Sununu touts 100 businesses in 100 days initiative, mum on details

  • Gov. Chris Sununu speaks with the Monitor in Bedford on Tuesday, April. 11, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

Monitor staff
Thursday, April 20, 2017

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu said Thursday he made good on his campaign promise to meet with 100 businesses in his first 100 days, but he refused to name the companies or say if any have committed to relocate to New Hampshire.

In a press conference organized by his office, Sununu announced he has talked to 127 businesses from 23 states and seven countries, but offered few other details. The first-term Republican said confidentiality agreements bar him from naming the companies, which he said range in size from five employees to more than 1,000 and span the high-tech and health care sectors.

“This isn’t our stipulation; this is a request of businesses that we keep things confidential until such time they are ready to talk in public,” he said.

His office got some “extremely firm commitments,” but Sununu declined to say how many or when the businesses would begin moving to the Granite State. Still, he called the campaign a success.

“I have no doubt we made some clear successes and inroads that wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t make this effort,” he said. “Over the next few months we will see some businesses come in that may not have considered us.”

The former head of Waterville Valley Ski Resort, Sununu ran for governor on a pledge to restore the state’s business “advantage” by improving the economic climate and recruiting companies to move here. He favors a legislative proposal this session to further reduce the state’s business taxes and said he intends to continue meeting with companies to try to lure them here.

Twenty-two businesses, many in the manufacturing or health care sector, expanded or relocated to the state in 2016 and created a total of 346 new jobs, according to information from the Department of Resources and Economic Development. It’s not clear how many businesses may have left; DRED doesn’t keep track of that data.

Sununu had contact with all 127 companies, either over the phone or in person, he said. The 100 businesses in 100 days initiative brought him to Canada; Maine; Massachusetts; Connecticut; Vermont; New York; and Washington, D.C., for some of the meetings. The money to finance those trips came out of his inaugural committee fund, not taxpayer dollars, he said.

The bulk of the companies represented the aerospace, high-tech and manufacturing sector, though Sununu also met with businesses from the health care, real estate, energy and employee-based industries, according to an eight-page report on the initiative.

During Sununu’s recent trip to Canada – his first official visit abroad as governor – the Republican met with between 20 and 30 businesses, he said. Sununu said the Canadian firms are interested in establishing offices in the United States as the Trump administration pushes a buy and hire American policy.

(Allie Morris can be reached at 369-3307 or amorris@cmonitor.com.)