The Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce is committed to serving as an impartial conduit of information for its members. As an advocate on behalf of the business community, we look forward to hosting candidates who wish to address Hampton Roads business leaders to ensure our members are informed on the platforms of all the candidates.
“Hampton Roads is vitally important,” said Ed Gillespie, “when I look at the state [of Virginia], this area is where we have the most opportunity.” Gillespie, a candidate for Governor next November, addressed Hampton Roads business leaders on Wednesday, November 2nd where he discussed the state economy, transportation issues, tax structure and regulations, and education.
Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce CEO & President Bryan K. Stephens provided Gillespie with an overview of the Chamber’s mission and the three pillars of the Hampton Roads regional economy: military and defense, the Port of Virginia, and tourism and emphasized the need for focused economic development and diversification. “The Chamber wants to help businesses start, grow, and be successful,” said Stephens. Economic growth was the backbone of Gillespie’s message to the group as he recounted Virginia’s slow rebound from the recession, “our economic growth rate was 1.4% this year, yet for the first time in five years we’re above 1%” he said.
Roundtable participants had the opportunity to ask questions and give recommendations based on their experiences and business needs. The bulk of the questions posed to Gillespie, and the discussion that resulted, centered on business regulations, transportation initiatives, and adaptations to Virginia’s education system.
(Pictured left to right: Ed Gillespie, Shepelle Watkins-White, Bryan K. Stephens.)