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Steve Sweeney Kicks Off Small Business Listening Tour [AUDIO]

Not to be outdone by the current administrations small business visits, State Senate Majority Leader Steve Sweeney kicks off his own “Small Business Listening Tour” with stops in Monmouth and Ocean County.

Ilya Hemlin, Townsquare Media

Sweeney first visited KMB Design Group in Wall Township, an environmental, mechanical, and solar engineering company that has recently expanded into Massachusetts. The Senate President toured the facility; spoke with its owners and employees, and well as solicited suggestions on what they need to grow their business.

He notes KMB Design Group was able to flourish during an influx of solar business in New Jersey, however the state is falling behind in solar technology and it’s forcing companies like KMB to expand elsewhere.

“Massachusetts saw what New Jersey did, saw that it created so many good jobs; engineering, construction, and a host of different kind of jobs. So we stopped moving forward, Massachusetts jumps in and this company hires six people in Massachusetts and will hire more now. ”

He notes Trenton needs to listen to the “job creators” on how to get jobs back in New Jersey.

New Jersey was number 2 nationwide in solar production, after California, however Sweeney points out legislators should have foreseen a market crash for the industry.

“We saw it coming and we needed to be more nimble and react, and we didn’t.”

Sweeney believes something must be done to help stimulate the businesses that are the foundation of the state technological economy. Specifically looking beyond the post-Sandy construction.

“Problem is it’s going to mask the real problems that still exist, because once that money is gone and those jobs are gone if we don’t correct the things that are wrong now we are just going to go back to what we were doing before which is high unemployment in the state.”

He says it’s important to stimulate the job markets in the sector that haven’t been overdeveloped elsewhere.

“Looking for the future industries of tomorrow like the offshore wind that someone is going to wind up landing. We should get that in New Jersey. So that’s what it is, looking for things that don’t exist.”

Afterwards, Sweeney visited Kelsey and Kim’s Café in Atlantic City.

In addition to hearing concerns from small business owners, the tour is an opportunity for the Senate President to promote “The Jersey Shore Is Open for Business” campaign, which helps residents find which stores and businesses are open after being hit by Sandy.

Business currently open in the Shore Region can be seen online.

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