Today, Belmont resident and Greater Allegany County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Gretchen Hanchett announced her candidacy in the Republican primary for District 2 County Legislator. “I’m thrilled to announce my candidacy, not just for myself, but the District 2 community who deserves action-driven leadership. My position is our community as a whole should choose to believe great things will happen. We need realistic, actionable achievement. An Allegany-Forward attitude and agenda. Folks want tangible progress now, not decades from now,” said Hanchett….
In addition to this announcement, Hanchett shares her Allegany-Forward high points:
Prosper Together. Towns, business, agriculture, and neighbors can prosper in synergy together. “One group’s gain should not come at another’s cost,” Gretchen said. Her policy for adoption is that we must arrive at solutions that tangibly benefit the affected groups, “Progress should be a balanced compromise to all parties because every party matters in a successful community. It is important to collaborate with town and village governments as part of the process.” Gretchen also pledged to learn from others that have faced obstacles similar to our county, “Why reinvent the wheel or go about it alone? I’m not shy about seeking mentorship from successful out of area destinations.”
Hearing Together Working Together. Gretchen feels too much listening and not enough hearing, or understanding, has been a problem. As county legislator, she is willing to dedicate two-days a month for private and personal one-to-one meetings with anyone on any county matter. Hanchett declared, “I’m lifting the ‘no one gave me the time’ barrier. This being said, we must shift to ‘make it better for all’.”
Home Grown Growth. It is undisputable that 80% of an area’s growth comes from within, a fact Gretchen Hanchett takes to heart, clarifying, “I am 100% for out-of-area employer recruitment and ‘smart’ incentives. However, the truth is it takes a long time and lot of money just to get a ‘maybe’. Growth from within is faster and more loyal. Which is why I believe funds should be invested in incentivizing existing small business expansion and fostering worthy youth-initiated start-ups and entrepreneurs. Real support not just ‘encouragement.’ Another rural growth fact is towns retaining their youth prosper faster and better than those that do not.”
Achievable-Actions Sustainable-Solutions. Hatchett’s position is while major investment in our future is smart, getting to the future is just as important as having one. She believes District 2 wants more realistic victories in shorter order, explaining, “Our quest for Allegany County’s future should not overshadow unique, achievable, and by comparison, low to no budget solutions that can get us to our goals.”
Entertainment & Tourism. As Chamber leader, Gretchen’s interaction with locals, visitors, and employers affords unique perspective into our area’s concerns. It is important to invest money that could be spent locally, it is fiscally responsible to have a culture plan in place. If we are serious about outside recruitment, we need to demonstrate self-investment towards the employee and employer issue of, will my employees want to live there? Will they have options? Will they have plenty to do? Then, talk to our own people and incentivize them to give it a go.”
Gretchen Hanchett has been Chamber Executive Director for nine years, in addition to her 9 years administering Allegany County Tourism. Other civic roles include Southern Tier Economic Development Board, Workforce Investment Board, Amity Town Planning Board, Amity & Belmont Development, Economic Development Work Group, Leadership Allegany, and the IMPACT Trail committee.
“My mother, Carol Whitney, was the school nurse in Friendship for over 20 years and my father, Clifford (Bud) Whitney Jr, retired as a Navy Senior Chief Petty officer. He served 21 years and 9 years in the reserves. Together, they taught me not only the worth of work ethic, but the values of service and compassion that is needed to bring happiness and success. Doug, my husband of forty-one years, and I have raised three children. Our son, Craig, lives in Boston. Our daughters, Jennifer her husband Andrew and Cassandra and her husband Brandon and their children, Arya, and Elijah who continue to live in our county. My commitment is to help make our county a place to find good jobs and raise families and enjoy our beautiful natural resources.”