Gov. Hickenlooper Talks Economy at GJEP Luncheon
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- More than 300 people attended the Grand Junction Economic Partnership's (GJEP) annual meeting Tuesday afternoon.
Guests were able to hear from Gov. John Hickenlooper about Colorado's economic development.
"To me it shows how much Mesa County does contribute to the overall state," said Kelly Flenniken, executive director of GJEP.
"GJEP has been doing great work in conjunction with the state and really demonstrating that the bottom up economic development process we did two years ago really adds value," said Hickenlooper.
Hickenlooper said the Colorado economy is making a turn with Mesa County's unemployment rate, dropping from 9.6 percent to 8.1 percent in the last year.
He shared how he thinks Mesa County could continue that positive trend by branding the area.
"A place like Mesa County, where you have these beautiful wineries, you've got these incredible outdoor landscapes, the air is clean, it's an opportunity for the state to benefit by making sure the country understands just how cool Mesa County is," Hickenlooper said.
Hickenlooper told the crowd how important it is to bring new businesses into the valley, but not to forget those who are local.
"Our first and most important priority should always be our local businesses, and how do we help them? How do we make sure we cut the red tape, get some of the headaches out of their daily lives? How do we expand their access to capital so when they want to grow they can get a loan?" asked Hickenlooper.
Although outdoor recreation and energy are staples to the Western Slope economy, Hickenlooper also said he wouldn't underestimate technology and the information economy in the future.