Economic developers try to remain optimistic

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Uncertain times face economic developers, but you wouldn't know it by listening to the comments at the Nacogdoches Economic Development Corporation's annual meeting. Even so, business people in attendance circled Congressman Louie Gohmert. He wasn't the speaker, but rather the guest. Yet, clearly business people wanted to hear his take on the bailout package. The republican from Tyler voted twice against the bailout package. He attributes bargain basement stock deals for the turnaround in the stock market. Certainly not the bailout package. Listeners heard him say, 'A big mistake,' and 'Socialism at its best.' Gohmert says the authority given to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson won't work. "And in fact, we had the biggest downturn for the week after that Paulson's bill passed. I think one of the things we need to do back in congress is pull back his authority to just give away $700 billion to whom he wants," pointed out the congressman. Gohmert puts more faith in free market solutions. He also called for a stop to spreading fear and panic, something he says the president has been doing.

Gohmert much prefers the tone of optimism and reassurance that came from the guest speaker, State Representative Robert Nichols. The Jacksonville Republican said, "Yes, there has been a financial problem in some of the big banks and some bad loans and it's spread through the economy, but the core foundation of what you do here in Nacogdoches and East Texas, with Stephen F Austin and all the businesses, the hospitals here, the retail, you're in great shape. "

Looking back on the year's activities, nedco reports fourteen new developments and three relocations. The challenge remains vacancies, but NEDCO's new president says inquiries come in often incoming board president, Eddie Pool said, "We haven't had tremendous growth, but at the same time we haven't had declines. And oddly enough, we're having industries still contacting us and still inquiring about Nacogdoches and we're in a growth sector right now."

On the drawing board is the controversial federal prison project. The Sacul biomass project's future is more concrete, with construction start up scheduled for February. No matter the timeline of any project, there's the tendency lately to believe in it when you see it. NEDCO director Bill King said industries say, "We're not sure about the money supply, about getting loans, money defines expansions and relocations. It's kinda a time of wait and see."

Confidence in the effort to work together toward economic development remains strong. NEDCO's membership is solid.