The most pressing problem facing the 43rd district is the continual decline in population. The smaller communities in the district are almost at the point of no return and the larger communities are also continuing to lose population-despite what appear to be fairly vigorous business districts. The district lost 7% of its population during the last census-equivalent to the combined population of Grant, McPherson, Loup, Thomas, & Blaine counties. We need to consider the following:
-The initiatives to address our needs must come from within the 43rd district and rural Nebraska.
-Economic development needs to focus on the "micro" level for much of rural Nebraska and the 43rd district.
-Establishment of venture capital groups in each community across the region must be encouraged, coupled with regional meetings where ideas can be presented. Venture capital groups exist in urban areas-let's transfer the idea to rural Nebraska.
-Grass roots study and analysis of regional strengths and weaknesses will sustain and grow the economy of the area.
-Tax incentives which are specifically tailored to very small communities should be developed to encourage the development of smaller startups.
-Further development of niche marketing strategies for products produced in the district should be assisted and developed.
-Redevelopment of broad regional business organizations (like the "Western Nebraska United Chambers of Commerce") will tie us all together to promote our common causes and give us a stronger voice in Lincoln.
-Schools should be encouraged to develop entrepreneurial studies programs which will instill creative thinking among students.
-Completion of the Heartland Expressway will generate much more interest in the communities of Alliance and Chadron as regional centers of commerce. It will be especially beneficial to Alliance with the significant industrial presence of Burlington Northern coupled with the Alliance airport which is one of the largest airports on the Great Plains. Alliance could become a significant distribution center if we can complete the highway rapidly.