Workforce Credentials through Virginia’s Community College System
(Feb 2016) As a member of the House of Delegates, I successfully patroned legislation to develop apprenticeships, expand training programs, and encourage collaboration between employers and educators. Yet, as I spend more time working with the business communities across the Commonwealth, it’s abundantly clear that the need for qualified workers to fill a wide range of high paying careers continues to grow. In most cases, these opportunities do not require a four-year degree. In fact, the careers that come with many of these one and two year credentials and/or associate’s degrees promise greater pay and upward mobility than many of today’s four-year graduates will ever see.
The Virginia Community College System seeks to develop a Workforce Credential’s Program throughout its network of 23 colleges. This 4-part program will build training programs based on actual employment opportunities in technology, health care, and other industries. It will then…more
To read my Op-Ed on this subject click here
A Legacy Defining Decision
The Iran accord now before the U.S. Senate must be of immediate concern to every citizen – regardless of political leaning. I can think of no single issue or vote before our representatives that has a greater potential to impact the safety and security of our children. Please take the time to read this, share it, and then act early this week.
In the last few weeks, I have read countless reports, listened to ‘expert’ interviews, & read comments from Heads of State and from our own military leaders on the “Iran Nuclear Deal”. Most importantly, I have read every word in the proposed accord. You can too by clicking here. Since 1979, the U.S. and most of the civilized world have wrangled with the threat of a nuclear Iran. Each year this terrorist proliferating nation has grown closer to obtaining ‘the bomb’ while the rhetoric of its leaders has grown more aggressive. Due only to the limitations placed on its acquisition of key materials…click here to read the entire message
Watson Op-Ed: College & Careers, A letter to students and parents
(Published in Roanoke Times – May 2015)
Based on recent meetings with a handful of manufacturers & service organizations it’s clear that a ‘guidance gap’ still exists in today’s education system. Too many students incur substantial debt at 4-year universities, earning a degree that offers little discernible value in today’s job market, while employers are struggling to fill positions that require one of many marketable skills. While Virginia offers one of the best university systems in the nation and several majors do generate substantial return on investment, counselors often push students to 4-year institutions without due consideration of the job market. On Sunday May 17th, the Roanoke Times published my op-ed on the subject of College & Career choices. It is intended to encourage students to consider some of the great alternatives to a 4-year university. But note, it does not suggest that everyone go to a community college; after all ‘not everyone is cut out for a marketable skill’. You can see the article by clicking here or on the news section of my website by clicking here.
My Plans for 2015 and beyond
(Press Release, 2/17/2015) – On Tuesday I sent a message to subscribers of my newsletter regarding my plans during the 2015 election cycle. You can read the entire text of my message by clicking here. My announcement was covered by the Virginia Gazette and the Daily Press, you can view their coverage by clicking here.
The 2015 Session is Underway
(Virginia General Assembly, Richmond, 1/14/15) – The 2015 General Assembly’s session is now underway. I look forward to working with legislators, including my Business Development Caucus colleagues, in promoting bills that will contribute to economic growth in Virginia. In addition, my new role on the Higher Education Advisory Committee for the House Committee on Education allows me the opportunity to influence other legislative initiates, particularly relating to the cost of attending Virginia’s institutions of higher education. I will publish the occasional newsletter as the session progresses and provide updates to some of the initiatives that I’m working on and may be important to you. If you’re not already receiving my newsletter you can sign up now by clicking here.
Watson appointed to General Assembly Advisory Committee on Higher Ed
(Virginia General Assembly, Richmond, 11/20/14) – The General Assembly’s House Committee on Education has appointed former Delegate Mike Watson to its Advisory Committee on Higher Education. The committee’s purpose is to advise and provide counsel to the Education Committee Chairman and its members on issues related to higher education in the Commonwealth. It joins a parallel K-12 focused group as new committees introduced this year to bring…Read more here
Business Development Caucus summer town hall events complete. Legislation underway.
The General Assembly’s Business Development Caucus (BDC) has completed its 2014 summer series of business town hall meetings and recently held it’s legislative review summit at the Capitol. Read more here.
Business Development Caucus to hold Yorktown Business Town Hall on 8/28
The General Assembly’s Business Development Caucus (BDC) will hold one of its five 2014 Business Town Hall meetings in Yorktown on August 28, 2014. This is the third year of town hall meetings sponsored by the BDC where Virginia’s business owners and leaders can come to share their ideas with BDC member legislators from across the Commonwealth. In the two prior sessions, BDC members have introduced 29 pieces of legislation derived from these meetings with 15 of them becoming law. “It has been our goal to give employers a voice in Richmond; to share their ideas as job creators and help us craft pro-growth legislation”, said Mike Watson, former 93rd District Delegate and BDC founding member. Today Watson serves as Coordinator of the Small Business Subcommittee at the Virginia Chamber of Commerce.
