- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 11, 2017

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Gov. Pete Ricketts kicked off a tour of businesses throughout Nebraska Tuesday in the build up to a state economic development summit later this week.

Ricketts said the summit will focus on issues such as the state’s affordable housing shortage and ways to draw skilled workers into its fastest-growing industries. The first summit was held last year.

The summit and tour are a part of Ricketts‘ larger push to create a business-friendly environment that creates additional jobs.

“We as a state want to look for ways we can help develop those things,” he said.

His comments came after he toured LI-COR Biosciences in Lincoln, one of several companies that helped Nebraska win the 2016 Governor’s Cup, a national economic development award. The state was judged on several factors, including its regulatory environment, labor force participation, workforce, power rates and infrastructure.

Nebraska now has the most economic development projects per capita in the nation, according to the governor’s office. Last year, the state garnered more capital investment projects than North Dakota, South Dakota and Kansas combined.

Nebraska Department of Economic Development Director Courtney Dentlinger said the state works to build relationships with companies that are looking to expand in the state. Companies that are looking to relocate to grow in Nebraska have access to some of the highest-ranking officials in state government, including the governor, she said.

“It’s all about customer service,” Dentlinger said.

Ricketts toured an energy company in Adams earlier Tuesday, and later this week he’s expected to visit companies in Snyder, West Point, Falls City, Endicott, Kearney and McCook.

The Governor’s Summit on Economic Development is scheduled for Thursday in Lincoln.

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