Alongside former Hewlett-Packard CEO and 2016 presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, Virginia republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie hosted a conversation Aug. 23 on issues in Virginia including economic growth, innovation and education. The hour-long talk stressed the importance of lower federal government intrusion and lessened government regulation.
“Governments can’t create jobs. They can create an environment for the private sector to create jobs,” Gillespie said.
The event was moderated by House of Delegates District 32 representative Tag Greason.
Gillespie talked about ways to bolster Virginia’s economy, including ways of putting Virginia back at the top of the lists for best states to do business. Gillespie said Virginia had previously been ranked in the top two, but has now fallen. In 2016, the commonwealth was ranked 13th of 50 by CNBC and 7th by Forbes.
Both Gillespie and Fiorina talked about lower taxes, decreased regulations and a diversification away from federal government dependence as solutions to the problems.
“If we don’t respond with a sense of urgency, we’ll have let down fellow Virginians,” Gillespie said.
Both Gillespie and Firoina also talked about shared positions on other issues, including education and off-shore drilling. Both said it was important for k-12 schools and secondary education institutions to have closer ties with the demands of the market for careers. The two also talked about the importance of allowing drilling off Virginia’s cost, a move that Gillespie said could bring hundreds of millions of dollars to the commonwealth.
The pair also discussed the importance innovation plays in government, as well as opportunities for Virginia in fields like unmanned cars and drones, as well as technological innovations in space and cyber fields.
“The most important thing in a thriving nation is innovation,” Fiorina said. “We have the opportunity to be the global innovation powerhouse of the 21st century.”
They agreed that government should play a role in innovation, but it hasn’t played the role it should in the past.
Gillespie and Fiorina also talked about their past working together. Fiorina said Gillespie was an adviser to Fiorina during HP’s acquisition of Compaq in the early 2000’s.
Fiorina, who ran against democrat Barbra Boxer in 2010 California senate race, opened the conversation by talking about her roots and ties to Virginia. She and her husband previously lived in Manassas, and Fiorina as well as her granddaughters live in northern Virginia now.
“I’m a Virginian,” Fiorina said. “What happens in Virginia matters a lot for me.”