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Gov. McDonnell lunches with Spielberg, travels overseas

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) – Governor Bob McDonnell left Virginia Wednesday on a 16-day national and international trade mission in an effort to bring more jobs to the Commonwealth.

As part of his journey Governor McDonnell will travel to California for two days at a cost of $82,521.  From the West Coast he is scheduled to travel to China and Japan. That leg of the trip costs an additional $249,438.

“Watchdogs are going to be looking at this very carefully they are going to be saying perhaps the expenses are too high,” CBS 6 Political Analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth said.  “At the end of the day however, I really do think it’s very important for Virginia to participate in the global economy.”

According to the governor’s office, the governor will stop in California to market Virginia to companies looking to expand across the United States. Recently, Forbes magazine ranked Virginia as one of two best states in the nation for business.

In Asia, the governor will meet with prospective investors and importers.

“In a competitive global economy it is essential to meet with businesses across the United States and around the world to tell them why they should invest in Virginia,” the governor said in a statement. “In this market, it is mandatory that we continue to expand the presence of international companies in the Commonwealth, as well as explore new export opportunities. That is how we will continue to create good jobs for the citizens of Virginia.

“In particular Virginia agricultural products are doing well,”  Holsworth said.  “We have seen a real expansion of exports in that area and it’s not surprising again the governor would be pointing to the successes he has had here as rationale for this trip as well.”

The governor’s office cited the success of similar trade missions in the recent past, including an increase in Virginia soybean and grain shipments to China.

“In particular Virginia agricultural product are doing well,”  Holsworth said.  “We have seen a real expansion in that area and it’s not surprising again the governor would be pointing to the successes he has had here as rationale for this trip.”

Governor McDonnell made two trade mission trips in 2010, seven in 2011 and four last year. According to his office, those trips have resulted in 1,397 new Virginia jobs and $557,360,000 in capital investments.

While in California, the governor planned to met filmmaker Steven Spielberg for lunch. Spielberg recently filmed his Academy Award winning movie ‘Lincoln’ at locations in in Richmond and Petersburg.


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