Shirley Leung’s column “Watching the mayoral race from sidelines” (Business, July 24) suggests thoughtful reasons for why many Boston-area business leaders seem to be watching the city’s mayoral contest from a distance. But there’s an important perspective she did not address, one that business people with a stake in the city’s future certainly consider. It is an issue most mayoral candidates have not spoken to thus far.
In today’s super-connected global economy international opportunities abound; so does competition. Mayors of great cities must have an international agenda and make it a top priority. To attract a wide range of foreign investment, mayors should develop innovative programs to project the competitive advantages of their cities to critical international markets.
Governor Patrick has shown keen interest in developing international ties for Massachusetts. At the Massachusetts Port Authority, new CEO Thomas Glynn is actively pursuing valuable international air service. Plus, there are a slew of business groups and universities that have international economic development as part of their missions.
Mayoral candidates should discuss how they would collaborate with all these players. What creative ideas do they have in this area? How much energy will they invest in implementing the ideas? The answers could really get the attention of key business leaders.
The writer is former deputy executive director of Massport.