Ep. 1 - State Rep. Jesse MacLachlan
Brett Broesder: Hello, and welcome to The Tomorrow's Jobs Podcast. I'm your host, Brett Broesder, and seeing as this is our first interview we've done for this podcast, wanted to give you a brief introduction to what to expect. Every Tuesday and Thursday, we at the Campaign for Tomorrow's Jobs, which is a nonprofit advocacy organization focused on helping to grow Connecticut's economy for present and future generations, will be bringing you what we hope are interesting interviews with folks who are shaping our state's economic competitiveness, and the landscape for tomorrow's jobs. Interviewees will include lawmakers, newsmakers, business owners, reporters, and others from across the state.
With that said, want to introduce our first, and very first guest, a good friend of mine, State Representative Jesse MacLachlan. He was first elected as a Republican State Representative in 2014 at the seasoned age of 24 years old. Re-elected in 2016. His district includes Westbrook, Killingworth, and Clinton. Without further ado, Representative MacLachlan, thanks for joining us today, and welcome to the podcast.
Jesse MacLachlan: Thanks for having me, Brett.
Brett Broesder: Pleasure. So, Representative MacLachlan, just to start this off, I just want to ask you a little bit about your childhood.
Jesse MacLachlan: Sure.
Brett Broesder: Could you tell me a little bit about your upbringing and your parents?
Jesse MacLachlan: Sure. I was born in New Haven. We grew up in East Rock. My father was a small business owner, and he still is to this day, working in library relocation. And my mother was in business development for an interior design and tile company, working on pretty interesting interior ... high-end homes, from the starter home to some of the places over in Greenwich that are just so incredible. So, it brought her all around the state. We had a pretty interesting educational experience going to this little school called Worthington Hooker Elementary, which was just an incredible ... offered an incredible mosaic of kids from every walk of life.
Brett Broesder: Excellent. And you were born in New Haven.
Jesse MacLachlan: That's right. Yeah. We lived there until I was about 11 years old.
Brett Broesder: Got it. And then moved to Westbrook?
Jesse MacLachlan: Yeah. Yeah, my parents always had a dream of buying their own home. I'm sorry, building their own home. Buying a piece of property, and designing their own house, and that's what they did. My sister and I spent since about 2001, 2002 in Westbrook, went to a fantastic school system there. Very small class sizes. That's where I graduated high school.
Brett Broesder: That's great. Where did you go to school when you were in New Haven?
Jesse MacLachlan: I went to Worthington Hooker Elementary School and middle school for one year. It's just very small, and not by any charter, by any means. It's a public school, but incredibly international and diverse. One of the things I love about New Haven is it brings together people from all walks of life, where some of your closest friends and classmates, their parents immigrated here from India, and when you go to their house you get to experience a taste of Indian culture. I can't understate how important that was, I think, to understanding the way cultures have developed independently of one another around the world.
I think that the Millennials that are growing up are growing up into a just interestingly interconnected world that puts them on the same chat server as a kid from Northern Germany, talking about their favorite football team, their favorite soccer team. We're more interconnected than ever, and it has tremendous benefits to our development, just as people, but challenges too.
Brett Broesder: On that note, I know you went to Westbrook High School, then Gordon College in Massachusetts. While you were at Gordon, you went to China and did a semester there, so as you talk about interconnectedness, what did you learn from that experience that has influenced you?
Jesse MacLachlan: Yeah, China was incredible, man. I just sort of pulled the trigger. I was thinking of going to the Middle East to continue my education international relations in the Middle Eastern studies program in Egypt, but decided last-minute that if I wanted to best understand the international market, then I needed to spend some time around the Chinese people. Because that country is participating in ever-increasing ways in the way that we trade and create value, and I wanted to understand their people.
Brett Broesder: My understanding from our conversations is that you didn't speak fluent Chinese going over there.
Jesse MacLachlan: Any Chinese.
Brett Broesder: Yeah. Obviously, that presents communication challenges. How did you overcome those challenges, and what did you find helped you in terms of a mode of learning how to communicate ... get there?
