58°Overcast

by Mark Kelly — May 5, 2016 at 2:15 pm 0

The Right Note is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Mark Kelly

 Governor McAuliffe recently issued an executive order restoring to 206,000 felons who successfully completed their sentences the rights to vote, sit on juries, run for office and become a notary public.

Previous governors explored this question and found that their Constitutional clemency powers required the restoration of these rights to be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Some Republicans are arguing McAuliffe is making a blatant political play to help boost Hillary Clinton’s chances win Virginia in November. But some form of restoration of voting rights is an issue with support on both sides of the political aisle.

By using an executive order, however, Governor McAuliffe did an end run around the General Assembly on an issue that clearly should have been subject to public debate and scrutiny. McAuliffe also left open the very real possibility the next governor could modify or eliminate the order altogether which would raise even more Constitutional questions about whether an individual had some, or all of these rights, or not.

The use of the executive order eliminated the opportunity for public scrutiny on important questions. Should individuals be required to apply for the rights or should they be automatic? Should we differentiate between repeat violent offenders and nonviolent first-time offenders? Should rapists be eligible to sit on a jury during a rape trial? Or should people convicted of fraud be given a public trust like being a notary public?

But elected representatives were denied the ability to debate any issues surrounding whether any or all the rights should be restored or in what manner. And not surprisingly, Republicans in the General Assembly are preparing to sue the Governor on the grounds his actions were unconstitutional.

The people of Virginia should be wary whenever a Governor attempts to unilaterally re-write the Virginia Constitution. When Democrat Governor Kaine explored the same question, his legal counsel determined such an executive order would re-write Virginia law and set a very troubling precedent of ignoring his oath to uphold the Constitution. Governor Kaine was right to defer to his oath.

Mark Kelly is a former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.

by ARLnow.com — February 29, 2016 at 3:50 pm 0

Basket, a startup that produces a mobile app for saving money while grocery shopping, has moved from the District to Clarendon.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, County Board Chair Libby Garvey and Arlington Economic Development Director Victor Hoskins were among the officials on hand today to welcome the company to their new digs at 1220 N. Fillmore Street.

The Commonwealth and the county each provided $125,000 in economic incentives for the firm, which is planning to expand from 9 to 65 employees. Basket is investing $10 million on the new office and the expansion, officials said.

“This is exactly the kind of business we want to attract and grow here,” said Garvey.

The company decided to move to Arlington despite also being wooed by D.C.

“We looked at the number of jobs we would need, and how much we were supposed to grow, we decided we needed a lot more space,” said Andy Ellwood, the company’s president and co-founder and a former employee of the navigation startup Waze. “After moving out of our small coworking space we decided it was the right move for us.”

McAuliffe has been making frequent appearances in Arlington as of late, announcing various deals with tech companies either staying in or moving to the county.

“We’re trying to build the new Virginia economy, so we have to bring in new innovators,” McAuliffe told ARLnow.com. “I want us to be the tech capital of the United States of America. We have all the education and resources. It’s important that we become less reliant on the federal government.”

McAuliffe’s pitch to tech companies considering Arlington or elsewhere in the Commonwealth: “Virginia has very low taxes, a great education system, and it’s close to the federal government,” he said.

The press release from the governor’s office, after the jump.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — February 10, 2016 at 11:25 am 0

Multimodal transportation along I-66Eastbound I-66 will be widened to three lanes inside the Beltway to Ballston, under a compromise agreement announced by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) this morning.

The compromise is intended to appease lawmakers from outside the Beltway, many of whom opposed the idea of tolling I-66 without adding capacity to the often clogged highway. It’s likely to rankle some residents in Arlington, where in the 1970s a citizens group formed to oppose the construction of I-66 in the first place. That group now advocates for a “wiser, not wider” I-66.

According to various news reports, the compromise calls for eastbound I-66 to be widened to three through lanes between the Dulles Connector Road the Fairfax Drive/Glebe Road exit, within the existing highway right-of-way.

