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krazeeboi

Midlands economic alliance

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Chambers of commerce throughout the Midlands are taking the first baby steps to form a coalition that could better compete with the Upstate and Lowcountry in attracting jobs and leveraging political clout. This effort was primarily borne out of Southwest's spurning of Columbia in favor of flying out of Charleston and Greenville-Spartanburg.

One thing the article didn't go into detail about was exactly which towns/counties are being included in the effort. Obviously Richland and Lexington are, but the article also mentioned McCormick County, Manning, and Orangeburg. It looks like it's pretty much the constituency of the Central SC Alliance (and I have no clue why McCormick County is included in the alliance; seems like it would be more aligned with the CSRA or maybe the Upstate); however, I think that's too broad a net for this particular effort. I'd suggest just going with the Columbia CSA counties and Sumter County here. Otherwise, resources could potentially be stretched too thin and the focus could be diluted. Heck, I think a lot could be accomplished if just Richland and Lexington counties would set aside their differences and make a serious effort to join forces for the purpose of luring economic investment. Unfortunately, it seems that they are always in the middle of some spat (transit, homelessness, etc.).

And while this effort would be very good in terms of attracting certain types of economic investment, I sincerely hope it doesn't turn into solely trying to lure a bunch of manufacturing facilities that are dependent on corporate welfare handouts. The coalition needs to build upon the region's established and emerging economic clusters (FIRE, health IT, hydrogen, etc.) first and foremost, but landing an occasional manufacturing facility would be OK.

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