Jesse MacLachlan: Yeah. It's amazing the degree that desperation incentivizes innovation.
Brett Broesder: Understood.
Jesse MacLachlan: And action. It was pretty simple. If I didn't learn how to ask for food, I wouldn't get any, unless I wanted to point like a two-year-old. And that happened for a while.
Brett Broesder: You must have become a great pointer.
Jesse MacLachlan: I'm the best, absolute best at identifying the most attractive-looking piece of food on a menu, as long there are pictures. Thank God, in China there are pictures. It's a little more difficult in the United States.
Brett Broesder: Well, what advice would you have for somebody who is in school or in the professional setting, and looking to go abroad to China, and not understanding the language?
Jesse MacLachlan: Oh, man. It helps to brush up on the bare necessities before you go in, so you don't have to worry about whether or not I can find a toothbrush, or ask for directions to the pharmacy to pick up some soap, and a towel, and the bare necessities for living. If you can learn the basics and spend about five or six hours learning how to say "hello" and, "How do I get here or there," that'll help you a lot.
I had this tiny little booklet, three by two inches, and it walked you through, essentially, how to not die when you're in a country that you don't speak the language. "Survival Chinese" is what my professor called it. I carried that booklet with me everywhere, and sometimes read from the booklet when I needed to ask for clean water, or tell a taxi driver where I needed to go. You just do that enough times with your booklet, looking like a tourist, and eventually, you can get around. You can get where you need to go.
Brett Broesder: That's great.
Jesse MacLachlan: Yeah. Yeah. It was a little freaky, but there's absolutely no replacement for throwing yourself in the deep end and learning how to swim. It's a lot of fun, and you feel more empowered afterwards. Once you feel like you can navigate a city, it's almost like getting your driver's license for the first time. That's kind of what I'd liken it to.
Brett Broesder: So, tell me a little bit about Gordon College. What was your experience there?
Jesse MacLachlan: Yeah, Gordon was a really interesting time. I think at the time, I was investigating some big questions for me. Why are we here, and what are we doing, and how did we get here, and where are we going? I was seeing the world through, and looking at the world and examining it through, I would say a more religious lens. I went there to just continue my hunt, and I had a lot of questions answered. I made some friends for life, and had the opportunity to spend some time and immerse in a new culture by studying abroad in China.
I feel like I came out with a better understanding of the role of religion in human perception, and measuring current events through a religious lens that in some ways externalizes salvation, externalizes the savior kind of thing. It's caused me to think pretty deeply about in what ways have we been abdicating our responsibility over ourselves and over our planet, and how can we be ... in one way, people who respect the faith of others, and be faithful people in our understanding of God as we see it. But also take responsibility over the fact that this planet's all we've got right now, and we're really all we have right now. If we don't take care of the planet, we may not be able to breathe clean air, or drink clean water in 50 years. And the last I checked, Mars does not have any beautiful beaches on it, or lush forests. Yeah. I'm not interested in vacationing to Mars. God bless Elon Musk, I'm excited to see what he's able to do, and I'm watching him very closely, but I hope that's a last resort, and not Plan A.
Brett Broesder: What advice would you have for other people going through a similar journey. Clearly, there are a lot of people going into college, and going through finding their calling, or finding even what motivates them. As somebody like yourself, who has come out the other end in such a successful way, what advice would you have for folks who are going through that?
Jesse MacLachlan: Listen to yourself. I've spent a lot of time confused between the things that actually make me happy, and how I feel like I should be participating in the economy and in society. So, listen to yourself, or else you may end up in 20 years making a lot of money, and being miserable. I don't know. It seems like it's kind of a waste of time to me, if the point of us trying to work hard in the economy is to live a high quality of life. Happiness is part of measuring your quality of life. So, I'd say listen to yourself. Be as educated as you possibly can. Take in as much data about how the world works as you can possibly get your head around.
