To the Editor:
It seems we have fame for all the wrong reasons. Norwalk has been tabooed as the city not to engage in business with. Whether you are a developer, a mom-pop shop, a family-owned small business or an established business; there is urgency for a cultural change.
Information, communication and education are vital to the success of small business owners, especially in the Wall Street and SoNo districts.
Norwalk’s future depends on our ability to attract and retain merchants that can help our local economy thrive and create jobs. We need to partner up with these entrepreneurs and have state legislators who can match their needs with resources at the state level. It is time we organize and issue a comprehensive plan that will move our economies of scale forward in Norwalk.
Our neighborhoods are filled with small businesses that are struggling to keep their doors open. As your state representative, I will fight for smart growth within our economic corridors and be the resource for business owners that may not know where to go for help. We need a true partnership between our state leaders and those business owners who do so much for Norwalk. Under the current status quo, there seems to be a lack of attention, acknowledgement and appreciation for these businesses.
There are many governmental departments that act as resources. For example: the Redevelopment Agency, the Small Business Administration and the Department of Economic and Community Development, who offers financing (loans, grants), tax credits and incentives, which then turns plans into profitable realities.
We are missing an elected official at the state level to bring this information on resources and solutions directly into the community. Knowledge is power, and information is key in the development of our business growth. We need to educate our business community on all of their options, rights and services that are available to them before going out of business is their only option. A simple informational seminar by the Small Business Administration, who is open to come to Norwalk, can create programs for business owners and is a resource that is directly at the fingertips of our state legislators on Main Street in Hartford.
The lack of leadership on simple tasks to help the constituency of the 140th State House District representing South and Central Norwalk is in dreadful need of a new efficient direction. We cannot wait another two years for more of the same. We shouldn’t be seeing businesses closing their doors or moving out of our wonderful city as much as we are. Our reputation is at stake in attracting not only home-grown entrepreneurs but others who want to move their families to Norwalk in pursuit of successful business opportunities.
We have many resources, like the Norwalk Chamber of Commerce and other partners that are willing to add value. It is time we take a proactive approach when dealing with the people we represent vs a reactive, inactive, stagnant one while in elected office. We need to work together and create solutions instead of dodging our problems.
Warren A. Peña
Candidate, State Representative
140th State House District