The event will be held from 11:30 – 1:30 at the Freight Shed on Riverwalk Landing in Historic Yorktown. During the meeting, the BDC will ask two questions: 1. What existing Virginia law or regulation deters business growth in your business, industry or region? and, 2. What new Legislative Action would facilitate growth in your business, industry or region?
If you are a business leader in the region and would like to answer those questions, you’re invited to join us. Regiser today at: https://bdc2014-yorktown.eventbrite.com Password: Jobs Space is limited. Click here for more details.
Virginia Chamber names Watson Coordinator of Small Business Subcommittee
RICHMOND, VA (July 7, 2014)—The Virginia Chamber of Commerce has named Mike Watson Coordinator of the Small Business Subcommittee under the Chamber’s Business Climate Industry Council. To read the July 8th article in the Virginia Gazette click here.
Watson op-ed 7/14/14: When we lose focus, we lose ground
July 14, 2014: In the same week we learned the nation’s GDP had shrunk by 2.9 percent, Virginia fell to eighth place in CNBC’s ranking of the best states to do business. Considering we were first just 3 years ago, we’ve rapidly headed in the wrong direction. In fact, it’s the first time we’ve ever been outside the top five…more
Watson op-ed 6/1/14: Despite the news, it’s still the economy
June 1, 2014: Notice how the majority of political news is focused on health care, immigration, social justice, and Medicaid? Although many of the challenges with each can be improved through a prospering economy, the administration doesn’t want to focus on jobs. Sure they talk about it, but talk is cheap. Perhaps they want to emphasize these other issues to keep their based fired up because when the topic turns to jobs, they lose. Republicans create jobs and opportunity, while the Obama / McAuliffe team creates entitlements and dependency. Below is a link to my op-ed that addresses the greatest threat to American culture…more
BDC founders tout successful pro-jobs legislation, set summer agenda
April 12, 2014: The creators of the Virginia General Assembly’s first ever Business Development Caucus held their annual BDC Founders Conference in Richmond this week to evaluate 2014 achievements and develop strategy going forward. Delegates Chris Head (R-Botetourt), David Ramadan (R-Loudoun), Michael Webert (R-Fauquier), and former Delegate Mike Watson (R-James City), kicked off their meeting in the General Assembly Office building Tuesday evening by reviewing the success of several BDC initiatives introduced this year. “We had another very successful year for addressing issues that were brought to us by Virginia businesses”, said BDC Chairman Delegate Head. “We set out to give employers a direct voice in the legislative process and its rewarding when we can deliver results”…more
Op-Ed: A Compromise to Consider
April 9, 2014: The Virginia Gazette published my op-ed in its April 9th edition addressing the budget stalemate. In short, the Governor is more interested in expanding Obamacare than developing practical solutions to provide access to quality and affordable healthcare for those in need. There are a host of ideas and potential solutions to consider but they’ll take focus, dedication, and honest discussion to develop an economically sound strategy. On the contrary, the Governor proposes and all-or-nothing approach. Either expand Medicaid as spelled out in Obamacare or there will be no budget, no exceptions. This is not way to lead. To read my op-ed, click here.
Mike hosts radio segment on WMBG AM 740 – Williamsburg’s Radio Station
On January 10th, former Delegate Mike Watson launched a new radio segment on WMBG AM 740 titled “Light & Liberty”. The 10-minute segment will air every Friday at 4:00 just after the AP News throughout Virginia’s 2014 Legislative Session. This new segment will cover Virginia’s unique legislative process including an insiders view on what happens behind the scenes. In addition, Mike will cover details and background of key legislative initiatives that are specifically important to Hampton Roads and the Commonwealth in general. “This segment is intended for those that want to know more about the process in Richmond and those who want to know more about these bills than newspaper headlines and campaign rhetoric”, said the former Delegate, “I believe that the more citizens know about their government, the better chance we have to remain a free people.” To hear the segment live, tune in to WMBG on AM 740 Friday’s at 4:00. Listening area includes Williamsburg, James City, Newport News, York, New Kent, Charles City, Gloucester, Isle of Wight & more. Missed the 4:00 airing, visit Soundcloud – Del. Mike Watson to hear all segments aired to date. ““Light and liberty go together.” —Thomas Jefferson to Tench Coxe, 1795
Business Development Caucus plans pro-growth bills in 2014 General Assembly Session
The Business Development Caucus will promote a number of pro-growth legislative initiatives in the upcoming session of Virginia’s General Assembly. Among them will be bills to address state agency competition with the private sector, improving the local government permitting process, addressing inconsistencies in BPOL business classifications, among others. Several bills have been submitted for draft and final determination on carrying each will be made in the January BDC caucus meeting. Once selected, interested parties can track progress at www.BDCVA.org
Nov. 2, 2013: The Hampton Roads Black Caucus has endorsed Del. Mike Watson for reelection to the House of Delegates, “the HRBC endorses candidates who support the ideas, values, and mission of the black community through economic, education, and political initiatives.”
