As co-chair of the Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative Steering Committee, I am pleased that Governor McAuliffe included $500,000 in funding for this important program in the 2016-2018 state budget. I am writing to ask for your help in making certain that this funding remains in the budget as it begins its journey through the legislative process.
As a former state Senator and Lieutenant Governor, I can assure you that being included in the introduced budget is no guarantee of being included in the final budget. There will be countless twists and turns along the way. You, our RVHI friends and supporters, hold the power to help us retain that funding in the budget and we need your help.
There is a lot of cynicism surrounding our political and governing processes, and I understand why. The truth, however, is that our elected officials in the General Assembly are good, honest people doing their best to do the people’s work. But they have a lot of important work to do every year, and they rely on feedback from folks like you to help them prioritize what is important.
Please take a moment and contact your state Delegate and Senator. Tell them how important the RVHI is and how critical this state support is to helping this important public-private partnership succeed. Every phone call, every email, every letter will help us accomplish our goals.
Remember, the two primary goals of the Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative are as simple to understand as they are important to achieve:
•Cut in half the number of residents living within the Rural Horseshoe who lack a high school diploma or its equivalent, from nearly 20 percent to 10 percent.
•Double the percentage of rural residents who earn an associate degree or other college certification from 26 percent to 52 percent.
As a native of Southwest Virginia’s coal country, I want to see every Virginian have access to the opportunities that make our commonwealth such a special place. I want to every individual have the chance to reach his or her God-given potential. And I want to see families have access to the jobs and careers that match their work ethic and dreams.
That’s why I’m working with so many smart and talented people, like you, to make the goals of the RVHI a reality. And that’s why I’m asking you to share how important this effort is with the good people you’ve sent to Richmond to represent you. Please don’t wait. The sooner lawmakers hear from you, the better.
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