HANOVER TOWNSHIP — Democratic candidate for governor Tom Wolf had a message for area business leaders on Friday.
“We have to remind ourselves that we are good at making things,” Wolf told those gathered at a round table at Vino Dolce in Hanover Township.
Wolf, a 65-year-old York County businessman, said the 9 percent unemployment rate in Luzerne County has got to change.
“That 9 percent is not just a statistic,” Wolf said. “There is a person behind that. They gave up on the private sector.”
Unemployment is making our communities worse, he said.
His idea for job and economic growth rely on creating manufacturing jobs, improvements to state’s infrastructure and restoring funds to education.
To create manufacturing jobs, Wolf said people have to believe in the ability to make products locally.
He said that from his experience with his family’s business, he found local businesses can compete with overseas companies.
“We have to believe we can compete,” said Wolf, whose family business, Wolf Organization, is a manufacturer and distributor of kitchen and bathroom cabinets and building material supplier.
He found local manufacturers can react quicker to meet the consumers’ changing needs.
To set the ground work for future growth and to attract new businesses, Wolf said improvements to the state’s infrastructure are needed. He wants to go beyond fixing bridges and roadways and create more efficient transportation.
“Pennsylvania is the Keystone State for a reason,” he said.
Teaming universities up with local manufacturers, Wolf plans to generate innovation and create jobs.
“We have some of the best universities,” he said.
Also, Wolf wants to restore funding to schools with a formula for additional funds to based on the size of the district, poverty level and local taxes.
“Education must deliver skills needed in today’s market,” Wolf said. “Every teacher who unlocks the creativity in their students adds to the work force.”
William Vinsko Jr., of Vinsko & Associates, Wilkes-Barre, told Wolf he is creating optimism by creating opportunities.
“We have many things to be pessimistic about,” Wolf said. “We have so many more to be optimistic about.”