One of Georgia's senators is working on a strategy to let the private sector lead the way in helping developing countries.
U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson co-sponsored a bill with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio -- who is a possible vice presidential candidate -- that would require the State Department and U.S. development programs to coordinate with the private sector in countries that receive U.S. assistance.
The thought behind it, Isakson said, is that sustained economic growth is the key to improving the companies and private investment and trade will help.
In a press release, the Marietta senator, who is the senior Republican on the Africa Subcommittee on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the move will help U.S. companies too, as better public-private coordination will result in more efficient use of U.S. foreign assistance and will help America's small- and medium-sized businesses more easily navigate the various U.S. development programs to learn what tools are at their disposal to help them invest in developing countries.
"The power of the private sector must be fully harnessed if we are truly committed to reducing global poverty," Isakson said. "People throughout the developing world depend on U.S. development programs, but in many cases these programs only treat the symptoms of poverty. Sustained economic growth through trade and private investment is the only thing that will lift developing countries out of poverty."
The bill would establish a liaison function between U.S. development agencies and the private sector, require consultation with the private sector when developing country strategies and calls for ongoing studies into the factors that constrain private sector growth in each country that receives U.S. assistance.
"This legislation empowers businesses by giving them a seat at the table as the United States considers its development strategy and by helping them navigate complicated bureaucracy in order to understand the tools available to them," Isakson said.Brooks on special election, prioritiesDays after winning a full term on the Board of Commissioners, Jace Brooks said he does have plans to qualify for the special election that would allow him to serve the final two months of 2012.
Brooks, a former Suwanee councilman, plans to qualify later this month for the November special election, called because of the resignation of former Commissioner Shirley Lasseter, who pleaded guilty to a federal bribery charge.
Since his competitor last week, Laurie McClain, has said she would likely skip the special election if she didn't win the full term, Brooks could get an early start on reaching his goals.
"The top issue is restoring trust in county government. Beyond that, we must work to create the proper environment in Gwinnett to effectively attract new high-paying private sector jobs. While attracting new jobs is no 'easy button,' it will help heal a number of our ills by expanding the tax base, filling some of our empty houses and retail centers, and improving Gwinnett home values. An expanding tax base and rising home values should ultimately lead to lower taxes for Gwinnett citizens and businesses," Brooks said in an email Friday.
"Transportation funding and prioritization will continue to be an issue for the county," he added, after the recent defeat of a regional transportation sales tax. "I also plan to focus on revitalizing the greater Gwinnett Place area to help spur job growth. Lastly, I want to take a look at reforming the county's regulations and tax policies to help benefit small businesses and families."
Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.
Camie Young can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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