And, be very diligent in how you spend your money, and what kind of debt you take on. Because it will have an impact on the choices that you have. That's a practical, administrative piece of advice. Make sure, if you take out debt for a student loan, that you're studying something. You're studying a course of study, and learning a skill that will allow you to pay it back. Because if you don't, you're going to be wrestling with that drain on your time and energy being a debt payment for a very long time. And you'll save yourself a lot of energy.
So, take your time. Don't feel like you need to rush into a formal education. It's more important to make that decision from a place of information, and make that decision well-educated and backed up by logic. If you're doing it because you feel like you have to, to make your parents happy, those are the wrong reasons. If you're doing it because you're passionate about taking on a skill, just make sure it doesn't negatively impact your life financially. Be careful about that.
Brett Broesder: That's great advice.
Jesse MacLachlan: I think the last thing I would say is, which has helped me ... I told a bunch of Boy Scouts this, actually, when they came to the Capitol. I told them, when I was on the campaign trail, I didn't believe in myself, and I had a really hard time maintaining faith in the fact that I could pull off a victory and do the job well. I would just visualize myself at my desk taking constituent phone calls, participating in discussions, writing bills, speaking on the House floor, and I would just think about that before I went to bed. So, when I woke up, that the image felt real, and I could act in the image of how I wanted to be in the future. I think it's been a little trick I've tried to use to move through difficult experiences, has been to see it in my mind first before attempting to complete it.
Brett Broesder: On that note, you graduated from Gordon. Tell us about your journey from there to getting to a point where you decided to take the leap, to go into public service.
Jesse MacLachlan: Sure. Sure. I graduated, and a good friend of mine, Art Linares, who is now a State Senator, was running for Senate for the first time. Art and I were next-door neighbors growing up, and played on the same high school sports teams together. He decided to run for Senate, so I jumped on the campaign. Then moved from the campaign to work for my father's company for the summer, because I've been doing that every summer since I was about 15 or 16. Then, for about three months, spent some time at Starbucks. Then jumped from Starbucks to working at a small construction company, a design and home improvement company. I swung a hammer, and it was glorious. Built roofs with my buddy Jeff out in eastern Connecticut, and learned a lot, and decided ... Well, simultaneously, I was interning at a local nonprofit organization for their CEO, and getting to spend a lot of time around him, which was a wonderful experience. And ended up, at the suggestion of some friends, putting my name on a ballot.
Brett Broesder: That's great.
Jesse MacLachlan: Yeah.
Brett Broesder: How do you feel about that today?
Jesse MacLachlan: Oh, man. I had no idea what I was getting involved in.
Brett Broesder: Understood, understood.
Jesse MacLachlan: Learned a lot. Learned a lot. I've gotten to know the people of my district, and it's been ... it's made me incredibly proud.
Brett Broesder: That's great. On that note, what advice would you have for somebody today looking to go into public office?
Jesse MacLachlan: I would encourage them to examine their reasons for it. If they're looking for a flashy Netflix special, they're not going to find it. It's a lot of work out of the spotlight. I would encourage you to do it if you love policy, and you believe in its impact on deciding upon the rules of the game, in our ... whether it's your municipality, or your state, or your country. And you have general belief that the law makes us better people, the fact that we have rules that we live within makes us better people. If you're interested in serving others, you should do it, and to the extent that you can examine your own ego, and your own self-interests, give them a good, hard look, and do it with a heart to serve others.
Brett Broesder: That's great. I know that in addition to your public service, you also work at a renewable energy company.
Jesse MacLachlan: I do, yeah.
Brett Broesder: Can you tell me a little bit about how you got into renewable energy, and into that role?
Jesse MacLachlan: Sure. Back in 2008, two of my really good friends, Mike and Art, decided they wanted to start a company. No one gave them a shot, said they had a one chance in a million of successfully building solar energy generators: polysilicon photovoltaic systems that convert light to DC electricity, and then to AC electricity, to feed into a building. That power the building, and offset their electricity costs.
Brett Broesder: So, friends start the company. You go to Gordon College, you come back, you go the barista route, which I know we have that in common, as both former baristas. Yeah. And then you end up going to work there (Greenskies). When do you end up going to work there?
