maurice jonesBy Peter Galuszka

For a glimpse of where the administration of Gov. Terry McAuliffe is heading, here’s an interview I did with Maurice Jones, the secretary of commerce and trade that was published in Richmond’s Style Weekly.

Jones, a graduate of Hampden-Sydney College and University of Virginia law, is a former Rhodes Scholar who had been a deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama. Before that, he was publisher of The Virginian-Pilot, which owns Style.

According to Jones, McAuliffe is big on jobs creation, corporate recruitment and upgrading education, especially at the community college and jobs-training levels. Virginia is doing poorly in economic growth, coming in recently at No. 48, ahead of only Maryland and the District of Columbia which, like Virginia have been hit hard by federal spending cuts.

Jones says he’s been traveling overseas a lot in his first year in office. Doing so helped land the $2 billion paper with Shandong Tranlin in Chesterfield County. The project, which will create 2,000 jobs, is the largest single investment by the Chinese in the U.S. McAuliffe also backs the highly controversial $5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline planned by Dominion because its natural gas should spawn badly-needed industrial growth in poor counties near the North Carolina border.

Read more, read here.

(Note: I have a new business blog going at Style Weekly called “The Deal.” Find it on Style’s webpage —

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18 responses to “Interview: McAuliffe’s Economic Goals”

  1. Peter – wanted to read the rest but the “read more here” gets a 404 at Style

  2. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Larry, Sorry about that. Fixed it. Let me know if there’s still a problem.

  3. Now that I’ve read the rest – the “interview” is a real coup for Peter G.

    and it’s also crystal clear that McAuliffe and Mr. Jones are seriously focused on non-govt jobs and know full well how bad Va is in economic development.

    and I found this compelling:

    ” Over the next decade, Virginia will need to fill 1.5 million jobs. Five hundred thousand of those will be new jobs. Fifty to 65 percent will be jobs for which you will not need a four-year degree or a master’s degree or a doctorate, but you will need post-high-school training. You’ll need the right certification, the right licensing and the right apprenticeship training.”

    My view is that they are dead on and it is imperative that Virginia takes the view that if a kid is not bound for a 4yr institution – he/she MUST be bound for a Community College or a legitimate certificate program – and that is going to take the K-12 schools to be responsible for the non-4yr kids having adequate education for a 2yr or certificate.

    I think McAuliffe is proving to be a much more substantial Gov than initially thought – and to be honest – he’s doing things that makes me
    wonder why McDonnell was not… I don’t even know who McDonnells’ Secretary of Commerce was or what he/she did..

    great article Peter!

  4. TooManyTaxes Avatar

    Interesting interview.

    Sorry, I’m a bit jaded. Every Governor since I’ve moved here in late 1984 has said about the same thing about economic development. Probably the most important thing a Governor can do is run state operations efficiently and effectively. That requires being willing to say and accept “no” for an answer periodically. Here’s hoping McAuliffe does just that! And that his broken ribs heal soon.

    1. TMT – did McDonnell say we were overly reliant on Fed money or that we need most all high school grads to get a certificate or 2yr degree?

      I never felt like McDonnell admitted we were too reliant on the Feds nor that we need to seriously up our game for K12 grads not off to 4yr colleges and that in addition to the idea that we could have 30,000 jobs for our HS grads that are not DOD jobs and likely are not reliant on the Feds general revenues like DOD is.

  5. TooManyTaxes Avatar

    It’s time for results. And I maintain the best thing for McAuliffe to do to attract more business and jobs is to run the state efficiently and effectively.

    How many more bureaucrats will be added by expanding educational programs? When he comes up with a plan that has no net increase in non-instructional employees, I’ll be all ears.

    1. re: time for results

      geeze TMT – until NOW no one in the McDonnell administration even acknowledged the things that McAuliffe has – i.e. dependence on Feds and need to up our education game..

      and you want results in months?

      if you want LESS unemployment and LESS entitlements and LESS folks going to the hospitals for charity care – you have to invest in education such that when a child graduates from high school – and is not going to 4 year that he has the academic ability to go to a 2yr and/or be certified for an occupation.

      and you want results right now and a guarantee of no money spent?

      so you want to continue to pay for entitlements and free medical care?

      we have thousands and thousands of jobs available right now that we don’t have qualified applicants for and those companies are bringing them in from overseas.

      we can vote to continue the status quo and kill ourselves by saying we are not going to invest in education or we can do what it takes to turn as many kids as we can into people who make 30-40k a year and pay taxes rather than people who need 30-40K a year in entitlements and don’t pay taxes.

      I personally think our most cost-effective goal is to create more taxpayers and reduce the numbers on entitlements.

      1. TooManyTaxes Avatar

        Virginia offers two-year educational programs throughout the state. NOVA offers the following “Degrees and Certificates Designed to Prepare Students for Work,” Associate of Applied Arts Degree (A.A.A.)
        Associate of Applied Science Degree (A.A.S.); Certificate (C.); & Career Studies Certificate (C.S.C.). Those are in addition to two-year degrees for students going to finish at a four-year college.

