BOISE - Freshman Idaho Congressman Walt Minnick says in his seven months in office, he’s become convinced that creating new jobs in Idaho is the most pressing issue he can address, and there’s federal money, contracts and more that could help - if Idahoans just had a little help to tap into them.
Minnick announced that during the five weeks Congress is on its summer break, he’ll launch an “economic blitz” in Idaho, holding four events around the state, with Web access, to bring together businesses, communities, economic development officials and more with federal officials, his congressional staffers and other resources to help them get at the federal funding.
“It’s making sure that going forward, that no opportunity goes by because we haven’t made proper effort,” Minnick said.
Both the federal economic stimulus bill and all the regular federal appropriations bills, which Congress is finalizing now, contain funding opportunities that could create jobs in Idaho, the Democratic congressman said.
“Most of these funding opportunities are on a competitive process, so if we want to get a broadband grant for Kamiah, Idaho, we’re going to have to make sure that that application for Kamiah is cost-competitive and compelling as a proposal that comes from Ohio or Florida or someplace else,” Minnick said.
The four events are:
Aug. 4: Broadband roundtable. More than $7 billion in federal funding for expanding broadband coverage is available, between the stimulus bill and regular appropriations, and the first deadline is Aug. 14. The Web-based conference call and presentation will run from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Aug. 11: Connecting Idaho businesses with government contracts, including becoming a certified federal contractor, how to bid, and more. Post Falls City Hall, 408 N. Spokane St., will be one of the locations for the Web-linked program, which also will be conducted at the Association of General Contractors in Boise, from 8 to 11 a.m.
Aug. 25: Rural Economic Development Summit, also at Post Falls City Hall, 2 to 5 p.m.
Sept. 2: Builders roundtable, Meridian City Hall, 9:30 to 11 a.m. Mountain time. Federal housing agency officials and others will meet with Idaho builders and suppliers.
For more information about the events, call Minnick’s office at (208) 888-3188.