Kudos are in order for the state Commerce Department and Secretary David Toland.


The department has announced a number of important projects in recent weeks, including two Amazon fulfillment centers, an Empirical Foods plant in Garden City and a Nor-Am Cold Storage facility in Dodge City.


There are more recent success stories at the department’s website, but we want to zoom out for the big picture here. In the middle of pandemic, our state is going above and beyond by pushing for economic development projects. All of these new projects will bring jobs to the state and support hard-working Kansans and their families. And the stronger Kansans are, the stronger Kansas is.


It’s been, to put it mildly, a tough year. And it continues to be difficult.


Back in March and April, as the economy ground to a standstill, the question we all faced was whether our country was entering another great recession, or even a depression. Businesses were closed and workers laid off.


Kansas and the country have come back to life since then, while having to acknowledge COVID-19 and keeping workers safe. Many businesses have managed this admirably, while others have struggled. They all know, however, that we must get through the present moment to emerge in a brighter future.


We also now have an abundance of available workers.


New projects like those announced by the Commerce Department will attract plenty of applicants. The businesses’ faith in our state, and the great job done by our workers, won’t go to waste. Success begets success, so we may see even more companies follow.


Kansans have learned a lot during the pandemic. We have learned that we have to take the virus seriously, but that it doesn’t have to stop daily life. We must be careful and thoughtful, but our families, businesses, and communities are enduring.


Soon enough, we hope, additional treatments will be on hand to relegate the virus to a distant memory. Ordinary business and life will resume (possibly with a few more face masks and a lot more hand sanitizer).


But as we work through the present moment, the dedicated efforts of Secretary Toland and his department will likely make the difference for many Kansans.