Outside-the-Beltway lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, were calling for I-66 to be widened before being tolled. The McAuliffe administration’s plan for converting I-66 to high-occupancy toll lanes inside the Beltway during rush hour — tolls for vehicles with 1-2 occupants, free to those with 3 or more occupants — was in danger of being blocked in the Virginia General Assembly without the compromise. The plan originally called for widening to be considered as a last resort, after studying the efficacy of the HOT lanes in improving traffic congestion.

“If we don’t take this deal now, it’s not going to happen for a generation,” state Sen. Barbara Favola said, as quoted by NBC 4.

The deal will allow tolling on I-66 to begin in 2017 and the new lane to be in place by 2020, at a construction cost of $140 million, according to WTOP.

Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey released a statement on the plan shortly after it was announced, expressing disappointment.

We are disappointed with the news of the amended plan for I-66, which will immediately widen I-66. We respect that Governor McAuliffe and his administration worked hard to protect the earlier plan, which delayed the widening of I-66 until we had several years’ worth of experience with multimodal solutions. We appreciate that — aside from the decision to widen immediately — many of the original elements remain intact:

  • Toll revenue is dedicated to multimodal improvements;
  • NVTC (our region’s transit agency) receives the toll revenue;
  • Local governments retain the authority to spend these funds on local projects; and
  • Any widening occurs within existing right-of-way.

As the new plan moves forward, Arlington will be vigilant, working to ensure that appropriate environmental analyses are completed efficiently and comprehensively. We will do all we can to mitigate harm from the widening, and we will explore possible improvements to accompany the widening. As always. Arlington will be working to promote improved regional transit. We need frequent, reliable, and comfortable transit systems along the east-west corridor that get people quickly to where they want to go.

Update at 3:00 p.m. — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) has weighed in with an interesting statement, suggesting that Arlington County’s opposition to a partial I-66 widening, as proposed, may not be too strong.

Arlington County had a longstanding agreement that I-66 would not be widened inside the Beltway.  Today’s announcement by Governor McAuliffe changes that understanding, and with no public input so far.

My initial reaction is one of concern for Northern Virginians who have worked – many of them for decades – for an alternative approach to big highways.  But I continue to learn details of the proposal and to listen to constituents on all sides of this issue.

Early conversations with elected officials who represent Arlington County indicate that Arlington is more open to this partial I-66 widening than in the past, and that the potential benefits from I-66 tolls will bring important transit and multi-modal benefits to the surrounding corridor.  I remain dubious about additional asphalt, and await input from my Arlington and other constituents about today’s proposal.

Update at 11:55 a.m. — After the jump, the press release from Gov. McAuliffe’s office.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — February 9, 2016 at 1:15 pm 0

Publicly-traded energy tech firm Opower is staying in Arlington, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) announced at a press conference this morning, marking some good news for a county beset by the departures of large government agencies.

McAuliffe and County Board Chair Libby Garvey were among those making the announcement at Opower’s current headquarters at 1515 N. Courthouse Road in Courthouse, which President Obama visited in 2010, when the company was still a startup.

Opower will be moving down the street to a new office building at 2311 Wilson Blvd in Courthouse. The building — already approved by the County Board — is set to be constructed over the next two years, replacing a row of restaurants. Developer Carr Properties had been calling the 8-story building the “Clean Technology Center,” which seems consistent with Opower’s sustainability and energy conservation mission.

Virginia and Arlington County had been fighting to keep Opower, which was being courted by the District and by The Wharf, the massive new development on the Southwest D.C. waterfront.

“Keeping Opower in Arlington County has been a high priority of my administration,” McAuliffe said. “This high-profile energy software company is growing rapidly and making a major impact on global challenges, and we are committed to further strengthening this important corporate partnership. The technology industry is booming in Virginia, and wins like this expansion help us continue to build on the momentum in this important sector.”

“Arlington has watched Opower grow from a startup venture to a thriving leader not only in the region, but in the entire clean technology industry,” Garvey said. “Arlington’s highly-educated workforce and easy transportation access were things Opower was looking for as the company continues to grow, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with them for a long time to come.”

McAuliffe helped arrange a $1 million grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to help Arlington keep Opower.

