Governor McAuliffe Visits Danville, Talks Economy

Danville, VA -- Governor Terry McAuliffe toured the Southside Tuesday with his wife and entire cabinet. His focus was jobs, education, and growing the economy.

Governor Terry McAuliffe made a full swing through Danville, starting at the State of the Region address.

"Let's use today as a launching pad for what we need to do to grow this economy and take us to the 21st century," says McAuliffe.

Local leaders announced the region is in good shape. Then McAuliffe followed up with the reason for his visit, to talk jobs and improve the economy. He discussed bringing in large companies to Virginia while addressing the crowd of mostly small business owners.

"Small business is the engine of economic growth here in the Commonwealth and across the country," says McAuliffe.

"Every time they bring a job in, it helps the economy, it helps our neighbors, it helps our friends," says Laurie Moran, President of Danville/Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce.

The Governor also made an impromptu visit to a meeting with new teachers, encouraging them to take their passions into the classrooms. Then McAuliffe held his weekly cabinet meeting. But for the first time he hosted a 'cabinet on the road' discussion.

"I understand the need. Traditionally this area is the highest for unemployment. That is why this is our first meeting," says McAuliffe.

McAuliffe spent more than an hour at Danville Community College, finding out what local leaders need from him. When he asked how many people had job openings but no skilled workers to fill them nearly every hand went up.

"You'll see an executive order out of me very shortly on workforce development. The system that exists today is not working," says McAuliffe.

McAuliffe got a tour of the River District. He took thtrolleyly bus throughout downtown. He made an impromptu stop at Main Street Coffee Emporium, talking to customers.

One question he regularly asked is 'what would you do if you were Governor for a day?', trying to hear what they need from him.

McAuliffe told us he heard that a company came to Danville a few years ago and said they wouldn't come back because of downtown. But since then there have been several upgrades. McAuliffe says that's exactly what we need to do.

"We need to do everything we possibly can to open up Virginia to entice businesses from all over the globe to come. I give everybody credit. I can tell you the folks here are working hard to recruit businesses, diversify the economy so my hat is off to the folks in Danville," says McAuliffe.