After the Virginia House Democratic Caucus published its legislative priorities for the August special session of the General Assembly, Loudoun Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tony Howard wrote a letter to legislators applauding the focus on fighting systemic racism but concerned that small businesses and nonprofits are not mentioned.
The press release focuses on priorities for COVID-19 relief, criminal justice reform, and combating racism. Howard said he and the Chamber’s 1,200 members “applaud the focus on correcting those policies and procedures that are perpetuating the scourge of systemic racism and injustice in Virginia, a cause the Loudoun Chamber strongly supports.”
But, he said, “I would like to address the twin priorities that this press release inexplicably, and hopefully unintentionally, avoids: jobs and our Virginia economy.”
“Today, Virginia’s unemployment rate stands more than three times greater than it was just five months ago,” Howard wrote. “More than 300,000 fewer Virginians are working today, compared to the same time last year. Many small businesses and local nonprofits have endured only by burning through their cash reserves. While Wall Street may be on a rebound, many of our Main Streets are still suffering.”
He asked lawmakers to devote time in this session to “empowering the private sector to work with our government partners to help rebuild our economy and to reduce the economic suffering felt by so many.”
State legislators will be back in Richmond for the special session Aug. 18.