Gov. McAullife offers Virginia as new home for companies scorn by IN’s ‘religious freedom’ law
In an open letter sent to Indiana businesses, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe offered the Commonwealth as a new home if they fear a new state law could harm their business.
“… There is another quality that sets our Commonwealth apart from some other states,” reads the letter sent out last week after IN Gov. Pence signed a controversial “religious freedom” law. “In Virginia, we do not discriminate against our friends and neighbors, particularly those who are supporting local businesses and generating economic activity.”
McAuliffe went on to praise Virginia’s low taxes, and the state’s “open, inclusive and thriving business environment.”
“So if recent events have led you to reevaluate your business relationship with your current home state, I hope you will visit YesVirginia.org and contact me personally about the opportunities our Commonwealth can offer,” McAuliffe wrote. “Thousands of firms are benefiting from our strategic location, our unparalleled quality of life, our mild winters and our open and inclusive business environment. Come join them.”
Companies, organizations, musical acts, and even states have announced steps to disconnect themselves from Indiana after Gov. Mike Pence signed the a new “religious freedom law” which many believe allows for discrimination against LGBTQs.
Gov. McAuliffe has aligned himself with LGBTQ issues since his first day office, when he signed an executive order protecting state employees from discrimination against sexual orientation. He’s since spoke at 2014 Virginia Pride and became the first standing Virginia Governor to proclaim June LGBT Pride month.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel also penned a letter offering his city as an alternative for those worried about discrimination.
Here’s a copy of the text form McAuliffe’s letter:
A Letter to Indiana Businesses: Virginia is Open and Welcoming to Everyone
Dear Indiana Business Owners:
As the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, one of my top responsibilities is to work every single day to grow and attract new jobs and businesses to our state.
In light of that responsibility and recent events in Indiana, I would like to welcome you to take advantage of Virginia’s open, inclusive and thriving business environment.
As the home to 35 Fortune 1000 companies and 23 firms with annual sales of at least $5 billion, Virginia is known the world over as a premier business location. Our low taxes, business-friendly regulations and world-class education and transportation systems offer job creators the ideal environment to locate and grow enterprises of all types.
Virginia is home to Dulles International Airport; the deepest seaport on the East Coast; the Pentagon; the Central Intelligence Agency; the largest naval base in the world; and several world-class universities and research institutions, including the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech.
As impressive and beneficial as those assets are to the innovators, entrepreneurs and families who call Virginia home, there is another quality that sets our Commonwealth apart from some other states: In Virginia, we do not discriminate against our friends and neighbors, particularly those who are supporting local businesses and generating economic activity.
I spend most of my days calling around the globe seeking to bring new businesses here, and my message is simple: If you are going to create jobs, I want you in Virginia.
In my first act after taking the oath of office, I signed Executive Order Number 1, protecting Virginia state employees from discrimination based on race, gender, religion and sexual orientation. That was an important message to send to our employees, but also to the more than 90% of Fortune 500 Companies who maintain similar policies. If you are a company that values a person’s contribution to the team, to society and to our economy above all else, I want you to know that Virginia shares your values. And we welcome your business.
So if recent events have led you to reevaluate your business relationship with your current home state, I hope you will visitYesVirginia.org and contact me personally about the opportunities our Commonwealth can offer. Thousands of firms are benefiting from our strategic location, our unparalleled quality of life, our mild winters and our open and inclusive business environment. Come join them.
“We hope you will enjoy your visit to Virginia.”September 26, 2016
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