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Apr 20, 2017 2:41 PM

Sununu touts 'extremely firm commitments' by some companies to relocate to NH

NH1.COM

CONCORD – Gov. Chris Sununu says he met with 127 out-of-state companies in his first 100 days in office in an effort to attract new businesses and jobs to New Hampshire.

Sununu highlighted that “we’ve got some extremely firm commitments to move here.”

And the state’s first Republican governor in a dozen years gave his team an A-plus when asked to rate his first 100 days in office.

As a gubernatorial candidate, then-Executive Councilor Sununu pledged to meet with 100 companies in his first 100 days, if elected.

With those 100 days now over, the Governor on Thursday reported on his efforts. Sununu told reporters he “exceeded” his goal and that the 127 businesses hail from 23 states and seven countries. The report issued by his office stated that the majority of the companies are located in northeastern states and Quebec.

READ THE REPORT

Asked by NH1 News how many of the businesses he met with are seriously considering relocating in the Granite State, Sununu answered “more than I originally thought.”

“I think it would be very premature to say how many are actually going to move here. I have no doubt some of them will. I have no doubt that we made some clear successes and inroads that otherwise would not if we didn’t make this charge, make this effort.”

Moments later, the Governor added that “we’ve got some extremely firm commitments to move here.”

As for a timetable, Sununu said “I think there are some businesses that will make their decisions in the next 30 days.”

Asked to release a list of the companies he met with, the governor said “under confidentially, we’re not allowed to do that.”

“We promised these companies we wouldn’t do it. It’s what they asked us to do. They asked us not to release their names,” the governor said. “This a request of those businesses. This isn’t our stipulation.”

He explained that “if you’re a manufacturer in Pennsylvania or wherever, and you’re looking to pick up and move 100 employees, that is not something that you necessarily want to publicize.”

Sununu said that some of the businesses came to New Hampshire for meetings, some were done over the phone, and that he met with others during trips, including stops in Washington DC and to Quebec.

The governor termed his visit to Quebec as an “incredibly successful trip.”

“Canada is our largest trading partner. No governor had visited Canada in I think seven or eight years. You gotta get out there. You gotta make these one-on-one interfaces. And the success of the trip was tremendous given the new dynamics, the new buy American provisions that we see within the United States now. There’s a lot of Quebec manufacturers that are looking to land somewhere. Well what better place than not only New Hampshire but northern New Hampshire, where they’re just a couple of hours drive from their home base,” Sununu added.

Sununu criticizes Democratic predecessors; gives his team an A+ rating

Sununu took aim at his two Democratic predecessors in the Corner Office, former Gov. and now U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan and former Gov. John Lynch.

“I’m a firm believer that when it comes to attracting and often sometimes retaining businesses in this state, we’ve lost our edge,” he said. “I don’t think anyone in the state has been aggressive in the last 10 years. I think we’ve kind of rested on our laurels. The economy is very good. That’s great. That doesn’t mean you cannot and should not put on emphasis on driving more business, driving more workforce, into the state and you’ve gotta be proactive about it.”

Sununu also explained that he paid for his out-of-state travel to meet with these companies “out of our inaugural funds…. There is no budget right now to travel out of state. I think that’s wrong. That shows you the lack of emphasis that previous governors placed on this.”

The governor added that he’s requesting a travel budget for such trips in the upcoming two-year state budget.

The New Hampshire Democratic Party took aim at Sununu for being "short on details."

"Governor Sununu's '100 businesses in 100 days' press conference was characteristically short on details and left us with more questions than answers. Sununu offered no names or proof of businesses he met with, giving Granite Staters no way to keep him accountable to his promise. The nature of his meetings were questionable, as he cited a webinar he hosted with 20 businesses. What did the rest of his meetings look like?" asked NHDP Chair Ray Buckley.

Sununu said that “we still have a backlog (of companies to visit) that we have to get to frankly.”

And he said the end of first 100 days in office isn’t bringing an end to his efforts to recruit new businesses to New Hampshire.

“This is the beginning of an on-going effort,” he added.

Asked to rate his performance during his first 100 days in office, Sununu answered that “I would give my team an A-plus….The team that we put together has been absolutely phenomenal.”

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