begin catching up to significant transportation and other infrastructure investments that other countries have made in recent years.
  • Continue to promote education improvement efforts such as enhanced science learning and Race to the Top, which has triggered a wave of enhancements across dozens of states.

Rapidly growing Asian markets don’t have to be isolated examples of accelerated job growth born from partnerships between government and business leaders. Washington can learn from these examples and build relationships that are cooperative and productive, not adversarial and paralyzing, between businesses looking to grow and public entities that want to support that growth.

Add our nation’s extraordinary capacity for innovation to this new mix, and we can drive toward a future in which the debate over the “new normal” is not about how high an unemployment rate we should accept but how much higher we can set our expectations.

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Governor Jack Markell’s Update

Written on: November 22nd, 2010 in EducationJob Creation

Helping Businesses Decide on Delaware

Over the past few weeks, we’ve had some good news about jobs. Three companies – Perdue, Calpine and Mountaire – put the First State in First Place when it came to deciding where to locate.

Why did Perdue AgriBusiness decide to relocate its headquarters and trading operations center in Seaford? Why did Calpine Corporation choose Delaware as its regional hub, covering 10 states? Why did Mountaire Farms decide to build a state-of-the-art Resource Recovery Center and invest in greener technology? Click here to learn more.

These decisions are testaments to what can happen when we look past politics and focus on what really matters most in this economy – keeping people working and getting people back to work.

Conversations About Stronger Schools

We’re hosting a town hall meeting tonight at Delmar High School, as part of our ongoing series, Conversations About Stronger Schools. The full schedule, with locations up and down the state, can be found here.

These conversations focus on efforts to improve student performance, support teachers and make sure Delaware’s children graduate ready to succeed in work or college. Educators, administrators, private sector employers, and parents join me and our Education Secretary, Dr. Lillian Lowery, to discuss a path to stronger schools.

Speaking out at Keene Elementary

I hope you also enjoy these recent blog posts on education:

If you can’t join in person, please visit to share your suggestions and feedback.

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Helping Businesses Decide on Delaware

Written on: November 22nd, 2010 in Job Creation

Over the past few weeks, we’ve had some good news about jobs.  Three companies – Perdue, Calpine and Mountaire – put the First State in First Place when it came to deciding where to locate.

Early last week, the Perdue Company joined us to announce that Perdue AgriBusiness will relocate its headquarters and trading operations center to Seaford.  Their efforts to develop innovative technologies and approaches are moving agriculture forward—it’s a great fit for Delaware.

On Wednesday in Wilmington, we joined hundreds of employees to formally welcome the Calpine Corporation, an independent producer of power. After they acquired Connectiv Energy, Calpine had a choice of several places to make their regional hub, which covers 10 states.

When asked Why Delaware?” Calpine’s President and CEO Jack Fusco said it was because his company “shares Delaware’s focus on promoting excellence, protecting the environment and creating business and employment opportunities.”

On the morning of Return Day, Mountaire Farms announced an investment of approximately $34.5 million to expand its poultry complex in Millsboro.  They will be building a new state-of-the-art Resource Recovery Center, replacing oil with natural gas, and upgrading their waste-water treatment facility.

There are many people to thank for the hard work that made these announcements a reality, including DEDO Director Alan Levin, Agriculture Secretary Ed Kee and DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara.

Also key was our talented and driven Delaware workforce – people these companies will be proud to call their own for years to come.

But most of all, the people of Delaware, who each day put aside our differences and fight for something instead of against each other.

It’s a testament to what can happen when we look past politics and focus on what really matters most in this economy – keeping people working and getting people back to work.

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How Much Difference Does a Teacher Make?

Written on: November 2nd, 2010 in Education

Were there any teachers that helped shape your life? Teachers that – in the words of Joseph Masiello, Delaware’s new Teacher of the Year – made you feel like you could soar?

An exceptional teacher can make a world of difference for a child’s future. Good teachers do far more than impart knowledge – they inspire a love of that knowledge.  They turn the classroom into a place of wonder, a place where that child wants to be.

I want to thank and congratulate Delaware’s Teacher of the Year, as well the 18 other outstanding nominees.  Their enthusiasm, energy, creativity, diligence and compassion are truly inspirational.

Similarly, an exceptional school system can make a world of difference for our efforts to create new jobs today and for Delaware’s future. New employers want to be in a place where their kids will have a great opportunity to learn and where schools graduate youth prepared to thrive professionally.

I want to thank all of the teachers who work hard to educate more than 120,000 children in Delaware’s public schools.  Our teachers are laying the foundation for our future on a daily basis, and their involvement in the education improvement process has been instrumental.

Thousands of teachers are making a difference for Delaware, but what can a single teacher do? Here’s what a few of our district Teachers of the Year wrote about the teachers that inspired them:

Delmar High School’s Lorrie Sonnier: “My success in the classroom was simply a fulfillment of my teachers’ expectations of me. That is until I walked into Mr. Wood’s tenth grade English class. Mr. Wood would stand on chairs and raise his voice to demonstrate his passion about what we were reading, create the craziest sentences that ensured each and every one of us walked away with new vocabulary whether we had planned it or not. By the end of that year, I had developed an insatiable love of reading and knowledge that has become the foundation of who I am.”

Milford High School’s Amanda Parisi: “In middle school, I started Spanish with the teacher who bounced into class, clapping her hands and chanting, ‘Buenos dias, clase! and of course, we responded with, Buenos dias, Señorita Roche!’  She had an electric energy that I hadn’t seen in a teacher. As we worked our way through basic vocabulary, culture and conjugations, I felt like I was learning a secret code. I was hooked and my thirst for more resulted in my continuing my education in Spanish.”

Seaford School District’s Courtney White: “A child sits in a classroom. She is confused, nervous and unsure of herself. She wants to do her best, but she does not know how. This girl is not a good reader so learning from a textbook is difficult. Picture this same girl five years later in high school. Mr. Kevin Chorusey, her eleventh grade English teacher, created a classroom culture that allowed his students to take chances. He taught with enthusiasm and excitement. This once tentative child is now engaged in class and all of the barriers to learning are a part of her distant past. This child was me.”

To learn about our 2011 Teacher of the Year and all 19 nominees, please visit us on Facebook.

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