Virginia is the top state in the country for business less than a year after Republican governor Glenn Youngkin replaced former Democratic governor Ralph Northam, according to rankings calculated by business magazine Site Selection.
Using an index that combines economic metrics, other publications' rankings, and Site Selection's survey of business executives, the magazine ranked Virginia as the best business climate in the country. Site Selection rated Virginia 10th in the index last year.
The rapid rise in the rankings comes almost a year after Youngkin took office following an upset win in a state that President Joe Biden won by 10 points in 2020. Youngkin campaigned on a pledge to make Virginia "open for business" by removing pandemic restrictions to ensure that "our travel and tourism industry is open."
"I come to this role with the perspective of a business leader, so I have a keen understanding of what companies are looking for," Youngkin, the former CEO of the Carlyle Group, told Site Selection. "Step one for me is to make sure we are putting in place frameworks around a tax-friendly world, a business-friendly regulatory environment, an education system that supports the development of the best workforce, safe communities, and finally a set of principles about how government is run so that it works for efficiency."
Youngkin said he invests a great deal of his own time to work toward bringing business to Virginia.
"I dedicate a meaningful amount of my calendar time to economic development activities, making sure we're thinking through the long-term needs of business," the governor said. "You might think of me as Virginia's chief business development officer."