VINELAND - Republicans running for 1st Legislative District seats on Tuesday unveiled an eight-point plan they said will spur economic development in a district with one of the worst economies in the state.

Their plan includes a wide range of ideas, including an economic development board, improving transportation and educational opportunities, and encouraging what they called "family-friendly" businesses by helping companies that provide flexible working hours, wage equality for women and on-site, child care facilities.

"We put this plan together by doing exactly what we'll do as legislators - talk to local residents, truly listen to their concerns and work with them to fix what's broken," said Susan Adelizzi-Schmidt, who is running for the state Senate.

"We want government that works to stand by you, not stand in your way," said Assembly candidate Sam Fiocchi.

The economic development plan will hopefully solve many of the district's economic problems, including help businesses in the district find the skilled laborers they need, said the other Assembly candidate, Kristine Gabor.

The three Republicans are running against a slate of incumbent Democrats that includes state Sen. Jeff Van Drew and Assemblymen Nelson Albano and Bob Andrzejczak. The 1st Legislative District includes all of Cape May County and parts of Cumberland and Atlantic counties.

Adelizzi-Schmidt, Fiocchi and Gabor unveiled their plan during stops at Limpert Brothers, whose products include toppings for ice cream and frozen yogurt, and the Oceanview Carwash in Cape May County.

The three Republicans handed out statistics from the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development that showed 2012 unemployment rates of more than 13 percent for Atlantic and Cape May counties, and more than 14 percent for Cumberland County. Adelizzi-Schmidt, Fiocchi and Gabor blamed much of the problem on Democrats, especially Van Drew, Albano and gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono, who also is a state Senator.

"A common theme throughout our small business roundtable tour was complaints about the lack of connectivity and coordination between small business and the incumbent legislators when it comes to tackling the serious jobs crisis we are facing here in South Jersey," Gabor said.

The Republican plan includes:

•Creating a districtwide economic development advisory board to foster a regional business recruitment and retention master plan for South Jersey.

•Bringing representatives of state government business development agencies to the district on a regular basis.

•Improve communication for residents and businesses via a districtwide web portal.

•Promote better collaboration between the district's community colleges, vocational and technical schools and business.

•Encourage family-friendly businesses.

•Transform the tri-county region into a high-tech corridor that will attract young workers to year-round, high-skill jobs.

•Improve public transportation and Internet access.

•Further streamline regulations and fees that hamper business development.

Contact Thomas Barlas:

609-226-9197