Getting Virginia Back to Business

Private business, especially small and local ones, are the driving force of any economy. In Virginia, we have a tradition of being welcoming to business and allowing them to flourish. However, more recently Virginia has lowered in the business-friendly ranks among states. In 2013, Virginia was ranked the best state to do business, but has only dropped since then. We need the General Assembly to focus on simplifying and cutting regulations to energize business again.

Increasing Opportunity in Education

In today’s economy, the easiest way to get ahead and earn a better life is through education. We need to make sure that every Virginian has access to affordable education so that they have the opportunity to prosper.

First, at the K-12 level, we need to open up our public schools to innovation. Finding ways to put more state and local dollars into the classroom instead of into administration or upkeep is essential. We need to seek out fresh ideas for our public schools by allowing charter schools to test new policies. We need more school choice legislation to allow low income and special needs students to attend private schools if their public school is failing them. Every student, regardless of income, color, or creed should have educational opportunities available to them in Virginia. School choice is the way to make that a reality.

Second, our higher education system needs to focus on slowing the increasing cost of a 4-year degree in Virginia. However, we also need to make Associate’s Degrees and certificates at community colleges and technical centers more accessible to students. These degrees lead to steady, high paying jobs in fields where specific technical skills are in demand like mechanics or IT professionals.

Public Safety

Our community deserves safe streets and neighborhoods to raise our children in. Recently it seems that crime has been finding its way into our area unimpeded. It is my priority to give law enforcement the support and funding they need to keep our children safe. Law enforcements does so much for our community. This past year, the General Assembly increased funding for law enforcement and raised their salaries. I applaud those efforts to increase safety and hope we do even more in the future.

Beyond that, we need to solve the systemic causes of crime in our community and weed it out root and branch. There are too many instances of young adults getting out of jail only to go back again years or even months later. Our goal should be to rehabilitate criminals and give them the support and guidance they need to reenter lawful society. If we do not take on this challenge now, our criminal justice system will continue to sag underneath the weight of repeat offenders crowding our jails. Obviously, what we are doing now is not working. We need to try something new.

Business Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Our District and Henrico County more broadly is blessed with having the resources and infrastructure needed to support the modern businesses of today. However, we need to do more to attract the real job makers: Small business and entrepreneurs. I see small businesses everyday as a financial planner looking to expand and plan for the future. We need to give those businesses more incentives and more opportunities to grow here in Henrico instead of moving north to DC or to the Carolinas. Who knows, the next Uber or Snapchat or Venmo could emerge in Henrico if we support entrepreneurs and new business