LoBiondo: Partnerships are key

LoBiondo: Partnerships are key

The Daily Journal
March 6, 2010

VINELAND — Partnerships between government and private business are the key to economic recovery for South Jersey, U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo told the Greater Vineland Chamber of Commerce on Friday.

“It is not the government that will create the jobs,” the congressman said at his annual “State of the District” speech at the Ramada Inn. The government needs to be “an enabler, not a hurdle” he said, in getting private business to generate jobs.

“That’s what’s going to end up making the difference,” LoBiondo said.

Examples of South Jersey public-private partnerships he cited include:

  • The recently announced contract for Boeing to work on Army Chinook helicopters at Millville Municipal Airport.
  • Air safety research at the aviation park at Atlantic City International Airport.
  • New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville.
  • Vineland’s downtown redevelopment efforts.
  • Millville’s waterfront development project.
  • LoBiondo’s address to about 150 businesspeople started with a national overview on what he sees as severely flawed economic recovery efforts that ended up as a “shell game” and failed to deliver federal funds to projects that really would have generated new jobs.The Republican also criticized the health care reform plan pending in Washington. He said everyone agrees on the need to make health care more accessible and affordable. But a major problem with the current proposal as he sees it is that it would jeopardize the doctor-patient relationship by limiting some treatment options.If President Barack Obama’s plan was such good policy, LoBiondo said, it would have been enacted six months ago when the president had his filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. He said the focus should have been on the areas in which Democrats and Republicans could agree.Many of LoBiondo’s comments about the policies and direction of the national government carried specific or implied criticism of Obama’s administration.

    During the question-and-answer session, Cumberland County Freeholder Director Louis Magazzu, a Democrat, argued our national debt to China was the fault of Republican President George W. Bush’s administration, not the Democrats, and he asked LoBiondo if he would admit his vote for the Iraq invasion was a mistake. Magazzu criticized what he described as the extreme right wing of the Republican Party and the extreme left wing of the Democratic Party.

    But it was Magazzu’s challenge to LoBiondo to “go back to the South Jersey roots,” that seemed to strike a nerve with the congressman.

    “I think I’m the one guy who has not forgotten his roots,” LoBiondo said, with more force in his reply than he had used during his speech. He pointed out that his 101-year-old mother lives four miles down the road, and that he remains amazed at his current position after being “the kid who grew up on a farm in Rosenhayn.”

    LoBiondo concluded his response to Magazzu by emphasizing, “I’m not there to represent the Republican Party. I’m there to represent South Jersey,” and “We’ve got to get these policies turned around.” The statement brought most of the crowd to their feet in applause.

    During his speech and the question period, LoBiondo touched on several other areas. Among the topics and his comments:

    “Homeland security and national defense is being lost in the mix.” We need to treat terrorists as “evil people determined to wreak havoc upon us,” not as common criminals.

    Proposed cuts to the Coast Guard port security would be a serious mistake.

    “Free trade agreements have killed our manufacturing.” He doesn’t know how it can be addressed. “There are a lot of problems with trade, but China is the poster child.”

    Posted: March 11, 2010 at 11:29 am

    Filed Under: Blog