Virginia’s governor, Terry McAuliffe (D) held his second State of the Commonwealth address earlier tonight at the capitol building in Richmond, Va.
“Tonight I am here to tell you that the state of our Commonwealth is strong, and that by working together for the next 60 days we can make it even stronger,” McAuliffe said in a room filled with state senators, delegates, and honorary guests.
A focal point, of no surprise, was education and how he hopes to handle it coming into the prime of his term.
He said the high school education system is out of date. “You cannot build an economy for 2050 with a 1950s approach to education,” he said. “We will put greater emphasis on hands-on learning, internships, early college courses and industry credentials, rather than classroom seat-time.”
“I believe that education is a prime example of the opportunity that we have this session to work together to strengthen our economy and make our state a better place to live. We all agree that is what Virginians sent us here to do.”
Last year, an additional 10 percent of public schools were fully accredited. “But now is not the time to let up.”
To date under the governor’s lead, the state has created over 88,000 new jobs, provided over 1,500 veterans with a home, expanded free lunch programs in state schools, and allotted some 37,000 individuals workforce credentials.
By 2018, the state hopes to help 20,000 veterans find jobs and keep those jobs. “The [Veteran’s Association] is not doing its job for the veterans and if the federal government isn’t going to do it, we’re going to here in Virginia.”
The governor also talked about trade, noting his recent multi-day trip to Cuba.
“As we ship Virginia products to trade partners all over the globe, we are also making great progress in strengthening our energy economy and diversifying our fuel mix here at home.”
Technology was a big focal point of the night as well. Said McAullife, ” To all the parents watching tonight, we have 17,000 cyber jobs open with an average starting pay of $88,000.”
“Let us use these 60 days to strengthen our investment in education, further reform our Standards of Learning and make every single Virginia classroom a place where students are being prepared to lead in the 21st century,” the governor said to applause.