Jesse MacLachlan: Okay. So, I got to Greenskies in September of 2015.
Brett Broesder: Okay.
Jesse MacLachlan: It's a great company. A lot of people who are just working as hard and as fast as they can. It's a relaxed work environment, and ultimately, we exist to deploy at scale clean, renewable energy that reduces carbon footprint on the planet, and offers cheaper electricity to uptakers.
Brett Broesder: What is one thing you've learned at Greenskies that you would have never expected to have learned when you started the job?
Jesse MacLachlan: Oh, that's a really good question, Brett. That's a really good question. I never expected the importance of properly financing your projects. Your project could be the government. Your project could be a bakery that you're opening. Your project could be a digital media company, or it could be a new bridge.
I think I had a better ... I understood it in a deeper way, how much value can be moved in the economy, and how many jobs can be created, if you're able to accurately match all the money that's sitting in large financial institutions with entrepreneurs and business owners with great ideas who can prove that their ideas create value. Sort of bridging that gap, and if we can create a better conversation, connect expert financiers who know how to make money grow with folks who can prove that their idea provides value, I think we can make a better stride in growing the economy.
Brett Broesder: How do you think we can do that from a policy standpoint?
Jesse MacLachlan: That's a really good question. I don't think I have a silver bullet off the top of my head.
Brett Broesder: No, understood.
Jesse MacLachlan: I think it's a ... from one perspective, we can look at the role of development banks in our economy. I think we could also be spending a little bit more time really examining how to grow jobs through retraining. I know you guys are particularly concerned in preparing a skilled work force for the future. I think if we wanted to take human capital seriously, making sure that graduates have the ability to get a job that pays them enough to maybe one day buy a house and save a little bit of money, and pay off their student debts. Travel to Myanmar on a backpacking trip if they want. Help out with their parents if they've got a sick relative. Just live, live a decent quality of life.
We need to recognize that the economy is changing very quickly. Education needs to continue to adapt. If we want to do that, I think we need to be looking at lowering the cost of education, and doing that by changing the borrowing laws. It's a radical thought, but I think we need to look at some of the laws that stabilized the housing market. How can we apply similar principles to student loans?
So, that's a way for us to think policy-wise about how to decrease the cost of education, and lower the barriers of entry into the work force. What we're hearing from business owners from large employers who are cranking away on big projects is, "We can't find the people that we're looking for, with the right skill set." So, that's one way to do it.
Then, you can also look at apprenticeships. Why not spend some time your senior year spending a few hours at a local business, sitting down and learning what a work day looks like from within a particular corporate structure, or nonprofit structure, or whatever particular work environment you're in? Maybe it's just a ... it's a small interior improvement company like I was at. But I was around a guy who had to make rent, and payroll, and he had kids who needed to go to school, and those costs to be paid for. So, you get an in-depth view of what it looks like for a company to make money and pay for workers, make payroll, and pay for all their materials. It's a complex process, and that's why we can't give small business owners enough credit. I think we need, in short, to expose young people to what it looks like to work an eight-hour day in the economy of 2017.
Brett Broesder: Definitely. Apprenticeships are such a key piece of that. I know you and Senator Linares have both been at the forefront of that issue, which has been fantastic.
Jesse MacLachlan: Yeah. Art has really led the way on that, and he's had support across the aisle as well, and we're always looking for more support to put prospective members of the economy into a position to better their lives. It just seems like a win-win.
Brett Broesder: Definitely. Well put. So, on that note, as long as we're back to talking about policy, can you tell me about what legislative accomplishment you're most proud of since you've been in office?
Jesse MacLachlan: I appreciate that. We had a bill that passed this year. Particularly I ... particularly proud that it passed. I don't take credit for it, but I was honored to support it, and to co-sponsor it, and vote in favor of it. It's a bill that addresses one of the most heinous and mind-blowing crimes that's happening around the world, and that is the trafficking of people. The trafficking of persons. In short, it's human slavery. Our bill didn't, by any means, it does not solve the problem. But to the degree we can put in more protections for folks who may be in compromising situations, we should, and there's more to do. We need to make sure that anyone who has experienced trafficking in any form feels comfortable talking to someone confidentially, and getting the help they need, and hopefully, justice that they deserve, is the goal.
