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McDonnell prepares to leave for European trade trip

Rosalind Helderman

Gov. Bob McDonnell's upcoming trade mission to Britain, the Netherlands and Germany will cost Virginia taxpayers just shy of $90,000, his office said today.

McDonnell (R) leaves on the trip, his first international expedition on behalf of the state since taking office, on Saturday. He'll be joined in London by Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore and Virginia Tourism Corp. President and CEO Alisa Bailey; in London and the Netherlands by his wife Maureen; and throughout the eight-day trip by Secretary of Commerce and Trade Jim Cheng.

The trip, which McDonnell's staff is billing as a chance to market Virginia overseas, has been built around the Farnborough Air Show, taking place outside London. He'll be holding a series of meetings with business executives, including Rolls-Royce, and will get together with the Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs and energy ministers in the UK.

Maureen McDonnell will meanwhile push Virginia wine and agricultural products.

McDonnell said that almost 50 percent of all capital investment in Virginia over the past six years came from international companies, and overseas trips are key to spurring the job growth necessary to stabilize the state's economy.

"Our foremost priority is getting Virginians back to work, and we recognize that job creation cannot be accomplished within the confines of the United States alone. We need to sell Virginia products to the world, and invite the world to invest and create jobs right here," he said.

His office said travel costs for the governor and staff, including security, will total $89,579.

McDonnell was also celebrating some good news on the job front Thursday, announcing in a morning news conference that 71,500 jobs were created in Virginia in the first half of 2010, the third-best such figure in the country.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  July 15, 2010; 2:55 PM ET
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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