Governor McAuliffe Announces $6.42 Million in Land Conservation Grants

Governor Elect Terry McAuliffeGovernor Terry McAuliffe today announced 23 Virginia Land Conservation Foundation (VLCF) grants, totaling $6.42 million, to support projects that will help shield 7,037 acres of at-risk land from development.

VLCF grants are used by private land trusts, local governments and state agencies to protect and acquire significant lands in the following categories: farmland, forestry, historic resources, natural areas, and parks and open space.

“These grant recipients include a great cross-section of important conservation opportunities, and I am very pleased with the choices made by the VLCF board,” said Governor McAuliffe. “The projects selected protect Virginia’s biodiversity, history and way of life while enhancing public access to our natural resources. We will continue to support innovative land conservation efforts to ensure that Virginia’s greenspace remains healthy and vibrant for future generations.”

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Basil I. Gooden, Ph.D. Named Secretary of Agriculture

BasilGovernor 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.
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Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore to Become the Next Secretary of Commerce and Trade in Virginia

Governor Terry McAuliffe has released the following statement announcing that Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore will become the next Secretary of Commerce and Trade in Virginia, succeeding Secretary Maurice Jones as he assumes Chief Executive Officer of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation in September:


“As Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, Todd Haymore has been instrumental in making those key industries innovative and robust sectors of the new Virginia economy. Todd brings the right combination of economic development experience, global trade understanding, and administrative expertise to build on the outstanding success Secretary Maurice Jones has achieved as a member of my cabinet.

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Statewide Initiative to Map Broadband Access in Virginia

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.

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