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Editorial: Two Virginias

Gerald Baliles, who was governor of Virginia 30 years ago, recently addressed the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia. His audience included presidents of Virginia’s public colleges and universities.

Baliles noted that the state’s economy and reputation as a whole are doing quite well. “The overall economy is vibrant—revenues are up, unemployment is down.”

Then he urged his audience not to be complacent. In fact, Baliles said, Virginia is rapidly become a state of “two Virginias.” The people in one Virginia, he said, live in the “Golden Crescent” encompassing the metropolitan swath of cities and suburbs stretching from Hampton Roads to Northern Virginia. This is the “beating heart” of Virginia’s economy, with a highly skilled, highly paid, and highly educated population.

The rest of us, the rural counties that make up the huge land mass of most of the rest of Virginia, are not doing so well. Baliles ca...

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