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Gov. Youngkin Vows to Prioritize Growing Rural Virginia Economy at Annual Rural Caucus Reception

Gov. Glenn Youngkin pledged to support rural Virginia at the 13th Annual Rural Caucus Reception that attracted business and economic leaders, policymakers and officials from more than 50 counties in the Commonwealth to the Omni Richmond Hotel on Wednesday evening.

“Together we’re standing up for those things that are most important to rural Virginia,” Youngkin said. “If you don’t stand up for them, guess what? Nobody else will. So, it’s time that we recognize the interests in rural Virginia have to be represented well.”

Just 2 ½ weeks into his administration, Youngkin was the keynote speaker at the annual gathering, a joint effort of the Center for Rural Virginia, the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) Rural Caucus and the Virginia General Assembly Rural Caucus. Attorney General Jason Miyares and Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears also spoke at the event, which included multiple members of Youngkin’s administration.

Sen. Emmett Hanger, Chairman of the Rural Caucus, introduced the speakers.

Youngkin touched on issues his administration is pressing forward on that include:

· Reducing the state’s cost of living by reducing taxes.

· Eliminating the grocery tax and suspending the gas tax.

· Doubling the standard deduction.

· Recognizing veterans as a resource.

· Anticipating the largest tax rebate in Virginia history.

· Re-establishing expectations for school children.

· Investing in educational innovation so graduates are career- and college-ready.

· Increasing funding for law enforcement.

Youngkin promised, “Virginia is open for business,” and noted the opportunity for growth in the agriculture and forest industry is enormous. “We can, in fact, support our agriculture and forestry industry like never before,” he said.

Youngkin’s plans includes creating 400,000 new jobs and fostering 10,000 startups, many in the southwestern part of the state. Rural Virginia, he said, is ripe for mega-site development to attract new business.

Sears, who sits on the Board of Directors at the Center for Rural Virginia, assured the audience that rural Virginia has been heard by this administration. Decreasing regulations so farmers can prosper is an important priority, she said.

“We heard you” during the campaign, Sears said. “You’re all part of Virginia and we don’t want anyone to feel forgotten.”

VACo’s Executive Director Dean Lynch and its President, Meg Bohmke; Del. Emily Brewer, Vice Chairman of the Rural Caucus; and Sen. Frank Ruff, Acting Chairman of the Center for Rural Virginia, were among the over 250 guests in attendance.

“We were thrilled to have hosted a record number of legislators at this year’s event, too,” said Kristie Proctor, Executive Director of the Center for Rural Virginia. “It truly shows that rural Virginia, and the issues that impact rural Virginians, remain front and center.”

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