Oct. 26, 2013: The Virginia Gazette has endorsed Del. Mike Watson for reelection to the House of Delegates, “the Gazette’s decision in this race is to endorse the candidate who made great strides in his freshman session of the General Assembly. That candidate is Mike Watson.”. “”One of us talks about creating jobs and one of us has done it.” – Mike Watson. “That’s a point we believe makes Watson worthy of a second term in Richmond.”.
Oct. 23, 2013: The Daily Press has endorsed Del. Mike Watson for reelection to the House of Delegates, “Del. Watson is one of our most promising young delegates”. “His accomplishments are the direct result of hard work and his ability to build alliances across party lines – a sorely needed skillset among our legislators”.
Oct. 2, 2013: “The Northern Virginia Technology Council‘s TechPAC is pleased to endorse Delegate Mike Watson for re-election to the House of Delegates. Mike is a strong supporter of policies and investments that grow technology business across the state, promote job creation, and enhances Virginia’s status as a global technology center” –Dendy Young, TechPAC Chairman
Watson endorsed by business community, local press, & many others
Mike has received a number of endorsements for reelection from various pro-business advocates and both of our district papers. In fact, whenever he and his opponent have been considered for the endorsement of a pro-business organization or the press, Mike has earned that endorsement every time, without exception. Some of these include:
in addition, Mike has earned:
Del. Watson Legislative Update 10/1/13
Delegate Mike Watson published a legislative update on 10/1/13 addressing some of the initiatives he’s working on post-session and in preparation of the 2014 session. To subscribe, enter your email address in the top right corner of this web page. Click here to view the newsletter.
Business Development Caucus holds event in Williamsburg
The Business Development Caucus of Virginia’s General Assembly held its third of six 2013 scheduled regional business town hall meetings Williamsburg on August 23rd, drawing over 50 participants from the region and legislators from across the Commonwealth. The BDC is the first ever bipartisan caucus dedicated to improving the business climate in Virginia, promoting job and economic growth. It was founded by freshman legislators/business owners Del. Chris Head (Roanoke), Del. Mike Webert (Faquier), Del. David Ramadan (Loudoun) and Del. Mike Watson (James City) and includes 27 members from both chambers and political parties. Click here for more about the 8/23/13 meeting.
HB 2198 – VA Fair Commercial Credit Act to be heard by SBC – update
Watson Bill enabling Virginia Businesses access to their Credit Reports heard by Small Business Commission
Virginia’s Small Business Commission heard from members of the Business Development Caucus on Wednesday June 26 as they discussed the background and intent of a bill introduced by Del. Mike Watson (R-93) earlier this year. After hearing from businesses across the Commonwealth who were frustrated with marketing practices by the Commercial Credit Industry as well as the lack of access that they have to the information being sold about them, Del. Watson introduced HB 2198. In effect, this bill will allow businesses the opportunity to view their own credit report once a year at no charge and enable them to correct errors that others have made in creating that report. “Erroneous information in these reports can cause a company to lose customers, vendors,and credit access for operations and growth”, Watson said. “It should be common sense that these companies be allowed to view and correct information that others are selling about them”. Commercial Credit Agency representatives are adamantly opposed to this bill, citing concerns that if identified, those that report this information will stop participating. This bill will have national implications as other state’s legislators are considering similar action. Currently, there is a class-action lawsuit underway against certain credit reporting agencies. After hearing from Delegate Watson and his BDC colleagues as well as Commercial Credit Reporting industry representatives who oppose the bill, the Commission assigned members to work with the two sides to develop bill language that both could agree on prior to the next SBC meeting in the fall. Watson’s bill was recently referenced in a Wall Street Journal report on this issue. Read it here
HB 1691, another BDC Initiative that helps Virginia Business
Bill Sponsored by Delegate Watson allows Williamsburg restaurant to sell its Napa Valley wine here
WILLIAMSBURG — Come July 1, the Chohany brothers will finally be able to sell wine they make at their California vineyards at Second Street Bistro, their Williamsburg restaurant. According to an email from Mickey Chohany, that’s the result of HB 1691, carried in the 2013 General Assembly by Del. Mike Watson, R-James City….more
Watson earns VA FREE’s 100% Pro-Business rating for 2 years straight
Delegate Mike Watson will be recognized for his pro-business efforts at June 10th VA FREE Leadership Forum at Tyson’s Corner.