        Here are programs available:

        And NOVA is not a single campus, but has locations all over the area. And online learning to boot.

        So please explain how we are not investing in post-high school education? How are we not making training available? With all these resources available, shouldn’t individuals be responsible enough to take advantage? NOVA has 75,000 students taking some form of education. Shouldn’t we expect other people to be just as responsible?

        1. we’re not there yet.

          we need:

          1. – to get as many kids as we can that are NOT bound for 4-year colleges – ABLE to attend a community college or vocational certificate program

          2. – we need to address the kids that do not have financial resources and provide them with the equivalent of what we are doing for the 4-year kids

          3. – In K-12 we need to put as much emphasis in the non-4-year path as the 4 year path.

          we need to do what Germany does and that is to EXPECT all kids to go to post K-12 schools.. i.e. they’re no longer done after 12th grade.

          the 21st century has put this on us. K-12 will not longer get you a job that will pay for your needs and not require entitlements …

          globalization has changed the game and we cannot survive by sitting on the status quo.

          1. TooManyTaxes Avatar

            NOVA has an open admissions program. But you need to get off your ___ and apply. Tuition is relatively affordable and financial aid is available.

            I doubt guidance counselors in high school discourage kids from getting post-high school education. But what if a kid doesn’t take any initiative? What if the kid’s parents are discouraging him/her from taking vocational education because they think all their children are Ivy League material? What if a kid’s parents are out of the picture? Some people fall through the crack and always will.

            I would support advertising that informs middle school students and teens that they need post-HS education and provide information about multiple paths of training from the military to vocational schools to apprentice programs to community colleges to universities. If we can advertise against smoking, we can do the same for post-HS education.

          2. I’ll say at the front – we cannot help all kids. Some are going to fail no matter what.

            but we need to change the way we educate the kids who may not end up going to 4yr – no matter what their parents think.

            we need to make the default in school that every kid WILL either go to a 4yr or a 2yr or a trade/vocation school to get a certificate.

            and the 2yr/cert option needs to be free or virtually free with a generous pay back (similar to 4yr loans).

            K-12 is going to have to re-prioritize some resources to the non-4yr path.

            You’re from NoVa but RoVa – rural and urban is going to have a higher percentage of non-4yr kids that if we do not give them a basic 21st century education – are going to end up on entitlements .

            this goes back to what McAuliffe is saying – point to a virginia economy that is less dependent on the Feds – and get the kids educated for that kind of 21st century economy.

            Not all jobs need 4yr but most jobs need some level of technical 21st century skills.. which require proficient reading, writing and math skills.

          3. TooManyTaxes Avatar

            I think we have some work to do at the high school level, both to increase the graduation rate and to instill a desire for students to get additional education and/or training. And having a message delivered to students for multiple years in school would help. But as you say, some will not make it. I’d rather try to help those who are trying to make it.

            I disagree about free post-high school education. Students who have skin in the game tend to value their education more and work harder. I rather see McAuliffe and GA put pressure on colleges of all kinds to reduce their overheads and to bring efficiencies to instruction. Every student should take some courses online because that will be part of their employee or professional training in the future. Post secondary education need not be as expensive as it is.

            Re RoVA, I had a conversation with a NoVA state senator once who told me rural colleagues often indicated a significant number of parents discourage post HS education because they know it is less likely their kids will return to their hometown. I suspect this is true. And there are, of course, parents in urban and suburban areas who place little value on education. That’s why I’d support the “advertising campaign” to give kids a different message.

          4. re: skin in the game

            you tell a kid in 3rd grade that if he maintains a C+ from 4th to 12th grade he gets a 2r degree.

            you tell him that in the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, etc grades.. every year.

            I think that’s the “skin”. for that child to know that even if they don’t have rich parents – that they WILL get some college if they do good academically.

            it’s been tried before – and it works.

          5. TooManyTaxes Avatar

            Larry, skin in the game is money and only money. Lots of Americans – both native born and immigrants – have worked their ___ off and scrimped and saved so that they or their children can go to school. There’s no reason this tradition of deferred gratification cannot continue. Some might not finish their education or training until they are older, but with hard work and postponement of pleasure, it can be done.

            If you create another free path based on grades, we’ll just see grade inflation. The race baiters will argue it’s racist not to ensure kids get a B in every class. And the government will hire an army of administrators to suck up taxpayer money. The professional caring class is already too big.

            Let Bill Gates and the Ford Foundation offer any kid who maintains a C+ average in grade and high school a free college ride. It’s a poor investment for taxpayers.

          6. no grade inflation – it has to be based on SOL scores and SAT scores.

            we spend taxpayers money for kids going to 4yr -… why not 2yr?

            I pay taxes. I want the money to go to 2yr not 4yr.

            can we compromise?

            also -you seem to have the same problem with education that you do with health care.

