The Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce has released its 2017 Public Policy Agenda ahead of the next session of the Virginia General Assembly that begins Jan. 11 in Richmond.
“The Public Policy Agenda is the product of intensive dialogue involving the chamber’s leadership team, key outside stakeholders and our rank-and-file membership,” said Chamber Government Affairs Manager Brian Fauls in a release. “This agenda reflects the broad-based business community’s recommendations on public policy issues that we believe will lead to new jobs, a stronger economy and an even better quality of life.”
Among the chamber’s top priorities are:
- Public and private economic development programs and initiatives to protect Loudoun and Virginia’s business environment, job retention and growth
- Workforce training to prepare future and current job seekers with workforce credentials and licenses
- More robust state and local efforts to increase housing diversity to meet Loudoun’s growing population and workforce
- Ensuring that local, regional and state revenues for transportation and transit projects are funded in a cost-effective manner
Despite Virginia facing a budget shortfall, the Chamber is taking a “defensive stance” to preserve state funded programs like Go Virginia, president Tony Howard said. Along with the county’s Board of Supervisors, the Chamber has advocated keeping this program, which works to grow and diversify the state’s economy. Howard said the other top priority is to maintain funding for certification programs at community colleges.
“These are the type of programs that can really be game changers in terms of economic development, whether it’s inspiring new industries or supporting workforce and infrastructure, sort of game changing ideas,” Howard said. “Virginia’s economy is actually suffering right now. It’s lagging behind other states right now in terms of economic growth and job growth and we really do need to make investments across the board — public sector, private sector — to turn things around.”