Augusta Free Press

Ralph Northam issues technology policy plan

Democratic Party gubernatorial nominee Ralph Northam has unveiled his policy plan to build and expand Virginia’s vibrant technology ecosystem to underpin high-growth emerging industries and position Virginia as a global technology leader.

As a doctor and a scientist, Northam knows the importance of technology to the future of the commonwealth. Virginia has a strong technology industry and a vast array of assets spanning from advanced materials to aerospace. In the technology sector, while special emphasis will be placed on emerging and high-growth markets, increased investment in foundational aspects of technology development will have a positive impact across all technology sectors.

“We have the opportunity here in Virginia to capitalize on our technology assets and transform our commonwealth into a leading player on the rapidly-growing technology stage,” said Dr. Ralph Northam. “As governor, I’m going to make sure we stay on the cutting edge, and make the investments needed to keep Virginia at the forefront of the 21st century workforce. We owe it to ourselves and to our economy to continue forging ahead into the future.”

Virginia is home to the technology corridor in Northern Virginia, multiple NASA sites, and emerging markets such as cybersecurity and unmanned aerial systems. Northam has been a long-time advocate of STEM-H education, and getting science and technology integrated into education at a young age.

These investment entailed in Northam’s plan will promote startups and entrepreneurship and work to foster a statewide ecosystem of access to capital and mentorships. Coupled with Ralph’s call for a zero BPOL and merchant’s capital tax for new startup small businesses in rural or economically distressed areas for the first two years, we will ignite innovation and entrepreneurship across the Commonwealth.

In order to retain, grow, and attract new technology companies in Virginia, a Northam Administration will:


Virginia: the Best State for Talent

We are in a global competition for talent, and by investing in education and workforce development, Virginia will become the best state in the nation for talent. This will help keep our students and workforce here in the state, as well as attract talent from across the country and the world.


Higher Education:



Establish Virginia as a leader in Smart Community Development


Building Technology Infrastructure


Cluster Focus

There are limited funds and resources with which a Governor can attract businesses. Governor Northam will work through the Governor’s Opportunity Fund, GO Virginia, and economic development stakeholders in the public and private sectors to grow and attract businesses that are part of a strategic plan to grow the economy in top priority areas. These areas all have a “spin-off” or “cluster” focus which leads to other economic opportunities:


Extend Virginia’s Leadership in Cyber Security

There are 76 million attacks on the Commonwealth of Virginia’s network each year. At the same time, there are currently 36,000 open cyber jobs in the state — the most in the nation, and with an average starting salary of $88,000. Growing our cyber security capabilities will not only help grow our economy, but it will keep us safe. A Northam administration will:


Become a Worldwide leader in Personalized Medicine


Big Data/Open Data/Data Analytics


Extend Virginia’s leadership in autonomous systems

Virginia has been recognized as having an outstanding “pro-autonomy” policy environment for autonomous systems, and we must maintain an “autonomy friendly” policy and regulatory environment for the testing, deployment, and adoption of autonomous technologies across all domains – air, land, and sea. A Northam administration will:


Support Early Stage Investments

Supporting early stage investments in high growth companies means keeping venture capital and investment money here in Virginia and not being sent to other states. There are a few key investment funds that have demonstrated important results for Virginia, and which a Northam administration will continue to support, including:

Learn more about Ralph’s technology policy plan here.