LEGO: A Shining Star in Enfield

October 5, 2010

One of the many great things about serving as your state senator is getting to visit local business people and do what I can to support our local economy with thoughtful and proactive legislation.

Last week I was able to visit with the president of LEGO Systems, Inc., Soren Torp Laursen, at the Enfield headquarters to hear what new and exciting things they have going on, and to share my thoughts about the upcoming 2011 legislative session and what it means for small and large businesses across our state.

First of all, Mr. Laursen told me that LEGO is on its way to expanding its facilities and hiring new employees to fill complex jobs with significant salaries. This story is not only great news for Enfield, but great news for the state of Connecticut and we all could use some good economic news.

LEGO is a shining example of a company that has continued to thrive despite the economic recession. It has taken hard work, ingenuity and a constant review of what consumers are looking for in a quickly changing marketplace. LEGO is more than everyone’s favorite plastic bricks as I learned when my six year old Tristan first got LEGO Star Wars for our PlayStation II…and now we’re on Bionicle. These are great video games and just one small example of how LEGO is growing with changes in technology, gaming and even social networking.

However, not all businesses are doing well these days, especially small “mom and pops.” We can’t always count on the business community to flourish in the face of state policies that drive businesses away rather than attract them and allow them to grow. As a state, we have plenty to offer, not the least of which is our highly educated work force. But businesses have to be able to make a, dare I say it, profit. We can’t vilify business in our state, and we can’t say we’re in favor of business only to have state policies that burden and demoralize folks in business.

The adage that government doesn’t create jobs, people do, has never rung more true. However, government does have a role to play in creating an environment where entrepreneurs can succeed. One thing we need to do is to reduce the high cost of doing business in Connecticut. Costs are driven up by high property taxes, a host of fees and counterproductive and burdensome regulations and, I believe, most of all by unpredictability. If we want a state where our children can live and work, we’ll have to do better, but I digress.

Throughout its years in Enfield, LEGO has established themselves as a top notch company, dedicated as much to the well-being of their employees as to their consumers. Even in the midst of the recession they continue to provide their employees with a work environment that is consistently recognized nationally. I was very impressed with Mr. Laursen and the vision he has for company growth during our meeting. The direction they are headed can only mean good things for Enfield and Connecticut as a whole, but we as a state must do a better job supporting them and businesses like them. Now is the time to truly chart a new course for Connecticut and make our state better for families and businesses.