We must have a comprehensive strategy for growing the economy and increasing job opportunities for all Americans. We can do this by following some Virginia strategies that earned us the ranking of Best State for Business during my four years as Governor, and kept Virginia’s unemployment rate below the national average and our median income near the top during the worst recession in generations.
First and foremost, we must embrace talent as key to a growing economy and to competing in global markets. This means investing in all areas of education, as well as workforce training to equip job seekers with the skills they need to succeed and compete for the jobs of the 21st century. As Governor, I opened five comprehensive workforce one-stop centers in Charlottesville, Roanoke, Prince William, Danville, and South Boston to serve individuals and businesses in the region from one central location. In the Senate, I cofounded the bipartisan Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) caucus as a way to focus on improving and strengthening access to career and technical education. I am committed to raising the profile of successful CTE programs and ensuring students of all ages are prepared with the skills they need for the jobs of the 21st century.
In July 2014, I introduced the Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Act, legislation to raise the quality of career and technical education (CTE) programs at schools in Virginia and across the country. This bill improves Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act to better meet the needs of a 21st century workforce and ensure students have access to the highest-quality CTE programs.
I support raising the minimum wage for Virginians and providing the opportunity for economic mobility because no family working full time should have to live under the poverty level. I also support the extension of emergency unemployment insurance benefits because it strengthens our economy and protects Virginians who are looking for jobs and trying to get back to work.
We also need to pursue policies that support our small and medium-sized businesses and create a fair regulatory and tax environment that allows them to grow. Small businesses create more than 70 percent of all new jobs so when they succeed, our economy succeeds.
I will continue looking for ways to streamline regulations and strike the right balance between protecting consumers and our environment while fostering economic growth. We also need to create a fair tax code that closes some of the gaping loopholes that have allowed large corporations to get an unfair advantage over small businesses
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