RICHMOND, VA –– Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) and Majority Leader M. Kirkland “Kirk” Cox (R-Colonial Heights) were joined Thursday by House Majority Whip Jackson H. Miller (R-Manassas), House Republican Caucus Chairman Timothy D. Hugo (R-Fairfax), Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-Woodstock), Delegate Barbara J. Comstock (R-McLean), and Delegate Beverly Sherwood (R-Frederick) at a press conference unveiling Republican legislative priorities for the 2013 session.
“Our priorities are the priorities of the people of Virginia,” said Speaker Howell. “Protecting and growing Virginia jobs, building stronger schools, laying out a long-term, real solution to our transportation challenges and crafting a smarter state government will be our focus this year. Jobs and the economy are still the most important issues facing our Commonwealth. Education, transportation and an effective state government are critical issues that affect Virginia’s ability to attract new businesses and the good-paying jobs that come with them.”
Majority Leader Cox spoke on the need for reforming education and keeping Virginia’s fiscal house in order.
“Everyone knows a good education is the foundation needed for a good job, and we must continue to ensure that all children who graduate from Virginia schools are career ready or college ready,” said Majority Leader Cox. “The focus of our education reform agenda is to recognize the important role our teachers play in our children’s lives, bring more accountability and transparency to our schools, and give localities more flexibility over education funding.”
House Republican Caucus Chairman Tim Hugo discussed transportation and stressed the importance of working to pass Governor Bob McDonnell’s transportation funding package.
“Transportation is about jobs and quality of life. You cannot have a vibrant and growing economy with a dilapidated and aging infrastructure. We need to tackle Virginia’s transportation funding challenges this year,” said Hugo. “The plan proposed by Governor McDonnell, Speaker Howell and me is a long-term solution to transportation that dedicates $3.1 billion in new revenues to road maintenance and construction over the next five years. This money will allow Virginia to invest in its roads, highways, bridges, rails, airports and ports which will make our state more attractive to job creators and businesses.”
Delegate Barbara Comstock spoke about the importance of creating a positive, pro-growth business climate so Virginia can continue to attract and grow the jobs of the 21st century.
Comstock highlighted HB1699 which will build on last year’s data center legislation to keep Virginia growing as a top destination for this large and rapidly expanding business sector. The data center industry is expected to grow by hundreds of millions of dollars in the coming years and this legislation will help us to diversify our economy by focusing on private sector commercial markets where we have a competitive advantage.
“Creating good, high-paying jobs remains the top priority of House Republicans,” said Comstock. “We have worked closely with Governor McDonnell to create the kind of environment that attracts companies from all over the country and the world to do business in Virginia.
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