(James City County – May 17th) – For the 2nd consecutive year, Delegate Mike Watson (R-93) has earned a 100% pro-business rating from VA FREE, a non-partisan business advocacy organization. This year the emphasis was placed on the transportation plan that passed the 2013 General Assembly and was recently signed into law. A wide range of business issues and legislation were considered in the 2012 session. Cumulatively, Delegate Watson has consistently demonstrated his focus on economic growth and opportunity for Virginia’s citizens and is the only legislator who has served for two consecutive sessions or more that has a cumulative rating of 100%.
Watson to receive Chamber’s Top Business award for 2nd Consecutive year
Delegate Mike Watson will be presented “Champion of Free Enterprise Award” on May 8th
(James City County – March 28, 2013) – For the 2nd consecutive year, Delegate Mike Watson (R-93) will receive the “Champion of Free Enterprise Award” from the Virginia Chamber of Commerce for his 100% pro-business votes in the 2013 session.
Each year, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce tracks legislation that impacts business in the Commonwealth, grades legislators on their voting record, and issues a report accordingly. Delegate Watson joins just two other legislators in the entire General Assembly who have earned this award for two consecutive years.
“I am proud to receive this award again this year. It’s a good indicator to the citizens of the 93rd district that their Delegate’s voting record matches the promises made in my campaign”, Watson said.
In his freshman term, Watson, a business owner since 1989, has earned a reputation in Richmond for his pro-business and pro-workforce development initiatives both through the legislation he has patroned and as a founder of the General Assembly’s first ever Business Development Caucus. In the last session, in addition to receiving the Chamber’s ‘Champion of Free Enterprise Award’, he was also named its ‘Freshman Legislator of the Year’.
Delegate Watson is the founder and president of Control Automation Technologies Corporation. He lives in James City County with his wife Amy and sons Adam (17) and Taylor (14). Their eldest son, Cody, is a senior at Virginia Tech.
Discussing future legislation Watson said, “I’m already working on a couple of business issues for the 2014 session as well as legislation to promote Advanced Manufacturing Technology programs in the state that will draw employers to the Commonwealth”.
He will be presented the award on May 8th at the Chamber Legislative Awards Banquet in Tysons Corner.
Watson seeks second term in House of Delegates
Delegate Mike Watson filed for reelection with State Board of Elections on March 15th.
(James City County – March 15, 2013) – Delegate Mike Watson (R-93) filed paperwork and submitted the required petition signatures today to run for reelection for the House of Delegates. Watson was first elected in 2011 to represent the 93rd district that includes the City of Williamsburg and parts of the City of Newport News, James City County and York County.
In his first two years of office, Watson’s record notes many accomplishments. In the 2012 session, he successfully carried legislation to promote tourism, access to affordable homeownership, and led numerous pro-growth initiatives including funding for the Free-Electron Laser Upgrade at Jefferson Lab. He also secured two budget amendments for the College of William and Mary to support the expansion of housing and renovation of the Brafferton, the 2nd oldest building on Campus. In the most recent session, Watson patroned legislation for numerous pro-business issues, expanded workforce development through Vocational Schools and the Community College system and played a key role in the Governor’s decision to make I-64 capacity improvements between Williamsburg and Newport News a priority in the state’s transportation plan.
In addition to legislative action, Watson is one of the four founders of the General Assembly’s first Business Development Caucus; an organization that now includes 27 legislators from both parties and was responsible for passing ten pro-business initiatives in the 2013 session. He was also appointed to the Manufacturing Development Commission, received the body’s 2nd highest business rating from Virginia Free, earned the 2012 Champion of Free Enterprise award by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and named “Freshman Legislator of the Year”.
