"There are three components to a thriving economy," said Portsmouth Mayor John Rowe, "good paying jobs, good paying jobs, good paying jobs." The growth of the economy in Portsmouth was one of the various highlights covered in Mayor Rowe's inaugural Hampton Roads Chamber State of the City address at the Renaissance Portsmouth-Norfolk Waterfront Hotel & Conference Center on April 19th.
"This is a Hampton Roadschamber event and the chamber is all about creating a favorable business environment; during our first 100 days in office our city council has made great strides in making our city business friendly," said Mayor Rowe, who took office in January of this year. Mayor Rowe detailed the impact of Portsmouth's largest employers, the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, The Navy Medical Center-Portsmouth, and the Port of Virgina. "One out of every ten jobs in Virginia is directly related to the Port," said Mayor Rowe, as he noted that the largest ship to ever call on the east coast will travel through the Port on May 8th of this year. Cargo from that ship, over 4,000 containers, will travel throughout the country, making Portsmouth a "gateway to the heartland of America," said the Mayor.
Mayor Rowe also commended the military history of the city, congratulating the Navy Medical Center-Portsmouth on being the oldest continually operating Naval hospital in the country and noting that Portsmouth, home of the U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Command and the 5th Coast Guard District Command is the only Coast Guard city in Hampton Roads. "We are a diverse city, an old city," said Mayor Rowe, " and we're home to a thriving downtown that others try to emulate." The Historic Old Towne District was one of many neighborhoods and Portsmouth landmarks featured in a promotional video played during the Mayor's remarks. The video highlighted the city's new tagline, "The Future is Bright on the Right Side of the River." The Mayor concluded his keynote address by encouraging all those in attendance to be ambassadors for Portsmouth, "the state of our city is bright," said Mayor Rowe, "and we're well positioned for prosperity."
The Hampton Roads Chamber State of the City Series gives the Mayors of Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Norfolk, and Suffolk the opportunity to reflect on the past year and outline their plan for a successful future. The next State of the Cities Series events will be the Chesapeake State of the City Address on April 27th. Additional State of the City events are as follows: Norfolk (May 12th), Suffolk, (May 23rd). Sponsorships are available. Tables of ten can be reserved for $800.
The Hampton Roads Chamber is committed to being an inspiring ignitor, impactful advocate, and powerful economic partner of the cities of the Hampton Roads region and the State of the Cities Series is one of the key ways we meet our strategic direction.