Comprehensive economic recovery plan to equitably rebuild from the pandemic
RICHMOND – Today, candidate for governor Senator Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) announced her Economic Recovery Plan at C’est Le Vin﹘a small, Black woman owned business in Richmond. McClellan highlighted how communities all across Virginia have been left to fall through the cracks of the Commonwealth’s economic development, especially women and Black and Brown Virginians, worsened by the COVID-19 crisis and the urgent need to center small businesses and workers as Virginia looks to move forwards from the pandemic.
McClellan detailed her plan to implement a strategy to build back a post-COVID economy that centers workers and small business owners that have suffered the brunt of economic disparities exacerbated by the pandemic with a commitment to investing in Virginia based companies and particularly prioritize stabilizing and growing Virginia’s small, women, and minority owned businesses. Any incentives for businesses moving to Virginia must pass a litmus test of what’s good for our communities, focusing funds on job creation and community investment under the plan. McClellan’s proposal would collaborate with the Biden-Harris Administration to implement their “Build Back Better” agenda, and implement policies to make Virginia the #1 state for both business and workers.
“Today, I am proposing a new plan to build back our economy equitably, putting workers and small businesses at the forefront so communities across the Commonwealth can revitalize and thrive,” McClellan said. “As we recover from the pandemic, we cannot retreat to the economy of the past that left workers and small businesses behind. As Governor, I will work with the Biden-Harris Administration to implement the “Build Back Better” agenda and make long-term progress in Virginia and directly address the unique challenges and inequities exposed by the COVID-19 crisis with investments in impacted communities and small, women, and minority-owned businesses.
“My administration will build upon the work I’ve done in the legislature to establish a paid family and medical leave program statewide, paid sick days, extending and modernizing unemployment insurance, expanding worker rights, including collective bargaining, and expediting the transition to $15 minimum wage. We must root out inequities in workplaces, industries, and communities across the Commonwealth so that every Virgininan has a fair opportunity to succeed in a post-COVID economy and that will be my top priority as governor”
Raised by a family of domestic workers and laborers, McClellan understands how the disparities that have existed for workers — especially Black, Brown, and women workers — for generations have hurt working communities across Virginia. Across the Commonwealth,, McClellan has seen firsthand how the inequities that have been exacerbated by the pandemic have taken a lasting toll on our economy and how a one-size-fits-all approach simply won’t work as the Commonwealth begins to rebuild.
Over the past 15 years, McClellan has been a legislative leader in the fight to increase worker protections, championing efforts to raise the minimum wage, expand unemployment insurance, and establish paid family and medical leave, and paid sick leave. McClellan’s record of fighting for extended worker protections includes passing measures the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, the Pregnant Worker Fairness Act, and the Virginia Values Act. McClellan also carried the Solar Freedom Act, unleashing to power of solar energy in Virginia, and the Virginia Clean Economy Act, which will bring 13,000 clean energy jobs to Virginia annually and helped our Commonwealth become a leader in a rapidly growing sector by passing the law that allowed small craft breweries to set up shop in larger breweries, opening the door to over 150 craft breweries across Virginia.
McClellan’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan will:
- Bolster innovation and technology to address accelerated market trends by:
- Implementing theBiden-Harris Administration Build Back Better Recovery plan
- Increasing funding to help small businesses, particularly minority and women-owned small businesses, access capital through increasing funding partnerships with entities like the Virginia Community Capital Bank
- Enabling small and micro-businesses to gain access to capital while receiving navigation tools and support for applying for loans, business plan development, financial management, strategic planning, and organizational development.
- Continuing to change laws and study the needed updates in tax structures that allow entrepreneurs to innovate and grow their businesses in a way that prepares them for the oncoming changes in the market trends
- Stabilize, support, and grow small, women, and minority (SWaM) owned businesses by:
- Expanding the Virginia Community Development Financial Institutions Fund to create long-term technical and crisis support to SWaM and micro-businesses in the Commonwealth and increasing the CDFI budget by $2.5 million per year for a period of five years to accommodate small businesses owners as they meet challenges during and after the pandemic’s end.
- Creating the COVID Long-Term Effects Small Business Loan to provide small businesses a low-interest, 30-year loan that allows for reinvestment in small business infrastructure.
- Prioritizing economic development plans that stabilize and grow Virginia’s small, women, and minority owned businesses, while also ensuring any businesses moving to Virginia pass a litmus test of what’s good for our communities, focusing funds on job creation and community investment.
- Setting up a state administered benefits system to offer paid family leave and paid sick days to remove the administrative burden of operating those programs off of the small business.
- Creating greater transparency and accountability with the Commonwealth’s Development Opportunity Fund
- Creating a Small Business Assistance and Youth Entrepreneurship Program
- Help workers and families by:
- Passing paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave
- Extending and modernizing unemployment insurance
- Expediting the transition to $15 minimum wage
- Allowing 500,000 Virginia gig workers access to unemployment benefits; removing barriers for collective bargaining, including for public employees
- Enacting universal child care by 2025 to help Virginia parents return to work and employ 80,000 more early childhood educators.
- Increasing housing stability by investing $108 million annually in the statewide rent relief program, establishing a statewide housing voucher system, and creating a new home ownership program specifically designed to assist historically disadvantaged communities to build intergenerational wealth for their children and grandchildren.
- Build a clean and modern economy by:
- Building on the success of the Virginia Clean Economy Act with further action to expand deployment of solar and wind technology and invest in clean vehicles
- Democratizing solar and wind energy.
- Investing in the training of the future workforce to create a the new clean energy economy
- Investing in strengthening Virginia’s agricultural industry and, growing the multi-modal transportation system through Virginia’s ports by working collaboratively with the Biden- Harris “Build Back Better Buy American Plan” to increase the speed of supply chains for Virginia goods
- Working to connect every corner of the Commonwealth by continuing efforts to develop high-speed rail infrastructure.
- Expanding broadband access to unserved and underserved areas investing a minimum of $50 million annually in the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative (VATI)
“Jenn McClellan’s economic plan puts Virginians first,” Del. Jeff Bourne (D-Richmond) said. “In my time in the General Assembly, I have witnessed firsthand how Jenn fights for workers’ rights and Small, Women, and Minority Owned businesses. This plan will put Virginia on the right track for economic recovery in the aftermath of the COVID-19 health crisis while leaving no one behind.”
“Sen. McClellan is the only candidate who has a vision for a post-COVID economy that centers women and workers with a strong legislative record to match,” said Alexsis Rodgers, State Director for Care in Action Virginia. “Her leadership passing the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, raising the minimum wage, and strengthening collective bargaining rights created generational change for Virginia workers when we needed it most. She understands our economy depends on the health, safety and well-being of all workers and will rewrite rules to keep people, especially women, in the workforce. ”