Virginia's Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell has been making the rounds this week. Today, his office announced he was out touring Virginia's eastern shore, where he helped break ground a new seafood packing plant in Melfa. McDonnell said:
"Virginia's seafood industry is one of the oldest industries in the United States and one of the Commonwealth's most economically important. We are the nation's fourth largest producer of marine products, trailing only Alaska, Louisiana and Washington. The annual economic impact of the industry is over half a billion dollars a year, and there are approximately 11,000 full and part-time jobs in Virginia connected to the seafood industry. It is a vital part of the Virginia economy of today and tomorrow. And it is with a focus on tomorrow that we are breaking ground on this new facility –it will meet the needs of our seafood industry well into the 21st century. It will also encourage the further development of one of Virginia's greatest natural resources, our fisheries, as well as the expansion of statewide, regional, domestic, and international markets for these great products."
Clearly, seafood is important to Virginians and their governor. Which must be why, with the BP's Deepwater Horizon well still pouring 210,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico every day and that region's seafood industry on the ropes, McDonnell went to a BP-sponsored oil conference in Houston on Monday and said he wants to start drilling off Virginia -- maybe as early as next year.