INTERVIEW: Gov. McDonnell promotes business opportunities for Virginia

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Governor Bob McDonnell is at the end of a week-long trip that took him to three different European countries. The goal is to encourage new business opportunities for here in Virginia. And joining us live from Frankfurt, Germany is the Governor of the commonwealth of Virginia, Bob McDonnell. Governor, welcome back to first at 4:00.

Bob McDonnell: Hey, Ryan, nice to be on with you here from Germany and using the modern marvels of technology with Skype to be with you.

Ryan Nobles: Yeah, just exciting. It's 10:00 there in Germany, so we appreciate you staying up late with us. First, for someone who may be skeptical, explain the benefit of using taxpayer money to fund this trip abroad, to try to drum up business in Virginia.

Bob McDonnell: What I've learned from business people over the last 30 years and being in business myself, it oftentimes, you have to go and look the CEO in the eye, tell them about the benefits of investing in Virginia, and ask for the sale. We've been in Amsterdam and London and now in Frankfurt and other parts of in Germany to first of all, talk to existing companies like Stele and Rolls-Royce and talk to them about expansion opportunities in Virginia. We've talked to a number of new prospects that are looking at Virginia currently, a number of suppliers of Rolls-Royce at the air show here on Tuesday and Wednesday and talking to them about the advantages of co-locating with Rolls-Royce at that new Prince George County facility. We promoted wine and tourism in a substantial way and had marvelous impact already with new orders and new relationships being formed. I know, like many things in life, having a personal contact, talking to people and asking for their business is very successful and we're hoping to have a number of announcements in the next 60 to 90 days.

Ryan Nobles: We have a picture of you here with Prince Andrew, among the many dignitaries you have met while you were over there in Europe. You talk about the aviation connection, a little bit about wine and tourism. Do you think those are the three sectors you have the most to gain by being in Europe?

Bob McDonnell: Well, Germany is our fourth largest trading partner, England the third largest, so going to the places that already have confidence in Virginia goods and services is the way we've connected with some new people that either looking at Virginia now or going to come, and we think there's marvelous opportunity. In fact, we're going to have a couple of announcements I know very soon, but aeronautical supplies is already half of our trade with England right now. Rolls-Royce campus offers great new possibilities, but a lot of the agriculture and forests products, wine products and so forth have tremendous promise. It's our largest industry in Virginia and the new market potential in Germany and England and Amsterdam is substantial. I'm excited about what we've been able to accomplish in a whirlwind six days and I'm going to have exciting announcements in the next two or three months.

Ryan Nobles: Of course, governor, the economy is directly linked to the budget and this week, I don't know if you saw Senator Warner had things to say about your plan to privatize the ABC stores. He said he thinks your optimism about the revenue is too much. How would you respond to that?

Bob McDonnell: I don't know if Senator Warner has done as much research on this as we have. We've had subsequent contact with Senator Warner's office and I will say he's looking at numbers from Ohio which is a different model than what we're proposing in Virginia. Listen, I want people to scrutinize our proposal. We believe government shouldn't be in the business of alcohol distribution at anyway rate, but to generate three to five million dollars for transportation is something people ought to embrace. I think we'll pick away the criticism that people have because they haven't looked fully at the proposal and it is one of many ways that I'm looking at to create jobs, expand opportunities, promote the free enterprise system. It's what I campaigned on and what people have urged me to do as governor and what I'm spending most of my time doing, is finding ways to create more private sector growth and jobs, and privatizing ABC will be one more way to do a that with a wind fall for transportation. I'm confident we can get it done. It's good for Virginia. 

See the video at right for the full interview.

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