Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell is one of the most popular politicians in America, with the sixth best net job approval rating for any sitting governor according to Survey USA. (She also has the third best ranking of any Republican governor, the third best of any governor up for reelection, and the best ranking among the women who are governors.) Even so, when we rated the governors for our current issue (here's the link), we gave Rell only two out of four stars.
"...Rell could be more proactive when it comes to small-business policies, because Connecticut may well find itself at a crossroads in the coming years," reporter Patrick Cliff writes. "The state routinely struggles to balance its budget. Cities such as Hartford and key industries such as manufacturing and insurance are in decline. Housing costs are high, which makes Connecticut an unappealing destination for younger workers. And even with some bright spots, such as the hedge fund industry, job creation is flat."
Given that allusion to the hedge fund industry, I was interested to see that Gov. Rell is moving aggressively to provide outplacement services to a collapsed hedge fund in Greenwich, Connecticut. The fund is shutting down after a youthful energy trader made an ill-advised $6 billion bet on natural gas.
"Gov. M. Jodi Rell has offered the state's help in job placement to keep the hundreds of high-skilled workers at Greenwich's moribund Amaranth Advisors hedge fund firm in Connecticut," the Greenwich Time reports today. (I came to this article via the New York Times' excellent financial blog, DealBook.)
The governor told the paper that "Connecticut is home to some of the world's leading companies in the hedge fund industry. I want to make sure that everything is being done to ensure that these highly skilled workers are finding new jobs in other Connecticut operations, and that we keep this work-force talent within our borders."
What do you think: can this kind of one-off economic development strategy pay off, or is it more important for a governor to put together a comprehensive package of economic development policies in order to nurture entrepreneurial companies?