Danny's Desk
Feb 04, 2014

Jobs Announcement and Uniting to Help the Rural Regions.

Last Friday was a great day for Henry County and for the Southside region with the announcement of 155 new jobs coming soon. Kilgour Industries Ltd, a United Kingdom-based supplier of aircraft airframe and engine machined products will invest $27.3 million in its first U.S. operation in Henry County and create 155 new jobs. Kilgour specializes in computerized numerical control (CNC) machining, wet chemical surface treatments and sub-assemblies of aerospace components.

The Tobacco Commission helped to bring the company, by granting $1.1 million to the project. The amount of the award was based on the number of jobs, the pay and benefits, and the capital investment. Virginia successfully competed against Florida, Michigan, North Carolina and South Carolina for the project.

In 2012 the Tobacco Commission decided that aerospace would be one of our primary thrusts to bring jobs to the tobacco footprint. The Commission hired an economic developer who lives in Europe. It is that person’s job to bring business from Europe to the tobacco region. This announcement is part of the economic developer’s work and he is in talks with other companies.

In Richmond the pace seems to be just a little slower than some years. We are still a week from crossover and we have already completed the hearing of all the bills that come to the 3 subcommittees that I chair. The number of bills and resolutions is a little lower than usual at this point, coming in at less than 2500. Of course that does not necessarily mean smooth sailing all the way, since the new budget will be a huge challenge.

Whether considering budget needs or legislation, a way to help our area and other rural areas of Virginia is provided every Wednesday afternoon in the Rural Caucus. This caucus is chaired by Senator Frank Ruff. Delegates and senators from the rural areas of the Commonwealth come together to discuss bills and their effects, good or bad, on our regions. We track the progress of bills. When bills come before committees for votes, we know if they will help or hurt our areas. In the Caucus, we build relationships, team-work and a stronger voice for rural Virginia. It is non-partisan.

Another focus in the Rural Caucus this year is getting to know the new leadership. Every four years, when a new governor is elected, it is almost like starting over with new cabinet members and the governor’s staff. At each caucus meeting, at least one member of the Governor’s Cabinet Designees has been invited to come to talk with us and to hear some of our concerns.

We have met with Karen Jackson, Secretary of Technology, who spoke about a broadband initiative. Then we met with Aubrey Lane, the Secretary of Transportation. We were able to discuss with Secretary Lane the transportation projects that are of high importance to our areas, especially the Rt. 29 Bypass around Charlottesville, completing Route 58 with four lanes to I-77 and movement forward on I-73 through Henry County.

We also met with Maurice Jones, Secretary of Commerce and Trade. He is originally from the Clarksville area and expressed an understanding of rural areas and the need for jobs. It is his job to help recruit businesses to the state of Virginia. We asked that he dedicate a lot of energy toward more jobs in Southside. Along with Governor McAuliffe, he attended and spoke at the announcement for Kilgour Industries Ltd. in Henry County.

If you want to read or keep up with Virginia legislation, you may go on line to: http://legis.virginia.gov/  As always, I hope that my 14th District constituents will let us know how you feel about the state issues that are before us.