East Stroudsburg, PA – When the attendees to Ed Kmetz’s official campaign kickoff for Monroe County Commissioner arrived at the premises of a local plastics manufacturer for the event and heard extruders & pelletizers & industrial dryers running, they figured they might be in for something different. When dinner was delivered by forklift, they knew.
Kmetz, 50, a Republican candidate for Monroe County Commissioner, held his campaign kickoff event at the Olde Slate Mountain Color Company, a manufacturer of specialty colored plastic pellets in East Stroudsburg. He held his campaign kickoff there “…because I wanted to send a clear message to the voters of Monroe County that the old way of doing things is not going to work anymore. I want the voters — Republicans, Democrats, and Independents — to know that I’m serious about paying down Monroe County’s staggering debt. And helping county businesses thrive is the best way to achieve that goal.”
The debt obligation, which according to county records is over $93,000,000 including interest due, is the main reason Kmetz decided to run for county commissioner. “As commissioner, my Job 1 will be to pay down that debt. Right now we’re wasting over $24,000,000 as scheduled interest payments, money that could be put to much better use as enhanced human services, or we could build up county reserves to self-insure, police services, or make infrastructure improvements like fiber optic, promoting the tourism industry here in Monroe or even… as a tax reduction!”
Kmetz discussed how as county commissioner he will increase revenues through “Economic Gardening,” a strategy that has been used in many other municipalities throughout the USA “with a 100% success rate,” according to Chris Gibbons, who started the USA’s first formal Economic Gardening program in Littleton, Colorado in 1989.
Economic Gardening, a strategy where government brings corporate-level business tools to local businesses – competitor intelligence, potential customer lists, GIS mapping, training in executive decision-making, and other tools – enables smaller local businesses to enjoy, at little or no cost, tools otherwise unavailable to them. “These are corporate-level services that businesses with fewer than 50 employees can rarely afford. But with an Economic Gardening plan in place, we can help our own businesses grow & prosper, without giving away tax incentives. We can help them provide jobs for our children. We can be like the City of Littleton, CO… with a population base of only 41,000 people… where they created 15,000 new jobs with no tax incentives… and sales tax revenue went from $6 million to $20 million” said Kmetz at the kickoff.
Finally, he laid out a 7-step plan for transparency in county government, including posting the commissioner meeting agenda on the web before the meeting is held; engaging citizens in the budget process; holding at least one of the two monthly commissioner meetings in the evening so that people with daytime jobs can attend; and posting the meeting itself on the internet. “None of the ideas I’ve talked about tonight are impossible; they’ve all been done before. They just haven’t been done here in Monroe County. But now it’s time for Monroe County to elect a commissioner who thinks outside the box, and is willing to work with other counties, other commissioners, other people right here at home who share these big bold ideas for responsible growth. The old ways simply do not cut it anymore. Monroe County needs a fresh face with new and optimistic ideas, someone skilled in business networking, who knows how to work with others for a great result, someone who is looking forward & moving forward to ‘that shining city on a hill.’”
As for dinner delivered by forklift? At the end of the talk, Kmetz suggested that Economic Gardening techniques be applied to a single, small dinner and advised the crowd to “watch what happens.” A forklift then appeared from the rear of the factory, carrying a delicious dinner for the crowd of over 60 people…
Kmetz, whose favorite phrase is “Think and Do,” appears to enjoy doing both.
Ed Kmetz, 50, is a candidate for Monroe County, Pennsylvania commissioner. A resident of Hamilton Township, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Materials Engineering from Drexel University, with graduate studies in Japanese language in the U.S. and Tokyo. His career history includes work in sales and executive management positions in high-tech companies in Asia and North America. Most recently, he is the proprietor of Pure Sight & Sound, Inc., a company specializing in entertainment and automation systems for home and businesses. He is also an Assistant Director and instructor in business networking for BNI, the world’s largest business networking organization; an active member of the Rotary Club of the Stroudsburgs; an instructor in outdoor emergency care for the Camelback Ski Patrol; and a Registered Outreach Instructor for the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association.