“Arlington County will match the state funding with a performance-based local economic development incentive grant,” the county notes in a press release. “Arlington will provide an additional annual performance grant through the remaining years of the lease term subject to job and occupancy requirements. Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.”

Opower plans to invest about $10.5 million in its new, 63,000 square foot headquarters and expects to add 70 new employees within three years. The company will also retain 357 jobs that currently pay above the region’s prevailing wage.

“Opower has been with Arlington since the beginning,” said Victor Hoskins, Director of Arlington Economic Development. “The company is a model for the fast-growth technology companies we’re hoping to attract to Arlington, and we simply could not be more pleased that Opower has decided to continue to be a part of Arlington’s business community.”

The building at 2311 Wilson Blvd will have a total of 150,000 square feet of office space plus ground floor retail spaces when it’s completed.

by Buzz McClain — January 21, 2016 at 11:15 am 0

Switch's Toby Russell and Gov. Mcauliffe at Shift

Arlington’s population of engineers and project managers will grow by 100 by 2017 as San Francisco-based disruptive technology firm Shift builds a technology operation in Crystal City.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced today that Shift will invest $20 million in its East Coast engineering center in Arlington as part of its national expansion. The announcement was made during a reception at Crystal City business incubator 1776, where the company will have its local headquarters.

Shift executive Toby Russell said the company’s disruptive technology does for the automotive industry what Airbnb does for hotels. “We use technology to make buying and selling cars easy and delightful,” he said. Consumers input information about the car they want to sell into the Shift website, get a quote, have their car picked up by a Shift employee and then receive a check when the car sells. Shift handles paperwork, test drives and price negotiations.

Shift has raised $73.8 million in two public offerings.

Russell, who is originally from Alexandria, said he would like to see the Shift “serve as a bridge between Silicon Valley and Virginia. We believe this kind of bridging is what technology expansion [in the region] needs.”

Russell added that it was McAuliffe’s visit to the firm’s California headquarters that convinced them to build the engineering center in Virginia.

Arlington County Board Chairman Libby Garvey, in presenting a key to the county to Russell, applauded the arrival of a technology company as federal spending in the region winds down.

“Arlington is in the midst of a surreal change,” she said. “Having our buildings filled with federal agencies is a thing of the past.”

by Tim Regan — January 21, 2016 at 8:35 am 0

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has declared a state of emergency for Virginia in response to the winter storm expected to slam the region tomorrow and Saturday.

McAuliffe declared the state of emergency around 8 a.m. this morning to allow Virginia businesses, residents and officials to prepare for the impending snow, and urged them to prepare right away.

“Keeping Virginians safe in the event of severe weather is our top concern – that is why Virginia began preparing for severe winter weather yesterday by ordering more than 500 vehicles out to pretreat roads in Northern Virginia,” McAuliffe said in a press release. “All Virginians should take the threat of this storm seriously and take necessary precautions now to ensure they are prepared for travel disruptions and possible power outages during a cold weather period.”

The storm is expected to bring double-digit snowfall and wind gusts up to roughly 40 miles per hour Friday and Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. About an inch of snowfall snarled traffic and caused dozens of accidents across the area last night.

Virginia officials issued the following tips for staying safe during the storm (after the jump). (more…)

by Buzz McClain — January 19, 2016 at 4:45 pm 0

Gov. Terry McAuliffe, photo by Jon Grant

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced a $750,000 award to the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) today during a ceremony at the Arlington Mill Community and Senior Center in south Arlington.

The funds, said APAH president and CEO Nina Janopaul, will go toward the construction of Columbia Hills Apartments, a new 229-apartment building scheduled to begin in May at South Frederick Street and Columbia Pike. The building will be erected in the parking lot of Columbia Grove Apartments, another APAH property.

“There are multiple financing tools, and this is an important piece of it,” Janopaul told ARLnews.com. “These funds will make [rents] more affordable for our residents and give us an opportunity to do a better job” of providing affordable housing.

