Governor Kicks Off State Economic Tour in Danville

McDonnell Touring EIT

Reporter: James Gherardi l Videographer: Jonathan Merryman

Danville, VA - Danville played host to Gov. Bob McDonnell Monday as he kicked off his week long "Virginia: Growing Strong" tour of the state.

The tour highlights businesses and communities that continue to grow out of the recession, and the governor said Danville is doing everything right.

He toured EIT, a company he says is acting as an economic model for the state.

"What we've tried to do is just create the very best business environment," said McDonnell.

According to some, that's exactly what the governor has done. His week-long tour kicked off on the heels of an announcement that Virginia has the lowest unemployment percentage in the southeast, and it was dubbed the best state to do business by CNBC.

McDonnell, flanked by his cabinet, toured a growing tech company that calls Danville home.

"What are the ways that we can replicate the success of a company like EIT. A northern Virginia company, that we were able to convince to come down here, where there's a good labor force, where the tax rates are lower, property values make it a little easier to start a business."

A sentiment echoed by company administrators.

"We've expanded in Virginia in Danville because it's a very able work force, a very willing work force, and a very trainable work force," said David Faliskie, president and COO of EIT.

After a quick tour, McDonnell spoke candidly to employees saying though the state seems to be weathering the economic storm well, Danville continues to struggle.

"Unfortunately, down here in Southern Virginia, we're still having some challenges... 10% down here in Danville, 15% in Martinsville, so this is where we decided to start."

But expansion he assured would continue. He said it will slowly help Danville recover.

"These high-tech businesses, the ones that are the future for our state, it's where a lot of the growth's going to be, and it's where a lot of the well-paying jobs of the future are going to be had," said McDonnell.

Tech company EIT says they plan to continue their growth. They said with that 60,000 square foot facility, there's plenty of room to do so. From Danville, McDonnell made his way to Martinsville.

The tour was to tout the state's decreasing unemployment rate, which now is one of the lowest in the country. But the question on a lot of minds is if McDonnell will be Mitt Romney's running mate in November.

"Well I'm not asking for it, looking for it or expecting it, so we'll see what happens in the future, but I am going to help him win Virginia," said McDonnell.