Close to one quarter of all Virginians live in rural counties, and our small towns, farms and forests are asset-rich and ripe with opportunity. Yet too often people are forced to leave their homes and seek opportunities elsewhere. For too long, leaders have failed to invest in rural communities and tackle the many economic, education, health and technology disparities so that everyone can prosper.
As Virginia’s next Governor, Terry will prioritize rural economic development and lift up every community.
That includes building on Governor Northam’s efforts and investing substantially in broadband infrastructure and access, getting 387,000 households in need online. Terry will also partner with the business sector to create virtual internships and apprenticeships because there is no reason that a student in Bristol or on the Eastern Shore can’t partner with a business in Northern Virginia or Hampton Roads.
Lifting up rural communities also means making historic investments in education to build the workforce of the future, ensuring that every Virginian has access to quality and affordable health care, making new strategic investments in agriculture and forestry industries, and attracting businesses to locate in rural communities.
As Virginia’s 72nd Governor, Terry made agriculture and forestry — Virginia’s top private sector industries — key components of his overall economic development plans. His focus on agriculture and forestry drastically grew exports of agricultural and forestry products to over $3 billion for the first time in Virginia history.
During his tenure, every Virginia locality saw drops in unemployment numbers, and most rural localities saw 45% decreases in unemployment numbers.
Terry also made tourism, another top industry in Virginia, a focus of economic development, which led to record-breaking revenue generation in tourism during his term. This not only showcased many of our rural regions and counties, with their beautiful vistas, abundant natural resources, and unique man-made attractions, artisan crafts and so much more, but the region also benefited with new businesses and jobs.
He also fought Republicans to expand Medicaid and give hundreds of thousands of Virginians access to health care and made a record investment of $1 billion in our K12 education system.