Governor Terry McAuliffe released the following statement announcing the appointment of Dr. Basil I. Gooden as the next Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry in Virginia, succeeding current Secretary Todd Haymore, who will become Secretary of Commerce and Trade in September:
“I am excited to bring a leader with Dr. Gooden’s experience and vision into my cabinet as our next Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry. Dr. Gooden has been involved in Virginia’s agriculture industry his whole life, as he grew up raising Black Angus beef on his family’s cattle farm in Buckingham County. Agriculture and forestry are two of Virginia’s largest and most important industries, and Dr. Gooden is ready to build on our administration’s success in growing them under the leadership of Secretary Haymore.
Governor Terry McAuliffe has announced a new statewide initiative to better understand where Virginia has the largest gaps in broadband coverage. The Governor announced the initiative at a ceremony to sign House Bill 912, which clarifies and improves the process for installing communications infrastructure, benefiting rural communities. The new initiative, RUOnlineVA, provides a platform for Virginia residents and businesses to notify the Commonwealth whether or not they have access to broadband Internet connections.
RUOnlineVA is a key component of the Governor’s overall strategy to increase connectivity throughout the Commonwealth. House Bill 912 makes it easier to put telecommunications infrastructure in the rights-of-way for state-maintained roads. In addition to these components, the Governor’s budget includes $2.5 million for the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative, which provides funding for infrastructure expansion in unserved areas of the Commonwealth.