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Medicaid Expansion – We buy it, We own it (regardless of what the Fed does) 

(Mar 2018)   Proponents of Medicaid Expansion claim that Virginia will send $25 billion to other states over the next 10 years so they can expand Medicaid.  Using Lackey Clinic’s model and this $25 billion claim, Virginia could build, equip and operate 150 state-of-the-art clinics for the next 10 years and have $22 billion to spare.  Folks, 150 clinics serving 2000 patients each covers…you guessed it, 300,000 individuals without health insurance.  And, when the federal government defaults on its obligation, the clinics remain.  Please understand the facts, there is a better way.  I wrote about it here.

2018 – The Year of the Tax Cut 

(Feb 2018)   President Trump made tax cuts a key tenet of his campaign, recognizing that if citizens and businesses kept more of their own money, they would spend it more wisely than government and the economy would grow as a result.  The tax cuts are now in place and already we can see this plan come to fruition.  I appreciate the Roanoke Times making my op-ed its lead commentary in Sunday’s edition.  You can read the article here.

Cutting Taxes Benefits Virginia’s Businesses 

(Dec 2017) The Richmond Times Dispatch recently published my letter on the pending tax cut legislation considered by Congress.  Here’s an excerpt: ”  Washington is considering tax cuts that will reduce the federal tax burden on a majority of Virginia’s 680,000 small businesses — not to mention the roughly 28 million that exist elsewhere in the U.S.  Currently, our nation’s employers, big and small, are among the highest taxed businesses in the developed world. If Congress fulfills its promise, tax savings will allow U.S. businesses to invest more in their communities, hire more people, and raise wages..  You can read the entire article here.

Watson – Business Development Caucus launch new PAC 

(Sept. 2017)   Just weeks after its formation, the BDC Founders PAC held its first fundraising event at the home of former Delegate Mike Watson.  The new Political Action Committee was created by the four founders of the General Assembly’s Business Development Caucus whose focus is to ‘provide Virginia’s job creators a direct voice in the legislative process’.  Founders include Delegate Chris Head (R-Roanoke), Delegate Michael Webert (R-Fauquier), former Delegate David Ramadan (R-Loudoun), and Watson.  Combined, the four have 73 years’ experience as business owners.

The mission of the new BDC Founders PAC is to support state office candidates who understand these challenges, commit to having an active role in the Business Development Caucus, and to back its legislative agenda.  Preference will be given to candidates who have started their own business and met a payroll.  The PAC may support candidates from any party as long as they meet these criteria.  GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Ed Gillespie, who has promised to support its pro-business initiatives, headlined Saturday’s James City event hosting over 225 attendees.  “We invited a mix of voters who would be interested in hearing Ed’s plan for expanding jobs in Virginia and who might support the PAC as it strives to put more jobs-focused leaders in Richmond.  By every measure it was a great success”, said Watson.  The DP did a quick follow-up that you can read here.

Cut Red Tape, Create More Jobs 

(Jan 2017) The Daily Press recently published my op-ed on the need to reduce Red-Tape regulations on Virginia’s citizens and businesses.  You can read it here.  Red-tape regulations are a burden on economic activity. Del. Webert and I heard it from business leaders time and time again as we traveled the commonwealth with the Business Development Caucus. We’ve seen it in our own companies in agriculture and technology sectors. By reducing red tape, businesses can spend more time and money on growth and job creation. This is exactly what Virginia needs and why I am working alongside Del. Webert and Americans for Prosperity to shepherd this important legislation.  The DP did a quick follow-up that you can read here.

Manufacturing a Revolution 

(Oct 2016) The Daily Press recently published my op-ed on the virtue of expanding manufacturing in Virginia.  Here’s an excerpt:  “I’ve read that manufacturing is a diminishing employment resource; that automation will soon replace its workers. As a business owner who has worked in manufacturing for 35 years, I suspect that author has spent little time in a modern manufacturing facility. No doubt, the day of the assembly-line worker is fading but accountants, scientists, engineers, managers, sales and administrative personnel are all prevalent in manufacturing operations. Perhaps he’s overlooking the mechanics, electricians, information technology and software specialists that keep it running. As for the assembly line worker, she is now a higher-paid systems operator with a Mechatronics or similar degree who is programming and troubleshooting the automated process equipment.”  You can read the entire article here.