Brett Broesder: It's such an important issue. Human trafficking has been a major problem nationwide, but specifically in Connecticut, for decades, correct?
Jesse MacLachlan: Yeah. It's one of the least talked-about crimes, because it's so mind-blowingly awful and evil, no one really wants to think about people of all ages being taken. Stolen away. I'm not going to get into the details of it, but there are some incredible people, that they had identified the problem years ago, and have been raising funds to create rehabilitation centers, for particularly children who have had this experience. Study and prevention centers, educating young people in schools and community members on how to identify trafficking. It's Love146 in New Haven.
International Justice Mission is another organization that adjudicates human trafficking cases to bust up rings. I take my hats off to them. They're doing absolutely incredible work. I think this is particularly another example and another opportunity for the state to work with nonprofits, to delegate services to nonprofits. Organizations that have had their boots on the ground on an issue for years, and in some cases, decades, who know it in and out, and have the ability to service people at a reasonable and sustainable cost. Especially if they're being subcontracted by the state to do so.
That's also a win for the state. It makes our government in a position to lower its long-term liability. We have a liability crisis in the state. I don't like using the word "crisis," because I don't want to scare anybody. But it's also really, it's important to be honest-
Brett Broesder: Definitely.
Jesse MacLachlan: ... With ourselves, that we're paying exorbitant amounts of money in debt service and in pension and health care liabilities, not because state employees did anything wrong, but because we mismanaged those funds for decades. If we want to be honest with, and truthful to our word to continue paying those for current employees, we have to make sure that we're funding those programs differently in the future. We can't keep doing the same thing.
An alternative to that is then turning around and subcontracting nonprofit organizations, who are then going to need to hire more people to fulfill certain obligations. That's money we can save, so we can maintain services, and also start digging ourselves out of a financial hole. That's another issue that myself and a lot of my colleagues have been calling for, and I hope we can get some movement.
Brett Broesder: That's great. That's an issue where Campaign for Tomorrow's Jobs ran ads on that, and it's $300 million in savings over the biennium to make those changes, according to the Connecticut Nonprofit Alliance.
Jesse MacLachlan: That's a significant chunk of change that is nothing to be ignored.
Brett Broesder: To that note, clearly the savings are necessary in order to close a ... is it $3.5 billion expected deficit?
Jesse MacLachlan: At this point, yeah. We passed a labor concessions bill. It did a few good things. It left a few others to be significantly wanted in my opinion. I've got to take my hat off to the good stuff in it. It found about one and a half billion dollars worth of savings by converting current state employees onto a blended defined benefit and defined contribution plan. They'll be paying more into it. That's a good thing. It creates a brand-new program for incoming state employees under a defined contribution plan, and there are some furlough days.
But what really worries me is a clause in the agreement, or I'm sorry, a stipulation in the agreement, that prevents any state lay-offs for the next five years, and also extends the agreement until 2027. So, on one level, the next governor, Republican or Democrat, will have their hands tied to their ability to shrink the size of the state work force if the deficit continues to grow. That's an option that I don't feel comfortable taking away from the next governor. I'm also concerned with the fact that we won't be able to renegotiate labor agreements until 2027. I don't think that the current give-back, the current contribution of between 3% and 4%, I believe it's that, is going to solve the problem.
An increase in the sales tax is being discussed right now. That worries me. I think it comes down pretty hard on folks with lower income levels, and after already raising taxes on several occasions over the past 48 years, I'm worried that additional changes to tax code aren't going to grow the economy. We find ourselves in a really tough position. We want to grow GDP. The goal should be "grow GDP." Make money, move change and move hands faster to stimulate economic growth. More exchanges, and let it hit more people. Well, how do you create more money moving, and letting it hit ... and more people being in the position to participate in that current? Because not everyone gets to participate. If you don't have a skill, you'll have a difficult time participating where money is changing hands.
