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News | 6 min read

Promote Growth & Opportunity in Each Region

July 29, 2015

RICHMOND – GO Virginia (, a campaign initiated by the Virginia Business Higher Education Council (VBHEC) and the Council on Virginia's Future to foster private-sector growth and job creation through state incentives for regional collaboration by business, education, and government, was launched today in a series of events throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Business leaders made the announcement at news conferences in Norfolk, Richmond, Danville, and Blacksburg, where they were joined by senior state and local officials, education leaders, and representatives of business and economic development organizations from across the state.

“It gives me great pleasure to join so many distinguished business and community leaders who are coming together to help forge our New Virginia Economy,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe, who attended the Norfolk and Richmond announcements. “I applaud and support your efforts to incentivize regional cooperation on economic and workforce development. All of our strategies for growing and diversifying the Virginia economy depend on effective implementation at the regional level. We need a partnership among business, education, and community leaders, local officials, and engaged Virginians in each region, all working together to capitalize on the distinctive assets and opportunities in their part of the Commonwealth.”

“We are committed to building a broad, bipartisan, statewide coalition that will work to promote private-sector growth in each region and that will campaign for state incentives to encourage regional cooperation,” said John O. “Dubby” Wynne, the retired president and chief executive officer of Landmark Communications and chairman of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation. Among those also taking part in the announcement were Thomas F. Farrell II, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Dominion Resources, Ben J. Davenport Jr., chairman of First Piedmont Corporation, and Nancy Howell Agee, president and chief executive officer of Carilion Clinic.

Leaders of the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates attended the events and expressed support for the GO Virginia initiative, including Senate President Pro Tempore Walter Stosch
(R-Henrico County), House Majority Leader Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights), Senate Democratic Caucus Leader Donald McEachin (D-Henrico County), and House Appropriations Committee Chairman S. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk).

“What is different about the GO Virginia initiative is that it supports and empowers the leaders and citizens in each region,” said Delegate Kirk Cox. “Private-sector growth will not come from governmental action; it will come from business investments that enable job-creating enterprises, large and small, to grow and hire more employees. This initiative seeks to create conditions for that investment and growth based on the unique strengths and assets of each region.”

GO Virginia has identified five ways that state-funded incentives can have a significant positive impact on private-sector growth:

Innovation. The State can promote innovation and growth in each region through start- up grant support for projects that promise substantial economic impact, leverage significant local, private, and other investment, and reflect regional cooperation on industry sector growth, alignment of education and training programs with employer demand, entrepreneurship, and other private sector-focused growth strategies.

Investment. The State can encourage cooperation rather than competition among localities in the recruitment of new business investment and jobs to each region by returning a portion of the state tax revenues generated by projects to regions where localities share economic development-related costs and revenues.

Improvement. The State can provide financial incentives for efficiency-enhancing and cost-saving collaboration between and among local governments, school divisions, and higher education institutions, thereby improving performance, reducing pressures to increase the size and cost of government, and freeing up tax dollars for opportunity- focused initiatives in education, job training, and economic development.

Invention. The State can encourage inventions and discoveries that lead to commercially viable products and services by providing matching-fund support for labs, equipment,
and other research-related needs, thereby leveraging private and other R&D investments and generating economic benefits for the region.

Infrastructure. The State can invest in capital projects of regional or broader significance that will produce strong returns in private-sector growth, diversification, and job creation through improved education and job-skills training, research, business site development, communications, and other vital infrastructure.

“GO Virginia is a strictly incentive-based and voluntary initiative that is going to rely on funding from growth revenues, re-purposed dollars, and efficiency savings,” said Wynne. “We propose NO new taxes, layers of government, mandates, or changes in local authority. We want to make government more efficient and reduce Virginia's dependency on public-sector jobs, and that is why we are concentrating all our energies on helping private enterprises in each region grow.”

GO Virginia launch events were held in Norfolk at the Nauticus Half Moone Cruise & Celebration Center and in Richmond at the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park, followed by announcements at the Institute for Advanced Learning & Research in Danville and at the Virginia Tech Airport in Blacksburg.

A partial list of those participating in various announcement events includes:

Nancy Agee, president and chief executive officer of Carilion Clinic; Ben J. Davenport Jr., chairman of First Piedmont Corporation; Barry DuVal, president and chief executive officer of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce; Thomas F. Farrell II, president and chief executive officer of Dominion Resources; Paul D. Koonce, president of Dominion Virginia Power and chair of the Virginia Chamber's Blueprint Virginia; John A. Luke Jr., chairman of WestRock Company and rector of the VCU Board of Visitors; Mary G.Miller, president and chief executive officer of Interactive Design and Development; Nicole Riley, Virginia state director of the National Federation of Independent Business; John O. “Dubby” Wynne, retired president and chief executive officer of Landmark Communications and chairman of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation.

Governor Terry McAuliffe; Secretary of Finance Ric Brown; House Majority Leader Kirk Cox (R-Chesterfield County); House Appropriations Chairman Chris Jones (R- Suffolk); Senator John Edwards (D-Roanoke); Senator Frank Ruff (R-Clarksville); Senator Donald McEachin (D-Henrico County); Senator Bill Stanley (R-Moneta); Delegate Matthew James (D-Portsmouth); Delegate Terry Kilgore (R-Gate City); Delegate John O'Bannon (R-Henrico County); Delegate Danny Marshall (R-Danville); Delegate Joseph Yost (R-Blacksburg).

President John Broderick, Old Dominion University; Jerry Gwaltney, executive director of the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research; Chancellor Donna Price Henry, University of Virginia at Wise; President Tim Sands, Virginia Tech; President Teresa Sullivan, University of Virginia; William Wampler, retired executive director of the New College Institute.

About the GO Virginia coalition: The coalition is comprised of business and community leaders, partners in education and government, and interested Virginians from across the Commonwealth who support regional cooperation on private-sector growth,
job creation, and career readiness. Bipartisan and business-led, the coalition favors state incentives to encourage collaboration among business, education, and government in each region, providing a framework for implementation of the private sector-focused strategies of leading business organizations and political leaders in both parties. Learn more and join the coalition at