From Your Prince William Chamber 
October 2015

Chamber Advocate,

See what the Chamber has been up to over the past few weeks and what has been happening in the community as this Fall and leading up to Election Day.  From policy to politics there is plenty to choose from when trying to figure out how to be more involved with our advocacy efforts. 

Please remember to join the Policy Committee for its October meeting.  The meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 20 at 9:30am in the Manassas Chamber office.
If you have any questions about legislation or are just generally interested in what we are working on at the Chamber, please get in touch with me by sending an email to [email protected].  I am happy to discuss!   

Strong economic forecast hampered by bad Prince William traffic

The Prince William Chamber hosted leaders from Prince William County and the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park at 'The State of Prince William' to discuss their perspectives of the region.  

Uriah Kiser, Potomac Local
Prince William leaders said the future of the region is ripe for economic growth, and that is also one that will continue to be hampered by traffic congestion.

Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman At-large Corey Stewart, Manassas Mayor Hal Parrish III, and Manassas Park Mayor Frank Jones took the stage at the annual "State of Prince William" luncheon in Manassas. The event is organized by the Prince William Chamber of Commerce.

Prince William Today publisher Bruce Potter asked questions of the three men covering the topics of economic development, education, and improving transportation infrastructure.

Parrish said Manassas cut back on economic development efforts during the 2008 recession. In recent years, the city hired Economic Development Director Patrick Small, who developed a new logo and branding for the city: "Historic Heart, Modern Beat."
"We, like other localities did during the recession, cut some services that had to be cut." said Parrish, who added 21,000 people commute to the city each day, while the number of those who leave the city for work has fallen to about 14,000.

It remains a tough go for commuters on Route 28 between Manassas Park and Interstate 66. Jones said thousands of commuters sit in jammed traffic on the road that bridges Prince William and Fairfax counties.

A state plan to widen I-66 won't help unless bridges that cross the Bull Run River are widened, said Jones.

"66 can be widened large enough to put a 747, I don't care, as long we sit behind the Bull Run bridges, we're not going to be able to get any better in improving quality of life and giving hours of life back to people," said Jones.

Stewart painted a picture of economic prosperity for Prince William County, which has seen its population rise to nearly 450,000 residents. Funding for the county school division - the 38th largest in the U.S. - has grown by $81 million over the past four years, said Stewart.

Many of the students who graduate from Prince William County Public Schools return home to find work and start businesses, said Stewart.

"The product of our school system has beocome the number one driver of ecomic development...We're on the edge of a gilded age in Prince William County, and I'm not kidding, this is one hell of a community. If you didn't hear abotu Prince William County 20 years ago, you're going to hear about us in the next 20 years," said Stewart.

S tewart points to new biotech and technology businesses opening at  Innovation Park .
Stewart, a Republican, has served as on the Board of Supervisors since 2006 and is seeking reelection, running against Democrat Rick Smith.

Parrish, a Republican, has served as Manassas Mayor since 2008 and is seeking to replace Virginia State Senator Charles Colgan, who is retiring this year. Democrats are hoping to hold the seat and support Jeremy McPike for the position.

Voters will head to the polls November 3.

Prince William Chamber Hosts Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Debate

On Thursday, October 1, the Prince William Chamber, in partnership with Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC), welcomed candidates Corey Stewart (R) and Rick Smith (D) to the NVCC Manassas campus.

The Chamber worked with NVCC and its student body, as well as the Prince William community to develop questions for the two candidates.  Mr. Stewart and Mr. Smith fielded questions on a variety of topics including economic development, transportation, land use, and education. 

Each candidate presented their own vision for the future of Prince William County agreeing on some issues but presenting a stark contrast on others.

Incumbent Chairman Corey Stewart, stuck to his record, highlighting the County's investments in transportation infrastructure and efforts to cut business taxes.  Challenger Rick Smith, stressed the importance of investing in education and attracting more jobs to Prince William County.

Co-sponsors for the event were NOVEC, the Prince William Education Association, and the Prince William Association of Realtors.  

For more coverage of the event, please see the links below. 


Prince William Chamber Political Action Committee Releases Endorsements

For information about PAC endorsements and how to be involved with the group, please contact Chairman Brian Gordon at [email protected].

The Prince William Chamber Political Action Committee, the political arm of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce, announced its endorsements of candidates for the Virginia General Assembly and Board of County Supervisors. 
Candidate endorsements were determined through a questionnaire and interview process and an evaluation and comparative analysis of the policy platforms and records of each individual as they related to that of the region's business community. 

28th Senate District - Richard Stuart
29th Senate District - Hal Parrish
39th Senate District - George Barker
2nd House District - Mark Dudenhefer
31st House District - Scott Lingamfelter
40th House District - Tim Hugo
50th House District - Jackson Miller
51st House District - Rich Anderson
52nd House District - Luke Torian
87th House District - John Bell

Chairman - Corey Stewart
Potomac District - Maureen Caddigan
Coles District - Martin Nohe
Neabsco District - John Jenkins
Occoquan District - Earnie Porta
Woodbridge District - Frank Principi 

"Prince William County is blessed to have so many strong candidates, willing to dedicate their time and service to elected office," said Brian Gordon, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Apartment and Office Building Association (AOBA) of Metropolitan Washington, and the Chairman of the Prince William Chamber PAC.  "The candidates endorsed by the Chamber PAC demonstrated a thorough knowledge of the region's economic challenges and put forward substantive plans and proposals for improving our local business climate."
About the Prince William Chamber Political Action Committee:
The Prince William Chamber PAC was established in 2014 by members of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce.  The PAC promotes and facilitates the accumulation of voluntary contributions from members of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce and others. Contributions are used primarily in support of issues and candidates for local and state offices who have taken positions consistent with the Chamber's public policy positions regarding the private enterprise system.

Upcoming Elections
Do you know where to vote?

As campaign season draws to a conclusion on Tuesday, November 3, do you know where you are voting? Who you are voting for?  Since we have elections every year in Virginia and offices whose districts overlap all three localities, what we are voting for can be confusing.  If you are unsure of which elections are occurring this year and who is running for office please click  here  for more information. Both state and local candidates are on the ballot this November. 

To check your registration, please click here   to access the Virginia State Board of Elections website. 

If you are not registered to vote please do so! Click here to register online.   

Get Involved: October 20

Join Our Next Policy Committee Meeting

The next policy committee meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 20 at 9:30am at the Prince William Chamber of Commerce Headquarters.  The committee typically meets for an hour.

As discussed during our September meeting, we will be taking an in-depth look at Prince William County's permitting process.  We will be joined by the Director of Development Services, Wade Hugh.  He will discuss the process and compare how the County compares to surrounding localities.

We will also form our working groups to develop the 2016 policy priorities. 
As a reminder, "Membership Time" is held at the beginning of every policy committee meeting.  We are continuing to ask that members help identify areas where we can work together and initiate change on various levels of government.  If you are interested in participating please come prepared to address your issue and we will do our best to assist!

I hope you can join us for what is sure to be a productive meeting. 


   Director, Government Relations 


Special thanks to Advocacy Vision Partner