‘Virginia is for losers’: Business experts say scandal-inspired slogan is bad for Virginia economy

Front page of the New York Post on Feb. 7, 2019. (Source: New York Post)
Front page of the New York Post on Feb. 7, 2019. (Source: New York Post)
Updated: Feb. 8, 2019 at 4:56 AM EST
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - After a week of scandals at the Capitol, Virginia has been given an infamous slogan by the front page of the New York Post.

It reads “Virginia is for losers,” a play on the popular phrase “Virginia is for lovers,” and now the question is: Could the negative publicity be bad for Virginia’s economy?

Commonwealth Business Consultant John Boyd, of the Boyd Company, weighed in. Boyd said the branding element of a state is critical today’s economic development.

“'Virginia is for losers’ is everything you don’t want to see if you care about job growth and attracting millennial and attracting a workforce to your state," said Boyd. “A major responsibility for a governor in 2019 is to be the salesman and chief of their state.”

That’s a role Boyd said Governor Northam won’t be able to fulfill while clouded in controversy.

“Companies don’t like uncertainty and they don’t like this cloud of uncertainty that’s over the state, but really I think the biggest negative is this idea of the governor’s inability to now make the case for Virginia,” said Boyd. “It’s a big problem for the state’s economic development professionals who are doing the hard work of actively recruiting companies to expand and relocate.”

But Northam’s scandal is just one of three now dragging the Commonwealth’s reputation through the mud.

As Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax deals with sexual assault allegations and Attorney General Mark Herring comes to grips with a blackface scandal of his own, Boyd says we could see the potential business prospects for the state go to the competition.

“I would expect a lot of planned expansion projects in Virginia to be in a sort of suspended state of animation and projects are being stalled to see how this plays outs, that’s bad news for Virginia,” said Boyd. “It’s good news for the Carolinas, it’s good news for Georgia, it’s good news for Florida, it’s good news for the states Virginia is competing with.”

Boyd adds it’s only a matter of time when calls for resignation start to come from the business community.

“The ramification to the state business climate go beyond mere company relocation and expansion, this will affect the state’s ability to attract tourism,” said Boyd.

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