This week, U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger held a virtual roundtable with local leaders from the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Blackstone Chamber of Commerce, Chesterfield County Chamber of Commerce, Culpeper Chamber of Commerce, Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce, Goochland Chamber of Commerce, and Powhatan Chamber of Commerce. During the meeting, Spanberger listened to direct input from constituents about what measures are needed in the next federal COVID-19 relief package, and she delivered an update on her work to secure strong support for localities, schools, telehealth programs, and healthcare providers.
Some of the top concerns highlighted by local business leaders were the need for reliable broadband access and the need for banking relationships that enable business – especially in underserved communities – to take advantage of the full breadth of available COVID-19 relief loans.
“Virginia businesses are adapting to extreme challenges and pervasive uncertainty as this devastating public health crisis drags on. Conversations like this help me narrow in on our district’s most essential priorities, so I can advocate strongly at the federal level for the targeted, urgent support that our communities need,” said Spanberger. “Among the issues we discussed today were the logistical burdens and extra expenses facing businesses as they seek to reopen safely & in accordance with state-level guidelines. I’m thankful for the numerous organizations and entities, including the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, who are working to equip small business owners with the knowledge and confidence they need to navigate this new reality. We also heard yet again from business owners about how vital reliable broadband access is to their work. I will continue working across the aisle to make sure that all our Central Virginia neighbors – in rural, urban, and suburban communities – can take advantage of e-commerce, telehealth, virtual learning, and all the other online services that will keep us connected in the weeks and months to come.”
Earlier this week, Spanberger met with local business owners in Powhatan County to learn more about how small businesses have innovated in response to the challenges of COVID-19, as well as the continued need for coordinated federal relief efforts directed toward small businesses.
At veteran-owned Three Crosses Distilling, Spanberger also spoke with owners and representatives from the Virginia Distillers Association and Distilled Spirits Council of the United States about areas where federal red tape could be cut and tax breaks extended to help Virginia’s booming craft beverage industry adapt and survive in challenging economic times.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many counties across Virginia now face potential budget challenges through no fault of their own. Spanberger has been a vocal leader in the U.S. House on the need for greater support for Central Virginia counties and localities as they try to maintain essential services like electricity, water, EMS, and more. In May 2020, Spanberger led a bipartisan effort of 102 of her colleagues in urging strengthened federal funding and greater flexibility for counties of all sizes during the pandemic.
In June 2020, Spanberger spoke with ChamberRVA about new local efforts to support small businesses and provide the resources and guidance they need to reopen safely and rebuild consumer confidence amid the ongoing public health crisis. Spanberger’s website includes a resource page with guidance, loan and grant opportunities, and other relevant information for small business owners.