Eleven nonprofits throughout the commonwealth received funding from the $6 million Virginia Housing Trust Fund Competitive Loan Pool during Tuesday’s ceremony. Along with two Richmond organizations, APAH’s $750,000 was the most granted to a regional housing nonprofit.

“On behalf of all the citizens of Virginia, I thank you,” McAuliffe told the audience in a fifth floor conference room at Arlington Mill. “Think of all the lives you have helped.”

Left to right: Maurice Jones, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade; Nina Janopaul, APAH President/CEO; Gov. Terry McAuliffe; John Milliken, APAH Board Chairman; and Mike Chiappa, APAH Real Estate Associate; Photo by Jon Grant

by ARLnow.com — November 17, 2015 at 3:20 pm 0

Syrian Refugee Blanket and Coat Drive (via Arlington County)Arlington County is ready and willing to help resettle Syrian refugees, a county official said Tuesday.

Following the terror attacks in Paris, there has been a backlash against plans to bring refugees from Syria’s bloody civil war to the U.S. More than half of the nation’s governors — mostly Republicans — have expressed opposition to hosting Syrian refugees in their states.

In Virginia, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) says he will not ban refugees from the Commonwealth. Arlington, meanwhile, says it’s ready to help refugees who are sent to the county.

“While there is no official role for the Arlington County government in resettlement decisions or in receiving refugees, we have expressed our interest in serving as a receiving community for refugees,” said Brian Stout, Arlington County’s federal liaison.

Once in Arlington, the county’s Dept. of Human Service would offer a number of free services to refugees through its Community Outreach Program, including:

  • Citizenship classes and workshops
  • English language classes
  • Computer classes
  • Job readiness training
  • Food and nutrition classes
  • Health screenings and presentations

Those services are available in Arabic and other languages, according to information on refugee resettlement in Arlington provided to ARLnow.com. The document also states that county staff is able to “signal our interest in assisting” with refugee resettlement by communicating “the benefits of Arlington as a placement site to the State Department and the placement agencies.”

In order to come to Arlington, a refugee would either need to have family in the area, or it would need to be determined by federal authorities that Arlington was best suited to the refugee’s needs. The federal Office of Refugee Resettlement would refer the refugee to the Virginia Dept. of Social Services, which would in turn refer him or her to the local, contracted refugee service provider — which for Arlington is Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington.

So far, the county is unaware of any Syrian refugees that have been resettled in Arlington, Stout said. ARLnow.com was unable to reach Catholic Charities for comment.

Per security concerns about ISIS-affiliated terrorists posing as refugees, Gov. McAuliffe’s office said in a statement that each refugee “undergoes intensive security screening” from federal authorities. Even so, McAuliffe has also specifically asked his homeland security secretary to “ensure that every proper precaution is taken to keep Virginians safe.”

Republicans in the House of Delegates say they will introduce legislation early next year to ban Syrian refugees from Virginia.

Arlington County, along with other Northern Virginia jurisdictions, is currently conducting a blanket and coat drive for Syrian refugees.

File photo

by ARLnow.com — November 6, 2015 at 1:30 pm 0

Ballston Metro overcrowding Jan. 7, 2015 (photo courtesy Rebekah Solem)Metro announced yesterday that Paul Wiedefeld, the former CEO of BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, has been selected as the agency’s next General Manager and CEO.

Following a lengthy search process, the WMATA Board of Directors is expected to make Wiedefeld’s appointment official on Nov. 19.

With Metro in turmoil due to ongoing rail service reliability problems and financial challenges, state officials and lawmakers welcomed the appointment of an experienced executive to Metro’s top post.

From Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.):

“Today’s news concludes a period of uncertainty for Metro. Paul Wiedefeld’s transportation and executive experience gives him the tools to provide WMATA with the leadership a first class transit system needs. I look forward to working with him to ensure a safe, reliable future for Metro as a critical part of the national capitol area’s transportation infrastructure.”

From Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe:

“I am pleased to see that the WMATA Board has unanimously chosen Paul Wiedefeld to lead the agency as its General Manager and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Wiedefeld’s significant experience in managing safety and operations in the transit industry will surely serve him well as he steps into his role with Metro. I am hopeful that this appointment, though overdue, will give WMATA the stability and expertise it needs to produce meaningful change across the agency. I look forward to Mr. Wiedefeld’s formal confirmation by the Board on November 19th.”

