Group to Establish an Economic and Infrastructure Policy Plan for Rural Virginia
Last Thursday, Gov. Bob McDonnell announced the membership of his newly created Rural Jobs Council. This Council will build upon the success of the Governor’s Commission on Job Creation and Economic Development and continue the Administration’s focus on Virginia’s rural communities.
On Jan. 2, McDonnell issued <a href=”http://www.governor.virginia.gov/PolicyOffice/ExecutiveOrders/viewEO.cfm?eo=57″>Executive Order 57</a> establishing the Rural Jobs Council. He has named Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, Virginia’s Chief Jobs Creation Officer, as Chair of the Council. Secretary of Commerce and Trade Jim Cheng and Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore will serve as Co-Vice Chairs for the group.
The membership of the Council consists of legislators and leaders in the business, manufacturing, agriculture, and healthcare industries. The group will make recommendations to address the challenges to economic growth in rural Virginia and develop a statewide rural infrastructure plan to include transportation, education, and community development.
Speaking about the announcement, McDonnell said:
“I am pleased to announce that these community and industry leaders have agreed to serve Virginia on this newly created Rural Jobs Council. Virginia’s rural communities are the heart and soul of our Commonwealth and we must do everything we can to bring jobs and opportunity to these regions. I am confident this group will develop thoughtful recommendations and a solid infrastructure plan for rural Virginia.”
Responsibilities of the Governor’s Rural Jobs Council are:
- Identify impediments to and opportunities for job creation in Rural Virginia,
- Recommend strategies to improve K-12 education and the workforce pipeline,
- Produce a comprehensive and meaningful Economic and Infrastructure Policy for Rural Virginia
- Make recommendations to improve the tax and regulatory environment in the Commonwealth.
Members of the Governor’s Rural Jobs Council include Shannon Blevins, Director of Economic Development, U.Va.-Wise, Wise County; David Brash, Senior Vice President of Business Development and Rural Strategy, Wellmont Health System, Lebanon; Delegate Kathy Byron, Lynchburg; Elizabeth Crowther, President, Rappahannock Community College, Saluda; Katie Frazier, President, Virginia Agribusiness Council, Richmond; Timothy Heydon, CEO, Shenandoah Growers, Harrisonburg; Rebecca Hough, Co-Founder and CEO, Evatran, Wytheville; Thomas Hudson, President, Virginia Coal Association, Richmond; Delegate Danny Marshall, Danville; Ned Massee, Chairman, Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Richmond; Delegate Don Merricks, Martinsville; Martha Moore, Vice President for Government Affairs, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, Richmond; Delegate Israel O’Quinn, Abingdon; Bill Parr, Parr Properties, Cape Charles; Senator Phil Puckett, Tazewell; Delegate Margaret Ransone, Kinsale; Nicole Riley, State Director, National Federation of Independent Business, Richmond; Senator Frank Ruff, Clarksville; Brett Vassey, President and CEO, Virginia Manufacturers Association, Richmond ; William Wampler, Executive Director, New College Institute, Martinsville and Delegate Onzlee Ware, Roanoke.