Governor McDonnell Talks Jobs and Economic Development at NVTC's Public Policy Series EventGovernor Outlines Virginia's Focus on Jobs Prior to His Delivery of GOP Response to President Obama's State of the Union Address
HERNDON, Va. - January 27, 2010 - In office for just under two weeks, Governor Bob McDonnell spoke this morning to a group of over 470 technology business leaders at The Ritz-Carlton in Tysons Corner as part of the Northern Virginia Technology Council's (NVTC) Public Policy series. In his speech, the first to the Northern Virginia business community since his election, Governor McDonnell outlined his plans for job creation and economic development, highlighting the need to invest in Virginia's future now in order to position the state for recovery. The Governor's speech was part of NVTC's Public Policy Series, which has previously featured the first federal CIO Vivek Kundra and Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Describing the technology industry as the "economic engine of the state", Governor McDonnell highlighted the need to create an environment where the private sector can thrive in order to promote entrepreneurship and attract new business to the state. Stating his goal of being a "Jobs Governor," he listed several initiatives he has introduced, including several measures recommended by NVTC. The Governor's recent actions include signing an Executive Order establishing a statewide commission dedicated to creating jobs and promoting entrepreneurialism and other opportunities, and doubling the money in the Governor's Opportunity Fund to attract new companies to the state. Companies opting to relocate their corporate headquarters to Virginia will continue to be key to Virginia's economic recovery, according to the Governor. Other proposed job creation and economic development investments mentioned by Governor McDonnell include dedicating more resources to the bio-technology industry through research grants and wet labs; enhancing the business incubator program; more private/public partnerships; and the creation of a megasite that will attract industrial and manufacturing companies to the state.
Addressing education, the Governor said he sees K-12 and higher education as key components to attracting and retaining the best and brightest to Virginia's workforce. He said he will continue to focus on promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curriculum in our school system, as well as engaging the technology business community to be mentors and get today's youth excited about technology.
In line with NVTC's recent recommendation, Governor McDonnell addressed reforming the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) by having the state's CIO report to the Governor through the Secretary of Technology rather than an independent board with insufficient accountability. This reform measure will ensure that Secretary of Technology Jim Duffey has direct oversight over information technology operation and infrastructure.
Throughout his speech, Governor McDonnell stressed his desire to work with both sides of the aisle in finding ways to tackle the state's budget shortfall without tax increases. In closing, he reiterated themes from his inaugural address, vowing to continue efforts to create a business-friendly environment through low tax and regulatory incentives.
"Northern Virginia has a proud history of technology leadership and innovation, as well as an entrepreneurial spirit that makes the Commonwealth one of the very best states to work in and launch a startup," said Bobbie Kilberg, President & CEO, NVTC. "We are honored that the Governor chose to speak to us so soon after his inauguration and we look forward to working in partnership with his Administration as it tackles the business issues confronting Virginians."