The candidate says a staffer will be given broad authority to spur economic development.
By TIM YOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
GIRARD -- Anthony A. Latell Jr., Democratic candidate for the 17th District congressional seat, has laid out his platform to improve the area's image and economy.
The Girard Democrat, now state representative for the 67th Ohio House District, said the key to his plan hinges on the appointment of two staffers.
One will attempt to turn around the image of the area, while the other will be responsible for economic development.
"Our challenge, locally, is a negative national image as a result of organized crime, political corruption and the economic devastation heaped upon use by many circumstances," he said.
Changing that image: "This negative image must be reversed before the board rooms of America will consider us as an expansion or relocation option."
Latell said he would appoint an "image revitalization expert" to head a regional effort to reshape the statewide and national perception of the area.
"Unless we change the image, nobody will come here, despite the advantages," he said, calling attention to low property costs and cost of living, experienced labor, highway access to markets, abundance of natural resources and universities and medical centers.
The person he chooses to spur the economy will work hand-in-hand with the chamber of commerce and other organizations involved in development.
He pointed out that of 200 U.S. cities, Youngstown is tied for 198th of where venture capital is invested.
"The difference is that this professional will help combine economic development with effective marketing and sales techniques," Latell said.
This will include finding companies that want to relocate and selling this area to them.
Helping businesses: The staffer will also survey existing businesses to help them before they are forced to close. In addition, the staffer will work with grant writers throughout the area to assure public and private funds come to the area.
Latell said he wants the person to work with the five district universities to evaluate their research capabilities.
Other areas, he said, have used the research and development capabilities of universities to create entrepreneurial and corporate hubs.
Public and private funds can be used to attract leading researchers, finance the cost of buildings, laboratories, equipment and scholarships.
Ohio has a $1.6 billion fund earmarked to promote research and technology, Latell said.