South Bend Regional Chamber on Wednesday, November 21, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
Last week, the report came out on 2017 Per Capita Personal Income Data for Counties across the country. This metric is a measure of the amount of money earned per person in a certain area. It can apply to the average per-person income for a city, region or country, and is used as a means of evaluating the living conditions and quality of life in different areas.
It is a key metric we utilize to help track how our economy is doing. One of our principle goals is to drive this number up. From the beginning of our Economic Development program, we've focused on the type of industries and companies that will help improve this number. We've now seen it go up nine straight years, with the 2016-2017 difference being the greatest improvement in that nine-year period.
The current per capita personal income for St. Joseph County is $46,118. While encouraged by the growth of that number, truth is, it still is only 89.3% of the national average and 95% of the Great Lakes average. We're trending in the right direction, or, we're getting closer to those "averages." Once again, our average exceeds the Indiana average.
Though average doesn't seem like a stretch goal, in this case it is. We'd love to continue to push this number closer to the national average and we believe that will continue to send a strong signal about the health of our regional economy.
Wow, the mid-term elections are over, and attention will soon turn to municipal elections. A big thank you to all candidates and their willingness to run! Each has made tremendous sacrifices over the past several months in an effort to connect with voters. A big thank you to each of you as well for voting or for encouraging your employees to vote, and thank you to those who shared the ChamberPAC-endorsed candidates with your associates. Frankly, we were really excited about the candidates who genuinely offered great ideas and solutions, and we were disappointed by those candidates who merely offered “sound bites” and “second-guessed” their opponents. In our minds, second-guessing isn’t a strategy.
One interesting stat for me that jumped out when analyzing the results was that 51% of all ballots cast were a straight ticket ballot. This day and age, that really surprises me, and leads me to believe people don’t spend as much time getting to know candidates as they should. That’s why efforts like the Chamber’s endorsement process are so critical. We try to dig deeper than the party affiliation.
Overall, four of the seven candidates that we endorsed, or 57%, won elections.
We’re especially excited about Commissioner Andy Kostielney’s win. Commissioner Kostielney has been a strong leader for the county, and his efforts have helped put the county on a path for economic and population growth. We believe good things are ahead for St. Joseph County, and we’re excited to have the commissioner serve for four more years.
We’re also excited about what the county council will look like moving forward. We believe it will be one of the better councils in recent memory, and we look forward to seeing the council and commissioners working together as the county navigates some difficult budget challenges. Congratulations to ChamberPAC-endorsed candidates Robert “Bobby K” Kruszynski, Jr., Corey Noland and Dick Pfeil. Joining them will be former Mishawaka Councilman Joe Canarecci, who won his first term on the county council after defeating ChamberPAC-endorsed candidate Brian Pawlowski. Diana Hess won re-election; she was unopposed.
The South Bend School Board produced two closely contested races, as ChamberPAC-endorsed candidates Stan Wruble and John Pinter lost to Oletha Jones and Ruth Warren, respectively. We will look closely at the school corporation moving forward, as challenging times are ahead, and this school board will need to provide strong and effective leadership.
As our attention shifts to municipal races in 2019, we hope some of you are considering a run in one of the many races on the ballot. Like we’ve said before, the national elections get most of the attention, but the local ones make the biggest difference in our daily lives. Want to talk more about being a candidate? I’d love to sit down with you and share with you those issues on the mind of the business community.