Spurring Economic Development With High Speed Networks

County Executive Ike Leggett proposed several new initiatives to improve the County’s economic development efforts in his inauguration remarks delivered on Dec. 1. The initiatives would combine to launch a new County economic agenda that reflects on a number of the key positions I have long advocated for.

I heartily welcome the County Executive’s decision to focus on economic development and entrepreneurship. I have long been a believer that, in order to continue to thrive, Montgomery County must have an economic base that is more diverse and competitive for new and growing companies in our region.

Building on my “Moving Montgomery Forward with Gigabit Speed Networks” initiative, County Executive Leggett is proposing creation of UltraMontgomery, which would be a high-speed fiber network that will connect Montgomery’s businesses and its academic and federal institutions.

I am extremely pleased that County Executive Leggett is moving forward with next-generation network infrastructure that will power economic growth and vitality in the County for years to come.

In August, I published the strategy paper “Moving Montgomery Forward with Gigabit Speed Networks” that addresses how new technology initiatives can drive growth in the local economy and leverage critical economic assets such as federal research labs. The plan led to me being named one of 16 finalists of the NewDEAL (Developing Exceptional American Leaders) New Ideas Challenge. The New Ideas Challenge gives recognition to smart, pro-growth progressive solutions that are being developed and tested by state and local leaders across the country.

To spur economic development and job creation in key sectors of Montgomery County’s economy, my white paper proposes building ultra high-speed, ultra reliable and ultra secure data networks in the County’s centers of research and economic activity. These are our innovation districts, such as the future White Oak development, the Great Seneca Science Corridor, Bethesda and Silver Spring.

These districts are attractive for investment and job creation because of the presence of federal agencies, such as the FDA, NIST, NIH and NOAA. He also points out the County’s significant private sector strengths and its highly educated resident workforce base focused around the life sciences, earth sciences, biotech and cyber-security industries.

The proposed development in White Oak, next to FDA, will be a great proving ground for these concepts.

I also praise County Executive Leggett’s initiatives to streamline the development process—an area where I have has successfully championed a variety of reforms. In addition, I support the Executive’s proposal to create a new tech-sector incubator.

I will join a roundtable discussion with County Executive Leggett and County-based entrepreneurs on Monday, Dec. 8, at the tech-sector incubator 1776.