Archived Story

Editorial: Who attracts jobs to Albert Lea?

Published 9:43am Friday, January 18, 2013

Whose job is economic development?

Is it the city government’s job to attract businesses and jobs? Is it the port authority, the chamber of commerce, the county government, school district or the elected politicians? Is it the state and federal government’s job? Is it the role of the economic development agency, convention and visitors bureau or local business leaders?

The job of economic development is everybody’s. It’s your job.

When you leave Albert Lea, do you speak with pride about your town or do you put it down?

When you speak to out-of-towners about Albert Lea, do you deride our community or do you praise it?

When you are with your friends, do you constantly nag about how messed up you think the community is or do you sing gleefully about what a great town we have?

Do you shop local? Do you suggest local stores and local services to your friends and family? Do you participate in community efforts like the United Way? Do you give of your time by being on committees and panels or volunteering where needed?

Sure, no community deserves to go without criticism here and there. It’s healthy to debate issues. But what bothers us are the folks who only can criticize and not see the wonderful aspects of this community. It’s a great place. It’s not perfect, and there have been missteps, but no place is absolutely perfect. In general, Albert Lea is a beautiful city with gorgeous lakes, safe neighborhoods and nice, friendly people — especially when compared to so many other places in the Upper Midwest and more so when compared to places across the United States.

The trouble is that often the people who complain about the local economy are the same folks who go around talking bad about the town all the time. Why even live here? They are forever miserable, forever griping.

Albert Lea Mayor Vern Rasmussen made an excellent point at the Greater Jobs Inc. annual luncheon.

“We all must take responsibility for the growth of the community.”

Shop at local stores. Be an ambassador for the community. Be helpful to out-of-towners. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.