That's why I feel pretty passionate about skills-based education and proper and fair non-predatory lending for that education. But you also have to make sure that investment is coming into the state. So, I think the conversations we've had more times than I would be able to count about the role of taxes, and how big government should be, and I don't think I have a definitive answer. I'm just trying to be humble in that. But taxation is a cost. It is a cost to businesses they need to consider.
Brett Broesder: Well, and on that note, obviously living in Connecticut over the past few years, it's hard to keep from the forefront of a conversation when it comes to jobs and businesses, the loss of General Electric to Boston, and the loss of now Aetna to New York City. An issue that CBIA and others talk about quite a bit is not raising broad-based taxes on businesses in order to close this budget deficit. That's something that we agree with. But, would love to hear your thoughts on that, seeing as there are no easy options to close this deficit. But where do you stand on that issue?
Jesse MacLachlan: Sure. I think we need to grow the economy by making sure that there isn't a deficit of talent, so that companies can continue to hire more people and grow. Who can take on more functions, and offer more value to their company, and the company can grow. I think we need to shrink the amount of money that the government is taking out of GDP, to create a greater margin for the economy for us all to participate in. And I think there's a distrust of the private sector of capitalism, and I think it has its problems too.
But I think as we've kind of touched on before, there are ways to reel in capitalism from being too greedy, by setting rules. Like, don't lend to people that don't have the ability to pay back. I think that's a pretty basic rule. It's actually one of the core principles of the House Republicans in Connecticut. "Don't borrow more than you can afford to pay back." But by similar token, don't lend to someone who doesn't have the ability to pay back.
Brett Broesder: I've got another set of questions here to run by you.
Jesse MacLachlan: Let's do it.
Brett Broesder: I'm just going to rattle off some brief phrases, and want to hear your thoughts on them.
Jesse MacLachlan: Sure.
Brett Broesder: First: "Rail access and safety."
Jesse MacLachlan: People are just going to be ... moving into cities, they're going to want to work in cities. We're going to find more economic growth in cities. It's where small businesses are going to start, so they can be close by counterparts and like-minded businesses. Partners.
To the extent that we can facilitate rail access, or just transportation access, into urban areas, we'll be able to offer access to those economies, to people who live in the suburbs. Kids, young people, maybe still living in their parents' house, can hop a train and get into work. I know there's been a significant effort to stimulate transit-oriented development. The governor and I disagree on a number of issues, but on transit-oriented development, particularly rail, we agree. So, I think it's a part of the greater urbanization that's I think partly necessary for young people to get the work experience that they need.
Brett Broesder: There's some interesting transit-oriented development in the works in your district, right?
Jesse MacLachlan: Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah. I have lived in a beautiful district on the shoreline of Connecticut, the towns of Westbrook, Clinton and Killingworth, and I share Westbrook with Representative Devin Carney. A great friend of mine, and an excellent legislator. He's a ranking member on the transportation committee. He has done a great job participating in the work to make our transportation modern and safe.
In my district, we have a development in the works, making improvements to one of our train stations. I want to make it accessible from both sides to attract tourism, and also development. We think that Clinton is a perfectly-positioned town for anyone who's interested in working in the city, whether that be New Haven or New York City, more also on shoreline east, a short hour and a half, a straight shoot to Boston. When I go, I bring my laptop and get a lot of work done.
Brett Broesder: Well, on that note, the next one I've got for you is "workforce preparation."
Jesse MacLachlan: If you want to buy a home or do the things that you want to do on your own, and basically take care of yourself, you need to have a skill or a set of skills that you can use to provide and offer value in the marketplace. To the extent that you are skilled, the market will value you accordingly. If we want to, if we're interested in teaching and assisting people on their journey to self-reliance and self-fulfillment, then we have to take education that is geared towards marketable skills very seriously, and think about job preparedness as a service.
Brett Broesder: On that note, education in Connecticut is interesting. CNBC ranks top states in America to do business, and rates public education, and Connecticut is one of the top in the country, while at the same time, a recent judgment from the State Supreme Court says that the current way we're funding public schools is unconstitutional. How do we fix that?
