HENRICO COUNTY, Va. — Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin adorned an apron and cooked Indian food before meeting with small business owners in Henrico’s West End.
The Republican visited India K’Raja on West Broad Street on Thursday afternoon for a roundtable discussion with the Virginia Asian Chamber of Commerce.
Prior to the meeting, Youngkin cooked Indian bread and chicken tikka masala with restaurant owner Tony Sappal.
“We really enjoyed our event listening from leaders from the Asian Chamber Commerce community,” Youngkin told CBS 6 following the discussion. “What we heard over and over again was aspirations to grow their businesses and some challenges that they are facing.”
Youngkin was joined by Del. Rodney Willet (D-Henrico) and State Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant (R-Henrico) as he touted the meeting as bipartisan.
He applauded the work of Sarah Bice, the first Chinese American to own a real estate company in Glen Allen. She started her professional journey with just $121 in her pocket.
Youngkin said, like himself, these business owners have achieved the American dream and encouraged more individuals to take advantage of what America offers.
Yet, he heard from other entrepreneurs like construction company owner Tinh Pham who was discouraged about the inconsistent rules and regulations implemented by OSHA and the Department of Labor.
Youngkin’s “Day One Game Plan” policies aimed to bring 400,000 new jobs, foster 10,000 new startups and cut “job killing” regulations by 25 percent.
The Governor-elect said the chief concern he hears from business owners surrounds the labor shortage.
“We have to recognize that training our workforce for the future is going to be at the heart of the competitive profile of Virginia,” Youngkin explained. “So our K through 12 education needs reformed and that’s where charter schools and innovative curriculums come in.”
CBS 6’s Brendan King asked Youngkin if increasing wages, like the minimum wage, would help solve the labor disparities.
“What I’m finding over and over again is, ‘We are already offering $15, $20 an hour plus signing bonuses to get people to come work,’” he stated. “This isn’t an issue of minimum wage. This is an issue of getting people back to work and trained to take the jobs that we see.”
Youngkin will be sworn in on January 15.