Despite his record as a successful businessman, one of the most difficult problems democratic candidate for governor Terry McAuliffe faced in 2009, was that much of his entrepreneurship did not lead to actual job creation in Virginia. McAuliffe spent much of the final days of his primary attempting to put his business record into context and building a case as to how that experience would lead to jobs when he was governor.
Fast forward to December of 2012. McAuliffe has spent the last four years meeting with every possible democrat that would have him as well building new companies designed specifically to tout his record as a job creator.
In 2009, McAuliffe was forced to answer questions about his path to multi-millions. While McAuliffe's companies employed thousands, not many of them were here in Virginia. Since 2009 McAuliffe has started two companies, both based on central tenant of his '09 campaign about a path to prosperity to through green technology. He bought a paper plant in Isle of Wight County and the City of Franklin, VA that had been shut down and is in the process of turning it into a wood pellet factory that will sell the bio-fuel product to companies around the world. He also bought a green energy car in China and moved it's manufacturing operation to the U.S.
But while both show McAuliffe putting his own money, and reputation behind his campaign rhetoric, it is not a perfect situation for the democratic candidate. Primarily because of where his GreenTech Automotive set up shop: Horn Lake, MS.
"Obviously Virginia was my first choice," said McAuliffe today during a tour of the Corrugated Box Building in Downtown Richmond.
McAuliffe said when he was looking for places to open his manufacturing plant, which will eventually employ up one thousand people, he made a pitch to Virginia's Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), but was turned down.
"VEDP decided they didn't want to bid on it," he said.
That bid, McAuliffe refers to, is a package of tax and development incentives that states offer companies who agree to create a certain number of jobs. McAuliffe argues that when it comes to manufacturing, Virginia just doesn't make the same effort other southern states do.
"I think Alabama South Carolina, Mississippi, they have an aggressive effort to bring manufacturing in," McAuliffe said. Despite his political ambition, the businessman still went in search of the best deal, and it simply wasn't in Virginia.
It is an environment he claims he would change if he becomes governor.
"Virginia has made a decision not to go after those manufacturing facilities," McAuliffe said. "I've always argued that we should go after them."
An extended clip of McAuliffe's remarks Wednesday in Richmond can be found below:
Tonight at 11 on NBC12 I will have more on the state of the race for governor, especially after the news that McAuliffe will not face any competition for the democratic nomination.
His full release from Wednesday's event can be found after the jump.
McAuliffe Gathers Ideas From Richmond Businesses, Opens Campaign CommitteeVirginia businessman Terry McAuliffe toured the Corrugated Box Building in Richmond today to hear from local entrepreneurs about their ideas to grow the economy and help small businesses thrive across Virginia. The building houses several small businesses and serves as a model for how Virginian cities can refurbish old infrastructure to help create environments for start-ups to grow and do business.
Today, McAuliffe also spoke to the Virginia Credit Union League meeting, met with the Virginia Alternative and Renewable Energy Association meeting, and will meet with and speak to students at William & Mary Business School this evening.
McAuliffe’s top priority as Governor will be to use his business experience to find mainstream solutions to encourage economic growth in Virginia and make the Commonwealth more attractive to businesses.
“As I’ve spent my career creating jobs and growing businesses, one thing I’ve learned is that our leaders often say too much and listen too little. Hearing from entrepreneurs today about what they need from their Governor is a critical step toward developing my mainstream agenda to grow Virginia’s economy and create more good paying jobs. As Governor my top priority will be to ensure Virginia is the best place in the country to do business by bringing people together for mainstream solutions,” said McAuliffe.
"The Corrugated Box Building provides a place for start-ups and small businesses to thrive and foster innovation. We need the next Governor to understand what businesses need to grow and succeed, ideally replicating some of the success we've seen here," said Scott Ukrop, Co-Developer Corrugated Box Building and Principal of 3north.
"As the owner of two start-ups I know how tough it is to start and grow a small business. For my businesses to continue to be competitive in the technology space we need both parties working together to build our talent pipeline. This of course involves our academic institutions, but also taking a closer look at other programs, like apprenticeships. I think there are some creative solutions for bringing our technical jobs back onshore," said Kim Mahan CEO, Maxx Potential and IntelliGraph.
McAuliffe’s campaign for Governor also filed paperwork to create the Terry McAuliffe for Governor Committee.
Over the past four years, McAuliffe has traveled throughout Virginia, participating in over 2,400 meetings and events.