Jesse MacLachlan: I have tremendous respect for the bench. I think we need to look at matching cost on a ratio to value added. I think we need to look at, how can we provide value for cheaper? How can we maintain quality, but get really creative on how much it costs to offer that quality? I really appreciate the efforts the charter schools are making, to offer an alternative on a road to education and preparedness for the next stage of learning. Because if you're doing it right, you never really stop.
I don't really have a definitive answer, but I like learning processes that put me hands-on, where I'm in conversation, where I'm around people synthesizing ideas and working on projects together. These are real-life scenarios. So, whether it's in a charter school, or a public school, or a magnet school, or a private school, we all need to be making an effort to prepare to change and reflect reality with what the seven to eight hour school day looks like, and what we're actually learning, and move to the extent that we can away from a knowledge-based education to something that more reflects what we're personally looking for to get out of our professional and personal lives.
Brett Broesder: To your point, and I know that we've talked about this extensively, that both of us grew up playing sports quite a bit. I think that is such a critical component for many of us throughout our early education. How much did that shape your childhood and your school experience?
Jesse MacLachlan: Well, it's another ring to your circle of relationships. It's your team. There's nothing like it. There's nothing like playing on team sports, training for a few hours a day with the same group of guys to prepare for one competition with another group of guys who are training all week, in front of a whole bunch of people. Absolutely incredible experience.
Brett Broesder: What's your most memorable experience from growing up playing sports that today has impacted your life significantly in a way that you see as tangible?
Jesse MacLachlan: Oh, man. I can't pick one instance, I don't think. But I would say just practice, in general. Just having to go get up and go to ... after you're done with school, you put on your equipment, and you go to practice. It can get monotonous, and it's not glorious, but it's part of the grind to get to the place where you get to perform.
I relate it to a metaphor for life, certainly in business, entrepreneurship. Starting a business isn't sexy. A lot of question marks, a lot of sleepless nights. But if you have the intestinal ... if you can really engage your intestinal fortitude, have a high tolerance for pain, and you're willing to visualize the endgame. "Why am I actually doing all of this? Oh, it's for this." I'm willing to make that trade, I'm willing to defer gratification now until a later date. I would say, from one perspective, team sports, particularly practices, taught me delayed gratification.
Brett Broesder: To go back to these statements. "Business friendliness."
Jesse MacLachlan: Sure.
Brett Broesder: What do you think?
Jesse MacLachlan: I think businesses are looking for predictability out of the regulatory environment. Because the government is not the first thing on a business' mind. It's clients. And after clients, it's their own personal operating expenses. "How much is it costing me to make X money?" "Can I make payroll?" "Do we have enough supplies to service the clients that have purchased our services?" They're worried about their balance sheet and their cash flow statements. Government is one line on their financial statements, their taxation.
So, when you're talking about how to stimulate job growth through government policy, what you're really doing is you're considering, "Is our taxation slowing down the movement of money?" And number two, "Are our regulations causing detriment to the flow of transactions, measured against the net impact of that policy?" There may be a, in the short term, negative profit created by protecting wetlands from development. But taking into account the fact that we want to live in a world where Blue Heron exist in our backyard, maybe at a net value, it's more important that those wetlands exist, because we're more than just capitalists. We're human beings who live on a completely incredible planet, and there's nothing like it.
Brett Broesder: Definitely.
Jesse MacLachlan: And very far away. We'd have to travel very, very far away to find anything just like Earth. So, there's a reason to protect that, and not just think about short-term economic analysis, but a long-term sustainability plan.
Brett Broesder: Definitely. On the regulatory front, I mean there were a couple of pieces of legislation that I know you were vocal in support of, and helped to get across the finish line, because you're ... that cut red tape, and one of them being the Small Business Hotline. What we found was, small businesses spend about 200 hours every year fighting through regulatory hurdles that they either have to suck up and spend their time on, or head for legal fees.
