Today, Blueprint Nebraska was conducting public town hall meetings, working to create a new standard of sustainable economic prosperity for all Nebraskans.
The town hall meetings had a unifying message for all of Nebraska to work together in moving the state forward.
The meetings were hosted by former state senator Jim Smith, now serving as Blueprint Nebraska’s Executive Director. Smith was also joined by Blueprint Nebraska Co-Chairs Owen Palm, President and CEO of 21st Century Holdings, and Lance Fritz, Chairman, President and CEO of Union Pacific Corp.
The Scottsbluff/ Gering Town Hall was held at the Gering Civic Center, and featured Gering Mayor Tony Kaufman, Aulick Industries’ Jake Aulick, WNCC President Todd Holcomb, and Ag Producer Andrew Groskopf.
Senator Smith said, “Today’s town hall meetings represent the state of Nebraska coming together to help build a meaningful long-range blueprint for Nebraska’s economic success. It’s encouraging and productive for Nebraskans to participate in honest and open dialogue, like those at today’s town halls, regarding the condition of the regional and state economies and how we can ‘Grow the Good Life in Nebraska’ together.”
Blueprint Nebraska is a new, citizen-led, statewide economic development initiative that includes Nebraska leaders in business, agriculture, government and higher education. The effort seeks to establish a comprehensive and pro-active plan to stimulate the state’s economic growth, competitiveness and prosperity, while building on Nebraska’s numerous strengths.
The format of the town halls started with a brief introduction of Blueprint Nebraska and the organization’s goals, followed by remarks from local participants. The panelists spoke to both the strengths and weaknesses of the regional economy from their unique perspective. Generally, they spoke to the perspectives of government, business, agriculture and higher education.
Additionally, today’s town halls included conversations based around the following topics: Workforce Development; Education and STEM; Housing; Manufacturing; Tax Burden; and Community Vitality.
Regarding the public town halls, Senator Smith added, “Today’s town halls are another step in the right direction to include all of Nebraska in creating meaningful solutions. However, more insight and perspective is welcome and needed. We are asking all citizens to take our online statewide survey and join in the discussion on social media. Respectful citizen input and participation is critical to the overall success of the project as we continue to move Nebraska forward.”
Nebraskans are encouraged to participate in an online survey regarding the state’s major industries, economy and way of life. The statewide opinion survey is found here: www.blueprint-nebraska.org by following the “Take the Blueprint Nebraska Survey” button on the home page.
The gathering of citizen feedback is a critical step in the Blueprint Nebraska process. Survey responses will be used by several industry councils – comprised of Nebraskans from across the state – to analyze the state’s current strengths and challenges in areas such as manufacturing; workforce; taxation and incentives; housing; community vitality; agriculture; health care; education; and technology and innovation. Survey input will be combined with research to produce a comprehensive, long-range economic plan for the state.
A second Town Hall was scheduled for North Platte this afternoon.
For more information on Blueprint Nebraska and to take the survey, please visit: www.Blueprint-Nebraska.org.