A joint statement from U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.):

“We’re pleased to finally see this progress in bringing on new management for Metro after a year-long search.

“As federal lawmakers, we have been strong advocates and effective partners for Metro. In his years of service to BWI, Mr. Wiedefeld has proven himself to be a creative and successful infrastructure manager in the public sector. We are eager to meet with him to emphasize our shared commitment and steady focus on turning-around the troubled Metro system.

“We’re prepared to work with Mr. Wiedefeld as he accepts the challenge of improving the safety and reliability of this pivotal regional investment for Metro passengers and visitors to the national capital region.”

After a jump, a press release from the recently-formed WMATA Riders’ Union.

(more…)

by Heather Mongilio — October 27, 2015 at 3:45 pm 0

Terry McAuliffe speaks in front of Arlington DemocratsGov. Terry McAuliffe is going back to high school.

The Virginia governor will be speaking to students at Washington-Lee High School (1301 N. Stafford Street) about career paths in cybersecurity tomorrow, Oct. 28, from 1:15-3 p.m.

McAuliffe will be joined by a panel of cyber security professionals who will talk about the different jobs in cybersecurity as well as the resources students need to pursue a career.

“The nation is in need of a strong cybersecurity workforce. The demand for skilled cyber professionals is at an all-time high, and will only increase as our country and world grow more dependent on cyber and information technology,” Arlington Public Schools said in a statement.

The panelists will talk about the average day of a cybersecurity specialist, what interested them in a cyber career and how they got their start. They will also perform a Wi-Fi Watering Hole attack demonstration.

The event is co-sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security as part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2015.

by ARLnow.com — October 19, 2015 at 9:30 am 1,822 0

View of Courthouse in the background, seen from the Fort Myer Officers Club

Arlington K-9s to Retire With Handlers — The Arlington County Board on Saturday unanimously voted to officially sanction the transfer of ownership of retiring law enforcement K-9 officers to their handlers, thus allowing police dogs to live out their lives with their long-time partners. [NBC Washington, Arlington County]

Big Changes Coming to Crystal City Building — The U.S. Marshals Service is consolidating its offices into one Crystal City office building. That will leave another Crystal City office building, 1750 Crystal Drive, vacant. Owner Vornado is planning a big facelift for the building, with more glass and steel and less concrete on the outside. [Washington Business Journal]

Arlington, Falls Church Renew Service Agreement — Arlington County will continue to provide court, jail, fire department and other services to the City of Falls Church, under a new agreement approved by the Arlington County Board on Saturday. Fall Church will pay Arlington just over $1 million per year for the services. [Arlington County]

McAuliffe to Start Marine Corps Marathon — Next weekend’s Marine Corps Marathon will be officially started by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. [Twitter]

M.J. Stewart Suspended at UNC — Former Yorktown High School football standout M.J. Stewart has been suspended from the University of North Carolina football team after being charged with assault in connection to an off-campus altercation. Stewart, a sophomore, had been a starting cornerback on the team. [Associated Press]

Resident to County: Cover Sandboxes — A Shirlington resident spoke before the County Board on Saturday to raise concern about uncovered sandboxes. She urged county officials to keep sandboxes covered when not in use, to keep pets and disease out. [InsideNova]

by Heather Mongilio — September 30, 2015 at 6:30 pm 7,132 0

Possible path for Hurricane Joaquin (via National Weather Service)Gov. Terry McAuliffe has declared a state of emergency for Virginia in response to an impending nor’easter and Hurricane Joaquin, which is making its way toward the East Coast.

McAuliffe declared the state of emergency to allow Virginia businesses, residents and officials to prepare for the impending storms.

“I cannot stress enough the imperative for Virginians to focus on the rainstorms that are headed our way tomorrow and Friday, well before Hurricane Joaquin could potentially impact Virginia,” McAuliffe said in a statement. “The forecast of up to 10 inches of rain in areas across Virginia could result in floods, power outages and a serious threat to life and property. As we continue to track the path of Hurricane Joaquin, I have instructed the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security to make every preparation for a major event Thursday and Friday.”

