Governor Terry McAuliffe kicked off the 2016 Chamber Leadership Series on Thursday, April 7th at the Chesapeake Conference Center. He spoke about the General Assembly, the year Virginia had in 2015, and what he plans for the future in 2016. Besides more federal assets and education investments, Governor Terry McAuliffe’s goal for this year is to bring in more new and diverse industries to Virginia.
The state of Virginia has a 4.1% unemployment rate which is the lowest in any state in the south east and Virginia has had 23 consecutive months of job growth. Governor McAuliffe stated that personal wages are up and the economy is strong, but there are still some areas that need work.
“Hampton Roads is a huge opportunity,” stated Governor McAuliffe. “If all parts of Hampton Roads were to work together as one true region, there is not one region in the globe that could compete with Hampton Roads, especially because of our military, beaches, tourism, and education.”
Working to improve Virginia’s transportation system is a big project for the Governor. He has money invested into widening 64 and he is also trying to reduce the tolls. Governor McAuliffe is for light rail and he is happy to see that the Virginia Beach Council voted for light rail expansion. Governor McAuliffe believes that this will help bring more millennials into the area.
Governor McAuliffe has big plans for Virginia in 2016. He was happy to announce the relocation of ADP and bringing 1,800 jobs to Hampton Roads. Also, with an increase of interest in Cyber Security, Governor McAuliffe wants Virginia to be the Cyber capital of the United States. In 2015, the $2.4 billion deficit got turned into the biggest surplus and he put that money right back into education. There is a $2.1 billion bond package for high tech jobs and there are 17,000 cyber jobs right now in Virginia.
During the 2016 General Assembly, Governor McAuliffe saw 778 bills and vetoed 36. He does not want any walls to be built up around Virginia and he wants our state to be opening and welcoming to all. Governor McAuliffe said that international trade is up and that the Commonwealth is opening and selling our stuff all over the world. He spoke about his trip to Cuba and the trade agreement made between Cuba and the Port of Virginia. The Port of Virginia will be the number one agricultural exporter to Cuba in the United States.
After Governor McAuliffe’s speech, he answered a few questions from the audience. One question was from Donald Knight with Virginia Natural Gas. Knight asked, “What role can millennials play to help facilitate some of this economic development?” Governor McAuliffe responded, “Millennials are key and the more things people can do keep the cities attractive, the more ways you will draw in new millennials and keep the ones you have. We must attract millennials, if we can’t bring millennials here; we ought to get in a new line of work.”
Governor McAuliffe was the first speaker out of four in our 2016 Chamber Leadership Series. Stay tuned for the next upcoming Chamber Leadership Series.
Thank you to our sponsors: Southern Bank (series presenting sponsor); Chesapeake Conference Center (venue sponsor); Sinclair Communications (Media Sponsor); Kroger Marketplace (Gold Sponsor)