“There is no where I will not go because there is no one I will not serve. Our fellow Virginians in Southwest are struggling economically and my policies will create jobs, raise wages and help Southwest Virginia prosper again.” – Ed Gillespie
Ed and Cathy Gillespie have traveled across the Commonwealth — from the Eastern Shore to the Cumberland Gap, from the suburbs of Northern Virginia to Southern Virginia. Ed loves the sprawling hills and beautiful countrysides of Southwest Virginia. This region has an appeal that cannot be rivaled.
Yet, with all its natural beauty and assets, Southwest Virginia is in dire need of economic growth. According to a recent GO Virginia report, one in four people said they might have to move to get a job. As the Roanoke Times explained, “One theme runs through this document: The declining population in Southwest Virginia complicates everything. This is no mere population decline; this is a full-fledged exodus, particularly of young adults who comprise the workforce of the future.” Those who live in this region know the struggles with lack of jobs, low wages, and economic stagnation. Ed has heard first-hand in the over 50 stops he has made throughout this region, from small business owners to parents, Sheriffs to those recovering from drug and alcohol abuse.
If elected to serve the Commonwealth we love, Ed will be a governor for ALL Virginians, including Southwest Virginians. He will be a governor who does not make promises without substantive ideas to back them up. From implementing solutions to the opioid epidemic to spurring natural, organic job creation to increasing access to high-speed internet, Ed has proposed policies that will directly benefit everyone in Southwest Virginia.
As a symbol of Ed’s commitment to the region, Ed will host his first Cabinet Retreat in Southwest Virginia at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. This retreat will be held during the transition period, before taking office to ensure that every single member of Ed’s cabinet and senior staff will have spent time in the region before assuming office.
We are at a critical juncture here in the Commonwealth — we are in trouble. If our next governor does not respond the challenges we face with a sense of urgency and the right policies, we will fail our fellow Virginians. Ed has that sense of urgency and the right policies, and he will not fail us.
Virginia General Assembly
Agriculture, Energy and Natural Resources
In Southwest Virginia, Agriculture and Forestry-related industries contributed over $2.8 billion in total output to the economy. Southwest Virginia is blessed with vast natural resources and fertile lands. Since the founding of Jamestown in 1607, Virginians have benefited from our bountiful resources to provide the most basic of necessities, food and shelter. And from our very founding, Virginia agricultural products have always been commercially desired throughout the world.
As governor, Ed will grow our agriculture and forestry industries. He will:
In August, Ed released his “Energy to Power Families, Jobs and Investment Plan, which is an all-of the above approach to energy in Virginia. He has visited multiple coal mines in the area and toured numerous other facilities in Southwest.
Ed will advance energy policy for Southwest Virginia. As governor, Ed will:
Education and Workforce Development
Ed has released his “Excellent Education for ALL Virginians” Plan as well as his Higher Education Plan for ALL Virginians.
Ed is focused on improving higher education outcomes for Southwest Virginians. As governor, he will:
Affordability: Ed will work with UVA-Wise leaders to deploy resources aimed at programs and operations to enhance affordability for students. Part of the charge to UVA-Wise will be to develop a tuition restraint and fee reduction program to include student aid. Financial aid is especially important to the institutions’ long-term success. UVA-Wise is one of the most affordable institutions in the Commonwealth for low- income students. UVA-Wise provides some private support on top of existing financial aid programs which makes access available to many who otherwise could not afford to go to college.
Financial aid is especially important to the institutions’ long-term success. UVA-Wise is one of the most affordable institutions in the Commonwealth for low-income students. UVA-Wise provides some private support on top of the Pell Grant program which makes access available to many who otherwise could not afford to go to college.
To support our schools in Southwest Virginia, Ed will:
Jobs and Economic Growth
Southwest Virginia is in dire need of economic growth — from more jobs to higher wages to better tax climate. According to the GO Virginia regional report, in the four quarters ending with the second quarter of 2016, employment declined 0.9%. Comparatively, employment grew by 0.9% in the state and 1.5% in the nation over the same period. When it comes to population, “projections in JobsEQ anticipate the region will contract an annual average 0.2% a year through 2027—a loss of 8,119 people.” We must end this net out migration.
The centerpiece of Ed’s economic agenda is his ten percent across the board tax rate cut to the individual income tax. Ed has also introduced the “Removing Barriers to Entry for Job Creation for All Virginians” Plan and his “Economic Growth Agenda for All Virginians.”
As governor, Ed will help spur economic growth in Southwest Virginia. Ed will:
In Southwest Virginia alone, Anthem recently stepped in to cover the following cities or counties due to there being no plan offered next year: Bristol City, Galax City, Norton City, Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Grayson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise and Wythe counties. And premiums are expected to rise 42 to 64 percent. Our next governor will face significant challenges in meeting Virginia’s healthcare and social service needs. Ed Gillespie will turn those challenges into opportunities for reform and improved health outcomes for Virginians. It is clear that we cannot count on Washington DC to solve our problems.
As governor, Ed will:
Mental Health, Recovery, and Addiction
Southwest Virginians know all too well the terrible effects our current opioid epidemic has on families across the Commonwealth. The overdose statistics are staggering — over 50 deaths in this region from opioid abuse alone — and even more heartbreaking are the stories that Ed has heard on his numerous visits to Southwest Virginia of sons and daughters, brothers and sisters falling prey to these drugs. Ed will work every day to prevent addiction, provide intervention and welcome those seeking recovery with open arms. Addiction is a disease, not a moral failing.
Ed will work to enhance Virginia’s mental health, addiction, and recovery functions. As governor, Ed will:
Keeping our communities safe is a top priority of government. Virginians must feel safe in their homes, businesses, schools, and on our roads and highways.
Public Safety is important to Ed. He views the responsibility as “Job One.” Ed will:
Efficient transportation and infrastructure systems are essential to economic growth and quality of life. But our transportation system is aging. In fact, the Virginia Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) graded Virginia a C- on its Report Card for Virginia’s Infrastructure. Virginia’s rural roads have unacceptably high rates of deficiencies and fatalities. According to a report from TRIP, the national transportation research group, and related analysis from the Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance, “20 percent of Virginia’s rural roads are rated in poor condition – the 14th highest rate in the nation – and 24 percent are rated in mediocre condition. Seven percent of Virginia’s rural bridges are rated as structurally deficient. The rate of traffic fatalities on Virginia’s non-Interstate, rural roads – 2.46 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel –is the 11th highest rate in the nation and nearly five times higher than the fatality rate on all other roads in the state.” Further, interstate 81 has been ignored for decades. The next governor must address the critical safety concerns facing residents up and down the critical but too often overlooked I-81 corridor.
As governor, Ed will:
Veterans and Military Affairs
Virginia is home to nearly 800,000 veterans, meaning roughly 1 in 10 Virginians is a veteran. There are over 10,000 veterans in Southwest Virginia. Our nation is what it is today because of their service and sacrifice. We owe our active duty and former military, reservists, National Guard and their families our sincere gratitude, respect and support.
The Gillespie-Vogel-Adams ticket will honor our military community and work to support them every single day once in office. As governor, Ed will:
Virginia needs a governor who will be a strong advocate for our Commonwealth. Ed will be that strong advocate. He looks forward to working with the Trump Administration to bring economic growth to Southwest Virginia. He will also oppose any measures that will hurt this region and will work tirelessly to ensure that all Southwest Virginians have a shot at the American dream.