Members of the Dulles Regional Chamber Board of Directors listen as Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, center, discusses his top priorities for the commonwealth if he wins this year’s election. Also pictured: Don Owens, left, chairman of the chamber’s board of directors, and Eileen Curtis, right, the chamber’s president and CEO.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe recently met with members of the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce during a meet-and-greet styled event where he discussed key issues of this year’s election.
Members of the chamber’s board of directors and committee heads packed the conference room at the chamber’s Chantilly office to hear McAuliffe’s views on such things as jobs, education and transportation.
“I’m focused all on economic development, all on job creation,” McAuliffe said. “I am a fiscally conservative, pro-business Democrat who is socially very progressive.”
McAuliffe called transportation and education his top priorities.
“We’ve got to think long term and strategically [about transportation projects],” said McAuliffe, who supports the bi-county parkway and a bridge across the Potomac.
In particular, McAuliffe linked education to Virginia’s future workforce, referring both to teacher and graduate retention.
“We’ve got to have the best workforce,” he said. “We’ve got to convince employers … that we’re going to have that workforce for many years to come.”
“Education is an investment,” he said, citing a particular interest in pre-kindergarten learning and preparing students for 21st century jobs.
“The earlier you can get that mind thinking creatively and cognitively, the more return you’re going to get on your investment,” McAuliffe said.
During his visit with chamber members, McAuliffe fielded more than 45 minutes of questions including queries about sequestration, incentives for new businesses and technology, and public transportation.
“It was an intimate and candid discussion about issues vital to our region,” said Eileen Curtis, president and CEO of the Dulles Regional Chamber.
“As a leading voice on economic development and workforce initiatives in Northern Virginia, it is critical to offer our members an opportunity to speak to someone who may have a huge voice in the future of their business and community,” Curtis said.
As a non-partisan organization, the chamber will also host a meet-and-greet event for its members with Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli later this month.