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Governors Brainstorm Economic Success Ideas

DENVER — Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt joined his counterparts Thursday to
rethink economic development strategies for success in the 21st century.


Some of their ideas include coordinating jobs and education, developing
science and technology to respond to industry needs, reducing legislative
blocks to development and promoting global trade.

The goal is to re-create the successes of well-known clusters of
competing and cooperating companies like the computer and software locus
of Silicon Valley in California, the telecommunications industry in Denver
and the auto industry in Detroit.

"We want to begin to focus on nanotechnology, we want to begin to talk
about human genetics, the interaction of information and privacy, and the
demand that will be placed on local and state policy leaders which will
create an environment that can be fostered," Leavitt said.

Michigan Gov. John Engler said that means encouraging the 5,000
software companies that have sprung up around Detroit’s auto industry to
make sure both industries are ready for new modes of transportation that
have yet to be invented.

"In 20 years, people are still going to need transportation," Engler said.
"Our plan is to see how we can leverage the strengths of our existing
industry and be attractive to the next evolving level."

The governors joined state economic development teams from 10 central
and Western states at a daylong forum sponsored by National Governors
Association and the Council on Competitiveness, a coalition of business,
university and labor leaders.

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