Communities like Bluffton, Hilton Head Island and Beaufort can attract jobs by learning their town's strengths, building on them and marketing the region with an effective Web presence, according to U.S. Rep. Tim Scott, R-Charleston.
Speaking to about 100 people Thursday at the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce's quarterly luncheon at Hampton Hall in Bluffton, the first-term congressman said job-creation is all about finding that "secret sauce."
"Our secret sauce (in Charleston), and I think the secret sauce of the Lowcountry, is exactly the same. The sauce is this -- sand, sunshine and agua, also known as water," he said. "Those three things will attract more people than you can shake a stick at. The key is making sure we are prepared to take advantage of that."
The payoffs of that strategy, while perhaps not immediate, can be huge.
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For example, Scott said Charleston area officials took steps almost a decade ago that led to Boeing Co.'s 2009 decision to assemble its 787 Dreamliner airplane there.
On the national level, Scott cited government debt, the tax code and new regulations as the main hurdles to job growth.
During the 35-minute speech, he talked about his college football days as Presbyterian Collegeand told an occasional joke, often at his own expense. If laughs failed to materialize, Scott quipped that the lines sounded funnier in his head.
Matthew Green, a developer of Buckwalter Place, said Scott's ideas for attracting business "hit the nail on the head." Locally, many of those ideas are already being carried out.
"Day in and day out, that is what we do," Green said, and the region as a whole is "on the right track."
When first elected in 2010, Scott's district ran from Charleston to the North Carolina state line. After the 2011 redistricting, the 1st Congressional District now runs from Beaufort County to Georgetown County.
Scott will face Democrat Bobbie Rose in the November election.