Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper, D-Third, made a stop in Warren on Monday morning to talk about improving the country’s economy.
The key to making it happen, she said, is all about making products.
“We’re still in the midst of a recession,” the congresswoman said during the program sponsored by the Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry.
To move the country forward financially, Dahlkemper believes the federal government needs to support and encourage businesses, especially in the manufacturing sector.
“We depended too much on paper and not enough on production,” she said of the economic situation leading up to the recession.
To pull out of the recession, Dahlkemper believes the country needs to move away an economy highly based on providing services.
“We need to make things in this country,” she said.
By creating partnerships, businesses owners could have access to resources to aid in expansion and job creation. Specifically, Dahlkemper is in favor of manufacturer extension programs, similar to the local agriculture extension offices, to provide those resources. For example, a small business owner may not be able to afford a business consultant but a manufacture extension office may be able to provide one.
In the Third Congressional District, which encompasses Erie County and parts of Warren, Armstrong, Butler, Crawford, Mercer and Venango counties, the congresswoman sees opportunities for job creation in several areas.
On the Allegheny National Forest, Dahlkemper said the tourism and timber industries can serve as an opportunity for job creation while still protecting the resource.
In terms of the Marcellus Shale and energy innovation, she said, “It can no doubt bring jobs and has already.”
However, with the gulf oil disaster and tragedy of miners killed in Virginia in mind, she would like to see the companies drilling in the Marcellus Shale “use the safest procedures.”
She added, “We need to work with industry...We don’t need more red tape.”
Another area of opportunity she found was logistics with the district’s proximity to the Great Lakes, train systems and interstates.
“We need to take advantage of what’s in front of us,” she said.
Dahlkemper’s focus on creating and retaining jobs in the region is inspired by her five adult children and their friends.
She said some college graduates would like to stay in the region, but a lack of jobs drive them out.
“We really want to prevent that brain drain in our region,” she said.
Despite the the continuing recession, she said, “We have a huge opportunity to become stronger than we were in the recent past.”
Following her talk, Glade Township Supervisor Joe Scully asked what the federal government can to do help the people who can’t find jobs and whose unemployment is running out.
“There’s one job for every five people looking,” Dahlkemper said. “What we need to do is get more jobs. The federal government doesn’t create jobs, small businesses do” as well as larger businesses.
She added that legislators are working to make it easier for businesses to get started and advance. For example a bill that would make credit more available for small businesses has passed the House.
Times Observer photo by Lydia Cottrell
Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper addresses a group of constituents at the Conewango ClubON Monday morning. Her discussion focused on growing the economy and outlined local opportunities.