(Host) Governor Howard Dean has announced the formation of a special economic development task force that will focus on job growth in the Northeast Kingdom and the Springfield region. The task force will be made up of federal, state and local officials.
Dean says he’s concerned about a number of recent plant closings in those two parts of the state. The latest unemployment rate for the Newport region is 8%, almost double the statewide average:
(Dean) “I don’t have illusions that suddenly a group of people are going to be able to go down there and turn everything around immediately, but I do think this is an opportunity. There are some real assets in these communities and there’s been a lot of hard work done over the last 10 years. And I’d really like to focus on these two communities over the next few months to see if we can put together a game plan that will not only just help us through the current recession but will permanently reverse the chronic high unemployment that we see in these areas.”
(Host) Dean has asked the task force to issue a report to him by the first of April.