From the governor

January 22, 2019

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam made the following public announcements last week, covering a wide range of issues:

 

The six localities of fiscal year 2019 farmland preservation grants have been named. They have been awarded a total of $633,831, from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ (VDACS) Office of Farmland Preservation, to be used to permanently preserve working farmland, through local Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) programs. The programs compensate landowners, who work with localities to preserve their land permanently, by voluntarily securing a perpetual conservation easement. VDACS has allocated funding to, Albemarle, Clarke, Fauquier and Stafford counties, as well as, the cities of Chesapeake and Virginia Beach. These grant allocations bring the total allocation of state matching funds to $12.4 million since 2008, when PDR funds were first distributed.

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The National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices and the National Parole Resource Center selected Virginia — along with Pennsylvania and New Jersey — to participate in a nine-month learning collaborative on paroling authorities, as key partners in achieving sound criminal justice policy goals and practices.

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Anord Mardix (USA), Inc., a leading global producer of power distribution and protection equipment, will invest $907,500 to establish its second manufacturing facility in Henrico County. The investment will allow the company to augment production of power infrastructure components to its North American data center clients, supporting new and projected growth. Virginia successfully competed with Maryland and North Carolina for the project, which may create 51 new jobs.

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The University of Virginia has plans to establish a School of Data Science, an effort made possible in part by the largest private gift in the institution’s 200-year history. UVA announced its plan for the school and the supporting gift of $120 million during a recent ceremony in the Rotunda Dome Room. The School of Data Science – UVA’s 12th school and the first established since 2007 – hopes to position the university as a global leader in efforts to improve society, through teaching and research, based on the powerful, emerging field of data science. The grant to support the establishment of the University of Virginia School of Data Science is provided by the Quantitative Foundation, a private foundation based in Charlottesville. Jaffray Woodriff, a 1991 graduate of the McIntire School of Commerce, is a trustee of the foundation. His wife, Merrill Woodriff, who completed a Bachelor’s degree from the College of Arts and Sciences and a Master’s degree from the Curry School of Education in 1998, is a foundation director. Jaffray Woodriff is also co-founder and CEO of Quantitative Investment Management, a private investment firm also based in Charlottesville.

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Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged in December at 2.8 percent. The December 2018 seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Virginia was down 0.8 percentage point, from a year ago, and continued to be the lowest rate since the April 2001 rate of 2.8 percent. The labor force, which expanded for the third consecutive month, added 4,213 jobs, for a total of 4,359,242, and set a new record high. Household employment increased by 4,953, which was the 12th consecutive monthly increase, and, at 4,236,062, set a new record high. The number of unemployed continued to drop, declining by 740, to 123,180. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which was up 0.2 percentage point in December, to 3.9 percent.

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Klöckner Pentaplast will invest $25 million to expand its global production capacity for pharmaceutical and medical device packaging films at its manufacturing facility in Louisa County. Virginia successfully competed with Ohio for the project, which is expected to result in about 34 new jobs.

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Virginia was selected as one of seven states to participate in the inaugural Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide among Service Members, Veterans, and their Families (SMVF). The challenge is hosted by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The other six states participating in the Governor’s Challenge are, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, New Hampshire and Texas. The states in the Governor’s Challenge will develop strategies and best practices to help implement the VA’s National Strategy for the Prevention of Veteran Suicide, which provides a framework for using a comprehensive public health approach to address the growing public health challenge among the veteran population.

 

The Northern Cardinal is Virginia's state bird. (Photo courtesy of: https://statesymbolsusa.org/symbol/virginia/state-bird/northern-cardinal.)

 

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