Workforce Credentials through Virginia’s Community College System 

(Feb 2016) I look forward to working with the Virginia Community College System during this session to promote the Workforce Credentials Program.  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

You can read the letter to Senators Tim Kaine & Mark Warner by clicking here

Watson Op-Ed:  College & Careers, A letter to students and parents

(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.

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

State 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.

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

Additional Endorsements

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:

Virginia Association of Realtors

Virginia Farm Bureau

National Federation of Independent Business

Associated Builders and Contractors of Virginia

Virginia Peninsula Assoc.  of Realtors

Virginia Credit Union League

Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce BizPAC

Hampton Roads Black Caucus

Williamsburg Area Association of Realtors

Northern VA Technology Council TechPAC

Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance

The Daily Press

The Virginia Gazette

in addition, Mike has earned:

100% rating – Virginia FREE – 2 consecutive years

100% rating – VA Chamber of Commerce – 2 consecutive years

 ‘A’ Rating  National Rifle Association

‘A’ Rating – Wildlife Foundation of Virginia

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HB 1691, a BDC Initiative helps local 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

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Governor signs Watson's HB 2300, opening new doors for Virginia Distilleries
Bill Sponsored by Delegate Watson grants VA Distilleries right to sell products at point-of-manufacture
 

James City County  – (Mar 20, 2013) Effective July 1, Virginia distilleries will enjoy the same rights as Virginia’s Wineries and Craft Breweries to offer point-of-manufacture tastings and retail licenses to sell their products now that Governor McDonnell has signed HB 2300, a bill that “provides an exception to the tied house restrictions by allowing the granting of any retail license to a distillery licensee“, an exception previously limited to brewery and winery licensees.  “Today, there are twelve licensed distilleries operating in Virginia”, said Delegate Watson.  “Now that this bill is becoming law, I expect that number to increase dramatically”.  Watson says the idea was introduced to him by the owner of an company that operates an out-of-state distillery but sells branded products within Virginia.  Subsequently, the bill became a 2013 initiative of the Business Development Caucus.  You can see the bill and its path through the legislative process by clicking here.

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%.

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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.

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ALERT: Governor’s Transportation Plan to include Watson’s I-64 Phased Strategy

I-64 between Williamsburg and Newport News has been named a priority project

Richmond, VA; January 28, 2013 – Delegate Mike Watson will travel with Governor Bob McDonnell and Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton to Newport News Thursday afternoon for a press conference noting the significant local impact of the Governor’s comprehensive transportation funding plan. Among the projects discussed will be “I-64 capacity improvements between Williamsburg and Newport News” that Delegate Watson has been promoting for the last year and who’s strategy is now a key component in the Governor’s transportation package.

“I-64 on the Peninsula is the primary transportation artery into and out of Hampton Roads, and is critical for commuters, tourism, and the ports. This is why I have put so much effort into raising its priority status,” declared Delegate Watson. “I am thrilled that the Governor has recognized the importance of this project and chosen to include it as a priority in his transportation proposal.”

Since March of last year, Delegate Watson has worked with various state and local agencies to devise a plan to address capacity improvements on I-64.  After personally drawing maps, noting obstructions and other challenges while documenting a segmented approach to construction, seeing it as more likely to be approved than the $5-7 billion all-at-once approach, Watson met with Transportation Secretary Sean Connoughton and Deputy Secretary Charlie Kilpatrick in his District office in Williamsburg to present his proposal.  Since, VDOT has been working with Watson to finalize the plan that has now been included in the Governor’s transportation package.

“Delegate Mike Watson has worked tirelessly over the past year to pursue transportation improvements on the peninsula,” said McDonnell.  “I am pleased to announce that Delegate Watson’s plan to improve capacity along I-64 between Williamsburg and Newport News has been adopted into my 2013 Transportation Proposal.”

“ I want to thank the Governor for including this project. This makes the time put in working with Secretary Connaughton, VDOT’s engineers, other legislators, and my constituents in order to see tangible improvements to transportation on the peninsula well worth it,” said Delegate Watson.

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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.”