Delegate Watson relied on his 25 years of experience as a business owner and employer to advance his economic development initiatives and has clearly emerged as a voice for business and workforce development in the Legislature. He plans to continue these efforts into his next term. “When I ran for this seat in 2011, I promised to focus on job creation and pro-growth legislation”, said Watson. “If you look at the bills I’ve patroned and my other activities in Richmond, you’ll find that I did exactly as promised.”
Delegate Watson is the founder and president of Control Automation Technologies Corporation. He lives in James City County with his wife Amy and three sons.
Watson summarized his reelection bid, “I’ve worked to encourage job growth and a highly qualified workforce in Virginia while also addressing concerns that are specific to our area. I hope that I’ve earned the support of my 93rd district neighbors to send me back for second term”.
Delegate Mike Watson, (R-93) My 2013 Legislative Agenda.
Twenty four years ago I started my first business, designing and installing process control systems for manufacturers. We employed engineers, project managers, programmers, instrument and electrical technicians, mechanics, welders and other skilled crafts. These skills were in demand in 1989 and they still are today. However, there are less young people pursuing these as their chosen career. As a result, we now have a skills gap, especially in manufacturing where skilled craftsmen are retiring and have fewer qualified employees ready to replace them.
Most of us have heard from news sources, business groups, even our own Governor about the high demand for skilled workers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, math and health care. As I traveled the Commonwealth with the Business Development Caucus (“BDC”) this year, one of the consistent themes we heard from business was “we need to focus on training our workforce for the jobs that actually exist”, aka Workforce Development. This was not a surprise to me. I watched this trend in my own business and with those of my customers. In fact, years before I ever ran for office I’d been speaking with high school and community college students about opportunities in these areas.
Over 24 years, the skill-sets required of craftsmen has evolved as has the research and manufacturing facilities they will work in. The visions of the dirty, lunch pail in hand, all male workforces leaving the plant when the whistle blows are fading while Advanced Manufacturing is growing. Male and female mechanics are using precision electronic tools, operators are becoming troubleshooters and crane operators are using trigonometry and physics. Opportunities exist. It’s time we build a workforce to meet them. For this reason, my primary legislative agenda for 2013 is Workforce Development.
This focus doesn’t preclude me from promoting other important issues, as I will patron bills for child safety, historic asset preservation and a host of pro-growth business initiatives with my BDC colleagues. But the benefits of teaching our young citizens skills that will prepare them for prosperous careers are many, and worthy of my effort this session.
Governor McDonnell has established K-12 Education as a key focus for 2013 and I’m proud that he has asked me to work with him on several workforce development initiatives. As these bills progress, I will be issuing updates through my website, weekly newsletters and Facebook. I’ll also host two telephone town hall events this session. I hope that you will use these resources to keep up with my activities.
For a USNews.com report on this topic, CLICK HERE.
Business Development Caucus travels the Commonwealth
Four freshman Delegates joined together to form the first Business Development Caucus in Virginia’s General Assembly. Delegates Mike Watson (R-James City), Chris Head (R-Roanoke), David Ramadan (R-Loudoun) and Michael Webert (R-Fauquier), all business owners employing Virginians recently founded the caucus to introduce legislation to promote entrepreneurship and job growth in
the Commonwealth. To read the full article by the Virginia Capitol Connection Magazine, click here.
Appointment to Manufacturing Development Commission
I am pleased to have been appointed to the Manufacturing Development Commission. Below is a copy of the press release issued by my office.
WATSON APPOINTED TO MANUFACTURING DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION
WILLIAMSBURG, VA; May 15, 2012 Speaker Howell has appointed Delegate Mike Watson (R-93) to the Manufacturing Development Commission. The purpose of this commission is to assess manufacturing needs and formulate legislative and regulatory remedies to ensure the future of the manufacturing sector in the Commonwealth. Delegate Watson will serve on the commission for the remainder of his term in the House of Delegates.
“I am proud to appoint Mike Watson to the Manufacturing Development Commission. As a small businessman with extensive experience in manufacturing, Mike understands many of the issues before the commission, and will be able to provide valuable insight into the issues faced by this commission,” remarked Speaker Howell.
There are a total of fourteen members that serve on the Manufacturing Development Commission. They include eight legislative members, five nonlegislative members, and the Secretary of Commerce and Trade or his designee. Of the eight legislative members, Delegate Watson is one of five members that serve on the commission from the House of Delegates.
Delegate Watson stated, “I am delighted to serve on this commission, and I believe my background in business has equipped me to provide a unique perspective into the challenges of this industry. I look forward to working with the other members to tackle issues facing manufacturers in Virginia.”