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State Officials and Area Business Leaders to Explore Broadband, Clean Energy and Economic Developmen

HARRISONBURG, Va. August 28, 2017 – Broadband and economic development will be among topics for discussion as state, business and civic leaders gather on August 30 at a Regional Rural Caucus meeting for the Shenandoah Valley GO Virginia District 8 and 9 regions.

Organized by the Virginia Rural Center and co-hosted by Senator Emmett Hanger and Delegate Steve Landes, Wednesday’s event in Harrisonburg will bring together members of the Virginia General Assembly's Rural Caucus with business leaders to discuss emerging issues and opportunities for localities in and around the Shenandoah Valley. It is among a series of regional rural caucus meetings being held based on GO Virginia Regional Council districts in an effort to align with regional economic development issues and priorities throughout rural Virginia.

Guest speakers will give updates on the GO Virginia program and discuss economic development initiatives specific to the District 8 and 9 regions. Dr. Jonathan Miles, Professor of Integrated Science and Technology and Director of the Center for Wind Energy at James Madison University, will discuss clean energy as an economic development tool, and Lindsay Reames, Assistant Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, will present on hemp policy initiatives. Christy Morton, Executive Director of the Virginia Rural Center, will discuss regional broadband solutions.

George Pace, Chairman of the GO Virginia Region 8 Council, and Brian Cole, Chairman of the GO Virginia Region 9 Council, will also speak.

Attendees will also include other GO Virginia council members, private business leaders, local government officials and Virginia Rural Center board members from the two regions. During the meeting’s open discussion, business leaders are invited to share their needs and recommendations for making priority sectors prosper in the regions.

The Regional Rural Caucus Meeting will be held Wednesday, August 30 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at James Madison University in the College of Health and Behavioral Studies building, Room 5040, on 235 Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Harrisonburg.

Specifically, GO Virginia District 8 includes the counties of Augusta, Bath, Clarke, Frederick, Highland, Page, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Shenandoah and Warren, as well as the cities of Buena Vista, Harrisonburg, Lexington, Staunton, Waynesboro and Winchester. District 9 covers Charlottesville and the counties of Albemarle, Culpeper, Fauquier, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Madison, Nelson, Orange and Rappahannock.

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