Martinsville Bulletin: Economic Development No. 1 for Delegate Danny Marshall

VA House GOPCampaigns & Elections, Featured

Delegate Danny Marshall was profiled in the Martinsville Bulletin in which Delegate Marshall’s job creation and economic development efforts were highlighted:

Marshall: Economic development is No. 1
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
By DEBBIE HALL – Bulletin Staff Writer

Spurring economic development through a number of initiatives is at the top of Del. Danny Marshall’s list of priorities, he said Monday.

In an hourlong tele-town hall meeting Monday evening, Marshall, R-Danville, vowed to concentrate his efforts on job development if he is re-elected to the 14th District seat on Nov. 3. Marshall also answered questions about the economy and his efforts to attract companies and jobs to Southside.

Laura McGee, Marshall’s campaign manager, estimated that between 1,000 and 2,000 constituents took part in the conference call, in which listeners could ask questions of Marshall and listen as he answered the questions of others.

Marshall cited several efforts to spur economic development in the region, including his support in 2007 of legislation to lower the thresholds for the Governor’s Opportunity Fund, so that companies locating to areas hard hit by job losses could more easily meet the requirements and qualify for funds.

The fund was created to allow governors discretionary funds with which they can provide incentives to attract businesses to the commonwealth.

In a break with other Republican candidates, including gubernatorial hopeful Bob McDonnell, Marshall said he does not support adding money to the fund.

After researching the amount spent with the House Appropriations Committee, Marshall said he found that about half of a $12 million appropriation, or $6.2 million, remained in the fund at the end of the last fiscal year.

“Why put additional money in” the fund if it is not being spent? Marshall asked.
Although he does not support adding more funds, Marshall said he has asked for more information about McDonnell’s proposal to add money to the fund and earmark additional funding for areas with high unemployment.

“I’m not trying to take money out” of the fund, Marshall said, adding he wants to ensure that money added for hard-hit areas, such as Henry and Pittsylvania counties as well as the cities of Danville and Martinsville, would indeed go there.

He also sponsored legislation to fund the construction of Interstate 73, which would begin in Henry County and follow the U.S. 220 corridor north to Roanoke. The measure passed in the House of Delegates but was defeated in the Senate, Marshall said. He plans to reintroduce the proposal during the upcoming session in January.

He also supports allowing out-of-state insurance companies to sell health insurance in Virginia to make the market more competitive, he said.
There is “a lot to do in Southside,” Marshall said, but his efforts in 2010 will concentrate on job creation.

One way to make that happen is through his service on the Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission, an entity formed in 2000 with funds from a tobacco settlement. Half of Virginia’s share of tobacco funds is earmarked for projects that will help revitalize tobacco regions, he said. Counties such as Henry and Pittsylvania and others have benefited and received millions from the fund already, he said.

On the commission, Marshall serves on three committees, including Special Projects, which works on projects that are large in scope, such as funding a $1.7 million water and sewer project for an industrial park in Henry County.

He also serves on the Southside Economic Development Commission, a committee that works to spur economic development by partnering with the Governor’s Opportunity Fund, Marshall said.

Marshall also is a charter member of the Research and Development Committee, which will hold its first meeting in about two weeks. That committee, he said, has a budget of $100 million for projects that will create jobs.

“This is about jobs,” not research and development, he said. Those interested will submit proposals, and if those proposals are approved, projects will be funded according to pre-set limits.

In order for a project to be considered, Marshall said, the research will have to be completed and commercialized into a product within three years. The product also will have to be produced in the region, he added, and invited anyone with ideas to contact his office.

In addition to questions about jobs and economic development, several people on the call asked about energy.

Marshall said there are a number of opportunities for the nation to achieve energy independence. He supports drilling off the shore of Virginia because it would be a “win, win, win situation,” creating jobs while lowering the cost of natural gas and providing revenue to the state, he said.

Marshall, who has served in the House for eight years, is facing Democrat Seward Anderson, former mayor of Danville, in the November contest.