The nor’easter is expect to hit the area Thursday and Friday bringing a prolonged period of torrential rain and the potential for dangerous flooding, McAuliffe said in a statement. The rain may continue as Hurricane Joaquin approaches.

Joaquin is currently expected to make landfall at some point on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

The hurricane’s possible trajectory has it hitting North Carolina around 2 p.m. on Sunday and moving through Virginia, D.C. and Maryland Sunday and Monday. Another path, however, predicts Joaquin will bypass the East Coast completely.

Joaquin is currently a Category 1 hurricane with winds up to 85 miles per hour and is floating around the Bahamas and other Caribbean islands, according to NWS.

Virginia officials issued the following tips for staying safe when flooding is expected (after the jump).

(more…)

by Peter Rousselot — May 21, 2015 at 1:00 pm 0

Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Peter Rousselot

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe continues to display effective leadership by tirelessly promoting economic development. McAuliffe is:

1. Working to end Virginia’s over-reliance on federal defense spending, and
2. Seeking to diversify Virginia’s economy to take up the slack.

McAuliffe was here in Arlington two weeks ago highlighting cybersecurity and biotechnology as two areas particularly poised for growth.

According to the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, the decline in federal spending has contributed to a region-wide shift from higher-paying jobs — government contractor and subcontractor — to lower paying jobs:

The shift has helped drive down the region’s gross regional product, an indicator of an economy’s health, by nearly $243 million since last year. Fewer highly paid workers, in turn, has led to … higher office vacancy rates and–year after year–reductions in the projected flow of tax dollars that help pay for schools, roads and other government services.

Stephen Fuller, the Director of the Center for Regional Analysis, underscored the problem:

“We’ve just had it easy for so long that we’ve never had to work at this.” Steady increases in federal spending, which reached a peak of $80.7 billion in 2010, kept the Washington region relatively stable during the recession. But it also fostered a false sense of security. “The message is clear: We need to rebrand ourselves and promote our assets.”

Fuller’s message is exactly the gospel that McAuliffe relentlessly continues to preach:

We have to build our own new economy, less reliant on the federal government, bring in new businesses, new interests. That’s what [my] focus has been since taking office in 2014. In slightly more than a year as governor, there have been 350 economic development projects and $6.3 billion in economic activity.

McAuliffe has stressed the importance of workforce development, credentialing, and apprenticeships: “Virginia needs to keep pace with employers’ needs if it wants to retain large companies. [We] need to cater to the large veteran population in Virginia by offering certifications for skills learned in the military.”

He is working closely with Senators Kaine and Warner to block the next round of federal automatic across-the-board sequestration cuts. Those cuts currently are scheduled to take effect on October 1, 2015. In a nutshell, McAuliffe’s message on sequestration is: “there have to be smarter ways to cut the federal budget.”

Conclusion

The Arlington County government cannot rely on the federal government gravy train the way Arlington has in the past. We need to spend every one of our tax dollars wisely. Kudos to Governor McAuliffe for:

  • candidly explaining the situation, and
  • highlighting what all Virginia leaders must do to adjust to our new economic realities.

Peter Rousselot is a former member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia and former chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.

by Ethan Rothstein — May 7, 2015 at 5:00 pm 0

Gov. Terry McAuliffe likes to talk big, especially when it comes to economic development, so he wasn’t shy about his ambitions when he visited Rosslyn’s ÜberOffices today to chat with dozens of entrepreneurs.

“When people talk about Silicon Valley, I want them to talk about Northern Virginia,” McAuliffe said.

McAuliffe fielded questions from the entrepreneurs, including the founders of Zoobean, uKnow, Ostendio and Local News Now, asking them to tell him what he can do to grow the innovation economy, and how they want him to help.

“I want you to stay here and raise families here,” he said. “Do whatever you have to do to stay in the Commonwealth of Virginia. I want you all to be fabulously successful and pay taxes here.”

