HARRISONBURG — Local state legislators received awards from the Virginia Chamber of Commerce during the chamber’s annual dinner Wednesday.
Recognized were Dels. Tony Wilt, R-Broadway, Steve Landes, R-Weyers Cave, and Todd Gilbert, R-Woodstock, and Sens. Emmett Hanger, R-Mount Solon, and Mark Obenshain, R-Rockingham.
The Virginia Chamber of Commerce is the largest business advocacy organization in the commonwealth with more than 26,000 members.
The dinner provides an opportunity to recognize the work of legislators during the past General Assembly session, according to a press release.
Wilt received the Free Enterprise Award for Small Business, while Obenshain and Gilbert both received the Free Enterprise Award for Legal Reform.
Hanger received the Free Enterprise Award for Tax Reform and the Fiscal Stewardship Award.
Landes received the most awards out of the Valley legislators, receiving the Lifetime Service Award, the Career Focused K-12 Education Award and the Fiscal Stewardship Award.
The Free Enterprise Award recognizes support of pro-business policies during the 2019 General Assembly session that were consistent with the principles and initiatives outlined in the chamber’s long-term economic development plan, Blueprint Virginia 2025.
“I am honored to be named a Chamber Free Enterprise Award recipient for our work to find solutions to lower health care costs for small businesses and their employees,” Wilt said in a press release. “I look forward to the opportunity to continue to work with the Virginia Chamber and our local chambers to seek to advance policies that improve the business climate and quality of life for all citizens.”
Chamber President and CEO Barry DuVal said award recipients have played an important role in bringing the business community together and making Virginia the “best state for business,” according to a press release.
DuVal later congratulated Landes on his retirement from the House of Delegates after 24 years of service.
“During his tenure, Steve worked tirelessly to kick start economic development throughout the Commonwealth and spearheaded commonsense policy reforms that improved Virginia’s workforce and education system, as evidenced by his leadership on the House Education Committee,” DuVal said. “I am grateful for his years of public service and wish him well in his future plans.”
Landes said he was honored to by recognized by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce for his work, saying he has always enjoyed the shared commitment to fostering economic growth throughout the commonwealth.
“Economic development and providing a first-class education for all Virginians have always been top legislative priorities of mine,” Landes said. “Ensuring Virginia has a strong and well-educated workforce is one of the best ways possible to grow our economy and keep Virginia moving forward, and I always promoted legislation and policies that supported our workforce and education to achieve that end.”
Joining in on the commentary was House Speaker Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, who said Landes’ work for the business and education communities has been “unwavering.”
“I am proud to join the Virginia Chamber in recognition of his work and dedication to the people of Virginia,” Cox said. “While he will be missed in the General Assembly, I know his commitment to public service remains and I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”
Cox was named the chamber’s 2019 House Legislator of the Year, a title Landes received in 2016.