The Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce hosted the newly-elected Newport News Mayor Phillip Jones in a luncheon on Tuesday.
The first-time mayor began his presentation by addressing the shooting at Richneck Elementary on Jan. 6. He recognized school board members that were present.
Jones said that Newport News plays an important role in the region. He plans to grow business of all sizes.
He cited the hiring of a SWaM (small, woman and minority) coordinator to help small businesses. The city is now offering workshops on how small businesses can work with the city, he said.
“It is very important we have a level playing field for all individuals in our community,” Jones said.
Newport News has grown in the science and technology sector with Jefferson Lab. The city, the business community and Jefferson Lab officials worked together to secure state funding for high performance data center computer at the lab. This type of partnership is important, he said.
Newport News will soon have an innovation office will be in the city manager’s office to further grow the science and technology sector, he said.
The city hopes to grown broadband in the area. A $30 million grant application has been submitted to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
He plans to have city council and the Newport News School Board to work together to improve underperforming schools, he said.
Jones also plans to have monthly town hall meetings. His first town hall meeting will be Feb. 2 from 6 p.m.- 8 p.m. at Denbigh Community Center.