Our region is consistently ranked as one of the best places to live in America because we have so many individuals and institutions who give freely of their time, energy, and resources to make it special. To compete and thrive in the 21st Century will require a reinforcement of our economic vitality and a commitment to further increase the opportunity for all citizens to participate in the wealth and success of the region.
Our nation is in the midst of rapid economic change as we move from an economy based upon manufacturing to one that is focused on services and intellectual capital. Our region has not been immune from this change; in the last 10 years, the manufacturing sector in Greater Charlottesville has lost some of the best paying jobs in the region. This helps to explain why, despite our low unemployment rate, we have significant pockets of poverty in our region.
Competing in the 21st Century means emphasizing and supporting our natural advantages and attempting to spread opportunity in the region. This means supporting businesses that seek to grow the local labor force and ensuring that people who work for a living have a reasonable opportunity to earn a livable wage. In the House, I proposed legislation that would increase the minimum wage and I have consistently supported measures that improve workforce training. I will continue to work to:
• Maintain UVA as the premier public university in the country.
• Provide additional support for post-graduate training in science and technology at UVA.
• Assist new businesses developed from University research that create good jobs that pay a decent wage.
• Increase emphasis on workforce training and development so local citizens may be trained and retrained for jobs that pay a decent wage.
• Support K-12 education to underpin local job growth.
• Support PVCC as a primary source of workforce development and training.