A historic representation of regionalism took place on Thursday, May 9th as the Hampton Roads Chamber hosted the first annual Local Elected Leaders Reception. The event brought together local elected leaders serving as Mayor, on City Councils and Boards of Supervisors from 17 different jurisdictions throughout the region. The reception was geared towards communication and networking for the attendees to discuss the importance of working together in the region to achieve common goals. Among the topics discussed were opportunities in growth of the economy and expanding business ventures. Norfolk Councilwoman Courtney Doyle said, “When we come together, we realize it benefits not only a single, but a whole. It multiplies and makes us exponentially stronger.”
Hampton Roads Chamber President and CEO Bryan Stephens, said the idea for a Local Leaders Reception came from the need to bring elected individuals together to get to know each other. Regionalism achieves many important goals including the promotion of public and private sector interaction. It also enhances collaborative efforts for future events and projects including the annual Inter-Regional Visit, a trip designed for business and community leaders to meet and discuss strategies. Stephens said, “This is about regionalism in order to drive economic prosperity in our region.”
As the Presenting Sponsor, President of State Government Affairs for Verizon, Jeff Merriman spoke on continuing to make Hampton Roads a pivotal location to drive business. Merriman said, “We are fortunate to work closely right now to keep Hampton Roads the best place to live, work, and do business in America.”
Each local elected leader in attendance demonstrated continued efforts to throttle Hampton Roads into the future of business collaboration and economic prosperity. Virginia Beach Councilman Aaron Rouse said, through regionalism he hopes to see the region work together to strengthen our economy and Coastal Virginia. “I hope to see recognition in supporting millennials and diversity and show that Hampton Roads is open for business.”
Throughout the evening similar comments could be heard from elected officials regarding working together to increase growth in the region. “I think it has taken us a while to realize that we are all interconnected. I think we have upcoming projects that will benefit Hampton Roads and recognize that the sky is the limit for our region,” said Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck.
Suffolk Councilman Lue Ward said, “More and more businesses working together would be a plus for the region.” Through the Local Elected Leaders Reception, the Hampton Roads Chamber confirmed the strength of the regional support and collaboration that Hampton Roads works tirelessly to achieve. With the support from local elected leaders and businesses, Hampton Roads will continue to lead with business and economic projects that situate the region for success. “Cooperation is key to bringing business into the area. Regionalism is the key to future growth in Hampton Roads,” said Chesapeake Councilman Robert Ike.
Thank you to our sponsors: Presenting Sponsor: Verizon, Host Sponsor: Harbor Club – Waterside District, Legislative Partner: Cox Communications, Gold Sponsor: Sentara, Silver Sponsor: Huntington Ingalls Industries, Bronze Sponsor: AT&T External and Legislative Affairs