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Americans find ourselves in one of the most contentious elections in recent history. The partisan divide in Congress seems to be widening, leading to more gridlock and frustration.

Despite problems in Washington, Virginia’s leaders have worked together to grow and diversify our economy. After two-and-a-half years as your lieutenant governor, I’m proud to report that our economy is moving in the right direction.

I serve on the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, which is focused on growing existing businesses and recruiting new businesses to the commonwealth.

To date the governor and our administration have announced 766 projects, which are slated to bring in $13 billion of capital investment to Virginia. This includes the recent $10.8 million investment Carfax made to upgrade its data center operation in Loudoun.

One-hundred and forty-six thousand new jobs have been created since the start of our administration, contributing to Virginia’s 3.7 percent unemployment rate. That’s the lowest since April 2008 and the lowest in the southeast region.

Despite gridlock in Washington along with continued threats of sequestration, Virginians have come together to build businesses, create jobs and grow our economy for our families and our communities.

I know not everyone is feeling our economy’s rebound. We must continue to diversify the economy by creating 21st-century jobs in growing industries like cybersecurity and personalized medicine.

The foundation of a strong economy is a talented workforce. I can tell you as a pediatric neurologist that children have a tremendous learning potential before they turn 5 years old. That’s why expanding access to quality and affordable pre-k education is critical. As chair of the Commonwealth Council on Childhood Success, I led an effort to open up classrooms to 13,000 additional pre-schoolers.

As our children continue their education, we must prepare them to be both book-smart and job-ready. New measures to redesign our K-12 system aim to do just that by decreasing the emphasis on standardized testing and creating more opportunities for apprenticeships and internships. Under the new system, high school students will graduate with clearer pathways to a four-year college degree, two-year community college degree or a good-paying job.

By listening to our business community, we have been able to adjust our workforce training programs to fill available jobs. I was proud to work with the governor and General Assembly to establish a program that will connect our returning military medics and corpsmen to private-sector health care jobs.

Previously, these skilled women and men would go unemployed for years while employers left positions vacant. The new medic corpsmen program is a win-win and is an example of public and private sectors working together to build our economy.

As I travel across the commonwealth, it is clear that we have significant opportunities to support job growth and economic development by supporting innovation. Incubators like the planned HelloLoCo in Loudoun are the birthplaces of the next game-changing technology.

Students at Virginia’s universities are ripe with new ideas that could become the next Fortune 500. Instead of putting barriers in the way, Virginia should encourage students to be innovative and entrepreneurial. Gov. McAuliffe signed legislation this year directing universities to adopt intellectual property policies that support student innovation.

All of this economic progress could be undone if we allowed attacks on women and our LGBT community to succeed. I proudly cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate against a government mandated, medically unnecessary ultrasound which was a deliberate attempt to restrict women’s access to reproductive health care. Similarly, I broke a tie in the Senate to end employment discrimination based on sexual orientation in state government.

States that have approved anti-LGBT policies like Indiana and North Carolina have suffered devastating economic repercussions. When a Republican-led majority in the General Assembly passed similar anti-LGBT legislation this year, Virginia was fortunate that Gov. McAuliffe had his veto pen ready.

Instead of telling women what to do with their bodies, we should expand access to reproductive health care services. Instead of granting organizations a license to discriminate against LGBT Virginians, we should be open and welcoming to all.

No matter where you find yourself in this great commonwealth, you deserve a fair shot to reach your full potential. I will continue to work every day to diversify our economy, to support policies that encourage job growth and to welcome and include all Virginians.

Ralph S. Northam

Virginia Lt. Governor

Comments


By “anti LGBT policies,” the Lt. Governor is referring to laws which state that a girl should use a girl’s bathroom and a boy should use a boy’s bathroom.  How is that “anti LGBT”? 

And why is it an “attack” on women to require them to have an ultrasound before having an abortion?  Isn’t it always best for a woman to make an “informed” decision before any major surgical procedure?  What’s the Lt. Governor so afraid of ... that women might actually see that what’s in their womb is truly a baby?


Virginia Pilot Headline on August, 24th 2016,

McAuliffe to announce Virginia budget shortfall of about $1.5 billion, sources say.

Northam is a Propagandist!!


Yeah sure all expensed to the federal debt as in rescinding the sequestration. But it makes a good talking point for the democrats and Comstock who voted for to end the sequestration. Shame on her and the big spending democrats!

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