Whenever McAuliffe speaks in public, he likes to throw around statistics about Virginia’s economy — the commonwealth has the second-most tech workers of any state in the country — and his accomplishments as governor — he’s brought more investment into the state already than the four previous governors combined he said.

He highlighted several key areas where he expects the tech sector in Virginia to thrive, among them cybersecurity and biotechnology. His 23-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son’s Social Security numbers were stolen in the Anthem Blue Cross breach, which he said just hit home how important cybersecurity is. Virginia has the most cybersecurity firms in the country, he pointed out.

At the same time, he said he wants more growth in the biotech world. Within his first few months as governer, McAuliffe was at a national biotech conference alongside Govs. Jerry Brown of California and Deval Patrick of Massachusetts. As the three state executives sat on stage, the hosts put a graphic of the 25 best states for biotechnology companies.

Massachusetts and California were Nos. 1 and 2 on that list, he said. Virginia wasn’t on it.

“It started to get a little uncomfortable for me,” he said with a laugh and a shrug. “[The National Institutes of Health] is just 11 miles from here. Maryland has done a great job on biotech, but we have much lower taxes. There’s no reason we can’t do better. California and Massachusettes should be nervous.”

McAuliffe said the White House will soon announced where a several-hundred thousand square foot cybersecurity campus will be placed, and he’s fighting to win it for Virginia. With the data centers in Loudoun County and the dark fiber in Arlington, the region is positioned to attract more and more technology companies.

by Ethan Rothstein — April 16, 2015 at 4:15 pm 0

1776 announces expansion into Crystal City (photo via @1776)The heralded 1776 tech incubator and seed fund is moving into Crystal City, bringing tech bonafides and millions of dollars with it.

Today, on the roof of 220 20th Street S., Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes, Vornado CEO Mitchell Shear, 1776 co-founders Evan Burfield and Donna Harris and former Disruption Corporation CEO, and now 1776 Managing Director, Paul Singh joined forces to make the announcement.

“We’re proud that this new partnership will be anchored in Crystal City, which is increasingly becoming a globally-recognized home for world-changing startups,” McAuliffe said. “This new, unprecedented level of regional collaboration removes the traditional regional boundaries, creating tremendous opportunity for broad-based economic growth that benefits the entire region, and offering a model for future, long-term economic growth throughout Virginia and the D.C. Metro area.”

As part of its deal to expand in Crystal City, 1776 acquired Singh’s Disruption Corporation, a combination of a venture fund and financial advisory firm. Disruption’s headquarters on the 10th floor of 2231 Crystal Drive will be 1776’s base of operations in Arlington, according to Crystal City Business Improvement District Angela Fox.

“One of the beauties of Crystal City is there is so much space to expand, and if they do well, that’s certainly the thinking in all of this,” Fox told ARLnow.com this afternoon.

Earlier this week, 1776 announced a partnership with Montgomery County, and the incubator’s announcement today makes it one of the, if not the premier, dominant forces in the D.C. area technology space. In 1776’s new headquarters, it will already have member companies like Bloompop, Power Supply and Onomono Media.

1776 also hosts the Challenge Festival, an international, weeklong festival aimed at bringing together entrepreneurs in the energy, education, health and transportation sectors. The company anticipates more than 10,000 industry members will attend, and the opening party will be in Crystal City, at 2121 Crystal Drive, on May 8 from 7:00-11:00 p.m.

The incubator hopes to leverage the still-significant hub of government agencies and contractors in Crystal City, as well as the close proximity to the Pentagon, in its latest expansion.

“This region’s growing innovation economy and its future economic growth are closely linked, which is why at 1776 we’ve focused our attention on creating new opportunities for regional innovation and unfettered access to the networks that exist across regional borders,” 1776 co-founder Donna Harris said in a press release. “Between our partnership with Vornado and the acquisition of Disruption, this exciting new venture will allow us to bring together ALL the tremendous assets this region has to offer, from the NIH and MedStar in Bethesda to the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin in Crystal City, and create one of the most vibrant technology communities in the country.”

Photo via @1776

×

Subscribe to our mailing list