Jon Cawley doesn’t fancy himself a businessman, and his background doesn’t include lengthy experience in financial matters.
But the pastor and Mount Airy commissioner does have a lengthy and dedicated history helping sports and recreation programs. So he reacted to the news of the most recent loss of manufacturing jobs to Virginia thinking like a coach. Here’s his comments from last week’s city council meeting:
“Some of the reasons jobs have gone other places are not any one person’s fault. It’s a system I don’t like. A system where our neighbor has an advantage … “The sportsman in me asks ‘what does it take to win?’ We have to turn that negative 30 into a positive 30. We’ve got to attack that problem. We have to take the attitude of refuse to lose when it comes to putting people to work.”
Mount Airy football coach Kelly Holder would be proud.
It’s this competitive spirit that’s the backdrop of a forum later this month on the incentives issue that will feature those vying for elected office. Organizers say the focus is on how to win back jobs from Virginia by offering more incentives. But what are the rules in this game? When does cash for companies go against free market capitalism? If manufacturing industries get money up front, what about the insurance agency wanting to expand and hire 5 new people? Or the hotel thinking about arriving and wanting to hire 20? What about the industry thinking of leaving? Do they get incentives just to keep jobs here?
The Messenger has been invited to submit questions for the forum. Send us your suggestions.