My View: Oregon cannot continue to miss out on economic growth opportunities
The news that Intel is building a massive new computer chip plant in Ohio is a gut punch to Oregon and our economy.
This would have been the single biggest economic development project in Oregon in decades. At least a $20 billion investment creating thousands of jobs, and another $100 million to train workers for those jobs. And yet the Oregonian reports Intel never seriously considered building its new plant here. How did this happen and why wasn't more done to create those jobs here?
For 10 years, Speaker Kotek has led Oregon's legislative agenda. Growing family-wage and high-paying jobs in our high tech industry has been left off the agenda time after time. We need a governor who will incentivize job creation in every sector at every level. The fact that Oregon's largest employer is training Arizonans and Ohioans for the jobs of the future is a big problem. For years, we've been warned that Oregon's semiconductor industry and Intel were looking to other states to build, hire and grow. And in recent years, four new semiconductor plants have chosen different states despite our leadership in the semiconductor industry. Did Speaker Kotek reach out to Intel, or make any efforts to keep those jobs here? If she did, why wasn't she successful? And if she didn't, what does that say about the kind of leadership she would show as governor?
We know what it will take to create those high-paying jobs in Oregon — they need shovel-ready industrial lands, access to skilled workers and a business environment that supports innovation and growth.
I'm running for governor because we need to work with businesses big and small to make sure they can create jobs and grow right here. I would have done everything I could to keep this once-in-a-generation economic development project in Oregon — to train and hire Oregonians and grow our state's economy.
The next governor must work closely with Intel and other Oregon chip manufacturers to bring back production from overseas and expand their manufacturing operations in Oregon. We cannot afford to continue to lose out on opportunities that will benefit Oregonians.
Tobias Read is Oregon treasurer and a former legislator. He lives in Garden Home and has filed to run for governor in the May 2022 primary.
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