Virginia first-ever Secretary of Veteran's Affairs and Homeland Security, Terrie Suit, has been selected as the next Chief Executive Officer of the Virginia Association of REALTORS ® (VAR). Suit, a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates, will officially step down from her current position in the McDonnell Administration on September 22nd. Governor Bob McDonnell will appoint Deputy Secretary Jim Hopper to lead the Secretariat following her departure.
The governor issued the following statement regarding Secretary Suit's new position, and the upcoming elevation of Deputy Secretary Hopper:
"When we took office in January 2010, we pledged to make Virginia, 'The Most Veteran-Friendly State in the Nation.' Now, almost four years later, I believe we have done that. And that has occurred thanks to the selfless and dedicated service of Virginia's first-ever Secretary of Veteran's Affairs and Homeland Security, Terrie Suit. Under Secretary Suit's leadership, we launched the Virginia Values Veterans (V3) Program, which helps employers in the Commonwealth learn how to recruit, hire, train, and retain veterans. Over 4,000 jobs have been pledged to veterans as a result. We established The Virginia Post-Transition Assistance Program to help military members and families make the transition from service in our armed forces to success in the civilian workforce. We made it easier for the brave men and women of the United States military to access higher education by waiving the previous one-year residency requirement to qualify for in-state tuition rates at our colleges and universities. We provided an additional $600,000 for the Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program, and the program has grown from 902 students in 2009-2010 to 1,100 in 2012-2013. Finally, we created the Virginia Veterans ID Card, providing our veterans with easy and quick proof of their veterans status. All of these accomplishments were the direct result of the leadership of Secretary Suit. As a Navy spouse and Army daughter, Secretary Suit brought not only professional expertise to this position; she brought personal passion and understanding. Those traits were crucial to the success of our legislative initiatives.
"Secretary Suit also led the Commonwealth's Homeland Security efforts, a critical endeavor in a state home to the Pentagon, Naval Station Norfolk, Fort Lee and numerous other military installations. In this capacity, she helped to oversee the Homeland Security Working Group, as well as the Virginia Commission on Military and National Security Facilities, which we created by Executive Order in 2010.
"Virginia is safer and more prepared because of Secretary Suit's service to our Commonwealth. I thank her for her leadership and her commitment to the men and women of our military, and all Virginians. I know Secretary Suit will do a tremendous job in her new capacity as head of the Virginia Association of REALTORS, a position she is uniquely qualified for based on her over 20-year long career in the real estate industry.
"While we are disappointed to see Secretary Suit go, we are also pleased to announce that her successor will be a gentleman who defines public service, Deputy Secretary of Veteran's Affairs and Homeland Security, Jim Hopper. Jim is a 34-year veteran of the United States Army, including service in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he created and led the Baghdad Provincial Reconstruction Team Governance Section. I've known Jim since we worked together at the Office of the Attorney General, and I cannot say enough about his character, his intellect, and his love of this country. Jim will step seamlessly into the position of Secretary and I could not imagine an individual more prepared and more deserving for this role. Jim will continue to serve our Commonwealth with honor."
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT