House Majority Leader Delegate M. Kirkland “Kirk” Cox (R-Colonial Heights) received the “Champion of Free Enterprise” Award for his pro-jobs/economic development voting record and the “Excellence in Education and Workforce Training” Award for his leadership in education reform during the 2013 session.
Over 200 business leaders from across the state attended the Chamber’s Awards Dinner recognizing Virginia legislators overall support for business and for their efforts in 4 areas: Education and Workforce Training, Energy, Economic Competitiveness, and Legal Reform. The Chamber recognized Speaker Bill Howell as the 2013 Legislator of the Year. The Chamber stated that, “Under Speaker Howell’s leadership, the House advanced a pro-business legislative agenda that will enhance Virginia’s competitiveness in the global economy. From tort reform and staving off a big increase in unemployment insurance taxes, to investments in transportation and education, Speaker Howell worked tirelessly in tackling the Commonwealth’s most pressing issues.”
Chesterfield County resident and central Virginia business leader Gary Thomson, 1st Vice Chairman of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, was at the Ritz Carlton in Tyson’s Corner May 8th for the Chamber’s Awards Dinner. Thomson said he “was very pleased to see Delegate Cox recognized for his outstanding support for education programs that prepare our young people for the top jobs in the 21st Century and his efforts to grow jobs and expand Virginia’s economy. I have personally worked with Kirk on business education programs, to include the VA Business Education Partnership Program. As the next Chairman of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, I look forward to working with Kirk as part of the Chamber’s efforts to keep Virginia as a top leader in job growth and the best state for doing business.”
Cox received a 100% rating from the Chamber on his 2013 Legislative Report Card that highlighted his strong support during this past General Assembly Session for growing jobs and expanding Virginia’s economy. The report card outlines the priorities and expectations of Virginia’s business community and provides legislators with a clear understanding of the business community’s legislative priorities that have helped make Virginia a top state for doing business. The success of the pro-growth agenda is evidenced by Virginia’s 5.3 percent unemployment rate that is 2.2 percent below the national unemployment rate.
Virginia is forging the way in job growth and economic development. “Virginia has the lowest unemployment rate in the Southeast at 5.3 percent – the lowest rate since December 2008 and over a full point lower than any of our neighboring states,” Cox said. “I am proud to note that the Chamber’s report card reflects that the business community and I see eye to eye on how best to move Virginia forward.”
Virginia’s economy is directly linked to the education and skills of our citizens. The Chamber’s “Excellence in Education and Workforce Training” Award recognized Cox’s leadership in passing the most comprehensive elementary and secondary education reform legislation in decades. The K-12 education reforms grew out of Governor McDonnell’s 2012 Education Reform Summit, Co-Chaired by Cox, that produced some 39 bills, budget amendments, and executive orders aimed at ensuring all of Virginia’s K-12 students have an opportunity for a top quality education.
As Co-Chair of the Governor’s ALL-STUDENTS Initiative, Cox carried legislation this year that established a strategic compensation grant fund of $7.5 million to award competitive grants to local school divisions that implement a compensation system based on teachers’ excellence. He also was the patron for legislation that creates a two-year provisional license for participants in Teach for America, a nationwide nonprofit organization focused on closing the achievement gaps among students in low-income areas. This program attracts applicants who are in the top 10 percent of their college classes or hold student leadership positions.
“I am honored to receive such prestigious awards from the Virginia Chamber of Commerce,” Cox said. “Job growth and K-12 education are both passions of mine. I’ve worked hard to put more Virginian’s back to work and empower Virginia’s excellent teachers and embed innovation and accountability in the classroom. I will continue to support legislation that aligns educational and workforce training programs with the needs of businesses.”
Cox is a consistent voice in the General Assembly for limited government, individual freedom, personal responsibility, economic liberty, veterans support, and family values. He was elected House Majority Leader in 2010 and serves as the Vice Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Chair of the Appropriations Higher Education Subcommittee, member of the Elementary & Secondary Education Appropriations Subcommittee and a Budget Conferee. Cox represents the 66th House District that includes Colonial Heights and southern/western Chesterfield County.