            I’m looking to spend LESS money on charity and entitlements by providing the means for people to help themselves do those things that cost society less money in the longer run.

            educated kids don’t cost taxpayers a lifetime of entitlements.

            you should be in favor of things to reduce spending.

          7. TMT – no child should leave elementary school without being fully proficient in the core academic subjects – reading, writing, math and science.

            In order to achieve this goal – the schools have to take on the task on successfully educating kids – whose parents are not themselves well educated and/or in poverty – to recognize that not all kids have parents who are willing or able to assist in the education of the child and that it’s not the child’s fault anyhow. Each child should have a legitimate opportunity at receiving an education – and it’s our duty to do that and it’s also our responsibility to reduce the need for entitlements and to produce as many future taxpayers – and EDUCATED parents of future kids.

            So there is a two part – goal – 1. fairly provide an education to all kids not just the easiest to teach and 2. – incentivize the ids such that once they leave elementary school – that if they get good grades – they are guaranteed a slot in a 2yr college or a trade/vocation certificate school.

            NO grade inflation. the “grade” will be the SOLs or SAT or ACT or for that matter the Armed Forces Entrance Test – some standardized test that cannot be “inflated” by school officials.

            That’s the very best – REAL – economical development that Virginia could pursue – and it heartens me that it is McAuliffe’s strategy also.

            NOw we just have to convince folks like you that investment in education is not an increased cost – if we truly achieve the intent because we will end up with more kids growing up to be employed, taxpayers, and not needing entitlements.

            there are no guarantees ahead of time – there never are with ANY program including any effort by any Gov to bring new non-govt jobs here.

            It does not help Virginia anyhow to try to bring new jobs here if our workforce has large numbers of young who were never college bound to start with and now have inferior educations that disqualify them for even typical 21st century global jobs that companies have the choice where to locate – not only Virginia but other countries.

            We cannot sit where we are right now because if we do – we’re going to slowly fall further and further behind with more and more non-college folks becoming less and less able to compete for 21st century technical jobs.

            We have always thought the gold standard was college but it is no longer. there are actually more jobs available now for the RIGHT KIND of post K-12 and a lot of them are NOT 4-year college but instead 2yr and/or certificate jobs.

            but all of this goes back to elementary school, innocent kids who are capable of learning even if they have “bad” parents but they do need Title 1 type education – tailored for kids who are known by their poverty and parental education demographics to be at risk.

            we KNOW who these kids are and we KNOW how to educate them. We have schools right now in Va that are enormously successful at doing it. Unfortunately – they are few and far between as most schools in Va have basically targeted the easier-to-teach kids who themselves have well-educated parents and do not live in poverty.

            You can consider these at risk kids in some ways – the modern day equivalents of kids of farmers back when K-12 public education started in
            this country. The world has changed since then but we still have kids of under-educated parents (just like we did with our early farmers).

            where did these modern-day under-educated parents come from?

            They came from slaves and they came from people who lived in Appalachia and other places that did not institute public schools until later – leaving generations of folks who never received a good education and still went on to have kids and unable to help those kids.

            we still have some generations of people like this. We do not have generations of people who became educated and then refused to have their kids get educated.

            It’s a direct line in the families.. the parents were uneducated, their kids were under educated and it continued to today.

            Our schools though have gradually evolved to places that are designed to educate kids of educated parents and not kids of under-educated parents.

            we have to fix this if we are not going to end up with more and more people – unemployable and ending up on entitlements.

            this is our challenge. It’s really our duty. Denying that we should do this is in my view – just running away from realities that are not going to go away.

            If we don’t deal with these – we are essentially passing these problem onto the next generation of kids … we have to break the cycle.. it’s what advanced economies – OECD – do. And it’s specifically what 3rd world countries and failed nations fail to do.

  6. TMT – do you think there are situations where you put more money up front in anticipating of saving money downstream?

    Do you buy CF or LED lights or incandescents?

  7. re: ” have worked their ___ off and scrimped and saved so that they or their children can go to school.”

    really? then what are all these student loans for?

    would you allow TMT that some kids have rich parents or parents who have “scrimped” and others do not.. and what would you do for the hardworking folks who just could not save enough money?

    do we have to view this with partisan lens instead of ordinary people some of who are economically better off than others but the kids of both deserve a fair shot at a higher education?

    is that the opportunity – that we speak of that each kid is entitled to and when given it – we get a return on investment when they grow up to be a tax-paying person who does not need entitlements?

    it seems as if we do not consider ourselves as involved in the kids who do not have rich or conscientious parents. Doesn’t the kid deserve a chance regardless of his/her parents? Don’t the rest of us end up paying higher taxes when a child grows up into an adult he does not have enough education to get a job and pay taxes?

    somewhere in the middle of this – I would think we’d both want the same result – more taxpayers and less entitlements.

    How do we do that?

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