Jesse MacLachlan: Yeah, yeah. I think sometimes in campaign rhetoric, it gets a little too simple and black and white. "More regulation, less regulation." I think it's more important to objectively observe the impact of a particular regulation. Is this growing the economy? Is this not? Is this increasing our sustainability and integrity of natural resources? Is this policy not doing those things, having a harmful effect on natural resources? Just being really honest with ourselves and have an open conversation without drawing political battle lines? That's been the challenge, I think, for us.
Brett Broesder: Understood.
Jesse MacLachlan: Myself included.
Brett Broesder: Well, on that note, to get to a really important question.
Jesse MacLachlan: Hit me.
Brett Broesder: What's your favorite Connecticut-brewed craft beer?
Jesse MacLachlan: Oh, man.
Brett Broesder: Favorite one.
Jesse MacLachlan: Right now? Forest City Brewery is pretty high up there.
Brett Broesder: Middletown.
Jesse MacLachlan: Middletown.
Brett Broesder: Home of Greenskies?
Jesse MacLachlan: Yep. Shares a building with the company I work at.
Brett Broesder: That's great.
Jesse MacLachlan: Stubborn Beauty, also next door. Fantastic.
Brett Broesder: Excellent.
Jesse MacLachlan: And, now and again I try to get down to Stony Creek, to play a little corn hole.
Brett Broesder: What book do you most give to people?
Jesse MacLachlan: Great question. I want to say "Harry Potter." It was, at least when I was a kid.
Brett Broesder: Interesting.
Jesse MacLachlan: I read "Harry Potter" in the second grade, the first book.
Brett Broesder: Wow.
Jesse MacLachlan: It was a fourth print. It had only been out for a very short period of time. Read "Harry Potter," mind blown. That was the gift to give for a while. It's a good story.
Brett Broesder: What do you do to relax?
Jesse MacLachlan: Oh, man. I like to walk. I like to go on hikes in the woods, and just be in the quiet. I love to play music with my friends. A buddy of mine has a pretty interesting setup, with Ableton and his mixing devices, and so, we like to play a little music now and again and screw around. And to go out and just be with the people I love. I have a brand-new baby sister.
Brett Broesder: Yeah. Tell us about that.
Jesse MacLachlan: Oh, man. I've got a nine-month, ten-month old little sister, and she's absolutely beautiful, and it's a ton of fun. It's a ton of fun.
Brett Broesder: What have you learned from having a baby sister in your life as a professional? As having another sister who you grew up more closely in age with?
Jesse MacLachlan: Yeah. I was spending a lot of time at work, and I think the time dedicated to developing as a professional also helped me value the things that bring a pretty significant joy, and that's just being around the people that you love. Having a new member of the family has ... in some ways, it's motivated me to keep learning as much as I can, so I could teach her what I know as she gets older. Being so much older than her, I also feel like I play a part in her upbringing as well, as an adult during ... at the time of her birth, as opposed to being a five-year-old when my other sister was born. So, it's fun. I look forward to it.
Brett Broesder: That's great. Anything else you want to add?
Jesse MacLachlan: No, I just had ... Thank you for having me on, thank you for the work you guys are doing.
Brett Broesder: Oh, pleasure. Pleasure.
Jesse MacLachlan: We need to focus on economic growth, and put political differences aside to get as many people back to work as possible. To the extent that you guys are participating, I take my hat off to you guys, and thanks for all that you do.
Brett Broesder: Well, thank you so much. Representative MacLachlan, you are the best. And one more question before we end. Go-to karaoke song?
Jesse MacLachlan: Oh, man. "I Want It That Way," Backstreet Boys.
Brett Broesder: I like how definitive you were.
Jesse MacLachlan: Final answer.
Brett Broesder: That was awesome. Excellent. Hopefully, we get a chance to sing that one.
Well, look. Thank you to Representative MacLachlan. This was great, and that wraps up our first-ever interview of the Tomorrow's Jobs podcast. You can check out the Tomorrow's Jobs podcast, and subscribe to it online by going to www.tomorrowsjobs.org/podcast. We'll be publishing new interviews every week from here on out. Thank you again for joining us, and look forward to being with you again in the next podcast.
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