Klemm: Provide opportunity for county residents

Published 9:30 am Thursday, April 8, 2010

Staff Writer

Creating opportunity and improving the quality of life for the residents of Beaufort County will require a three-pronged approach, according to incumbent county Commissioner Al Klemm.
“It all comes down to opportunity,” he said.
Creating opportunity involves bringing jobs to the county, improving the quality of education county residents receive and keeping the county crime rate low.
“We need to have more jobs, and better jobs,” he said. “And we need to improve education, particularly for people who don’t go to college.”
Klemm, who is mounting his second campaign for a seat the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners, is one of five Republican candidates vying in the May 4 primary to represent the GOP in the November election, when three seats on the board are up for grabs.
He knows first-hand the importance of technical training.
A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Klemm received on-the-job training during his four years in the military. He continued acquiring job-related skills at Delaware Technical and Community College and throughout his career in various industry-based training programs.
Klemm said that in his role as a member, and, more recently, as chairman of the Beaufort County Economic Development Commission, he has played a role in the first prong of bringing prosperity to Beaufort County — job creation.
“It’s one thing to say we need jobs,” he said. “It’s another thing to say I help bring jobs to Beaufort County.”
Because of the efforts of groups like the local Economic Development Commission, Beaufort County’s economy is better positioned to improve once the current recession ends than are many counties, he said.
“We are better prepared to come out of this recession than any other county,” he said. “With two industrial parks and an industry-ready building and skill center.”
The outlook for the upcoming budget for Beaufort County is difficult to determine because local leaders do not know the amount of state funding the county will receive to help cover some of the services it is required to provide, Klemm said.
“We have to be very conservative,” he said, adding that in most areas, spending will be less than in previous years.
Klemm also said that funding for economic-development programs should continue to be a top priority for county leaders.
“I would not want to cut our future opportunity,” he said. “I think we would be crazy to do that.”
Klemm said the county should continue to work closely with the N.C. Department of Commerce to pursue grants and other help with economic-development efforts.
Klemm said that diversity is the key to future economic development. In addition to pursuing industries, the county’s economic-development strategy should include promoting Beaufort County as a bedroom community for Pitt County, promote tourism and recreational opportunities and encourage the growth of small businesses.
“The best thing that can happen to us is the improvement in the economy,” he said. “Because of what we have done in the past, we’re ready, but we’ve got to stay ready.”
Al Klemm
Age: 65.
Address: 209 Bluegill Drive, Washington.
Job: Consultant; former director of machinery, maintenance and safety for National Spinning Co.
Education: Graduate of Delaware Technical and Community College and various industry-based training programs in machine design.
Immediate family: Wife, Carol, and two children.
How long a resident of Beaufort County: Has lived in Washington since 1985.
Experience as an elected official: Completing first term as a member of the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners
Other relevant experience: Chairman, Beaufort County Economic Development Commission; member, local Job Partnership Committee; member, Beaufort County Committee of 100 Board of Directors and member of the group’s Finance and Building committees; member, Mideast Resource Conservation and Development Board and member, N.C.-20 Board of Directors.
Last book read: “The Camel Club,” by David Balducci