Because of our historically strong commitment to elementary and secondary education, and recent investments in our community colleges and universities, Virginia has repeatedly been named the best state for a lifetime of learning. Unfortunately, the recent nationwide financial crisis has left less in our state budget for our schools.
I believe strongly that our children are our future, and that all of them deserve a world-class education. In order to ensure that they are prepared to take on the jobs of tomorrow, and to compete in a global economy, we must restore and increase funding for K-12 education, including teacher salaries. In the state Senate I have opposed attempts to raid the General Fund, which is the sole source of funding for public education.
We must also continue to develop a strong workforce in Virginia by supporting career and technical education at our outstanding community colleges. By investing in a workforce with cutting edge technical trade skills, we will help Virginians earn more, and make Virginia a more attractive place for existing and new businesses.
At the same time, we should learn a lesson from our neighbor to the south, and take better advantage of the economic development potential of innovation at our research universities. North Carolina's Research Triangle could not have become the economic engine that it is today without significant state support, and I look forward to working with college and university presidents across the Commonwealth to develop a similar vision for our state.