Governor Butch Otter of Idaho got a lot of publicity last week for this “love letter to our neighbors” – telling businesses in neighboring states (including Washington) that Idaho is open for their business.
I thought it was a brilliant move and wrote him a letter to tell him so – and to tell him I could help him by using social media to help recruit businesses to move to Idaho. Unfortunately, his response seemed like a lot of lip service and didn’t address my proposal at all.
Here is my letter, followed by his response – I’d love to hear what YOU think!
I want to let you know that I greatly admire you for your love letter to your neighbors (including my current home State of Washington). I think it was a very smart and savvy thing to do – I bet you have created a lot of new visibility for Idaho and that there are many more business owners thinking about relocating and/or starting operations in your fine State.
Furthermore, I would like to offer you my services. I would gladly move across the border to work representing a state with a dynamic and open-minded leader like yourself.
I would love the opportunity to help you in your quest to lure more businesses to the State of Idaho – and I am uniquely qualified to do so. I am the former publisher of the Bellevue Business Journal, here across Lake Washington from Seattle. I stopped printing newspapers last July after realizing that we’d been reaching many more people online and through the use of social media that we ever did through print.
I also have great experience riding the first wave of social media and know how social media marketing can help businesses, organizations and GOVERNMENTS reach their target markets. (You probably know that social media has been widely credited for helping Obama win the Presidency). I’ve been a producer of and speaker at social media conferences and am currently working on our Social Media 201 conference www.SocialMedia201.com to be held at Microsoft on April 15th (there is still time to become a sponsor if you are interested). Since August I have been doing social media consulting for small businesses and non-profits and have been very active in Social Media Club Seattle and would want to be active in http://smcboise.com/ if we can make a deal.
My current salary requirements are rather low, but rather than a high salary, I would be preferred with a modest base (to cover my living expenses and gas to come back to WA to see my 6 year old daughter 2-3 times a month) and performance incentives which would be paid upon my performance and reaching agreed on goals. I’m used to working only on days that end in “y”
I am available to meet at your convenience and would be able to start virtually immediately. If you would like to meet, please have someone at your office contact me and I will make arrangements to get to Boise (or the location of your choice) within 24 hours.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Joe “The Connector” Kennedy
Here was the response that I received from Governor Otter – or at least his office (which really didn’t respond to my proposal at all):
Thank you for contacting me about my efforts to attract business to Idaho from our neighboring states. I appreciate the opportunity to respond.
We have done many things here in Idaho to help us emerge from this recession. Our overall strategy for growing our economy is called “Project 60.” Designed in three tiers to strengthen both rural and urban communities, the plan will create quality jobs for all Idahoans by fostering systemic growth, recruiting new companies to Idaho, and selling Idaho’s trade and investment opportunities to the world. I encourage you to learn more about what Idaho is doing by visiting the project’s Web site at http://project60.idaho.gov/.
One part of this approach that has received much attention lately is my effort to recruit businesses to Idaho from the states of Oregon and Washington. When Oregon voters approved their legislature’s decision to raise taxes on the wealthy and on many businesses by $727 million, phones in Idaho started ringing. The individuals and businesses who contacted us are looking for a way to escape a system of State government that keeps changing on them. Now there is talk of Washington creating a bigger tax burden on its citizens and businesses to make up for shortfalls in its State budget, and Idaho is beginning to look more and more attractive to residents of that state, too.
In Idaho we are proud of the predictable nature of our tax policies and regulations, and we want to show businesses in other states what we have to offer. Instead of defaulting to raising taxes when revenues in the State budget started declining, my administration has been committed to reducing expenses in State government wherever possible.
All State agency directors in Idaho have had to determine which activities in their operations might not align with their statutory missions. This philosophy of “doing more with less” involves holding State government to its proper role in people’s lives and ensuring it lives within the people’s means. If you are like most Idahoans and agree with this philosophy of government, please consider Idaho as a place to relocate. We would love to have you.
I also will send a copy of your comments to the Idaho Department of Commerce for the agency’s information.
Joe, thank you again for contacting me.
As Always – Idaho, “Esto Perpetua”
CLO/ea C.L. “Butch” Otter
Governor of Idaho