Chairman’s Message

Mark Murray

Mark Murray


Fort Belvoir Swim Team

March 2021

 As we send winter our farewell, its time to reflect on the some items of issue and how it will affect our business climate. I am not sure how this will affect our businesses but Marijuana will be legal in Virginia. Where you stand on it does not matter much anymore. By 2024 there will be dispensaries popping up in our area.

Its important for you to know that all of our local elected officials voted for this, you should express yourself to them if you have concerns. The obvious answer is, they want the Tax monies from it. My concern is how this will affect our underserved and underrepresented citizens. Just like the many Car Loan businesses on Route 1, how many dispensaries will there be? Are the elected officials concerned about these populations and the sale of Marijuana or are they simply after the Tax?

Minimum wage starts to be $9.50/hr on May 1, 2021 and then another jump to $11.00 on January 1, 2022. This is going to affect my business without a doubt. I tried to lobby our elected officials on this but gained zero traction. Is this an attempt to bring nationalize politics in Virginia? It was not long ago when Virginia was the #1 state in the Country for doing business. We no longer hold that ranking, it begs to question, why this is and why we are not asking our local elected officials to get our Commonwealth back to number 1. Keep in mind minimum wage will continue to increase.

Covid continues to be an issue, if we follow the science, it points to getting the children back in the classroom. Why are the children not back in the classroom? The answer is the Teachers Union. Why are our children being deprived of their given right as citizens the opportunity to get back to the classroom. We are seeing record numbers of mental illness episodes with our most prized citizens. Our future is being threatened by not getting back to the classroom. If this concerns you, please contact your local elected officials.

Route 1 and the Embark Project is being scrutinized to a point where undergrounding of the utilities is not being considered. Listen folks, this is a one in a lifetime shot to do Route 1 correctly. The Board of Supervisors are not supporting this issue, as Board Members outside of our jurisdiction say it will not help their communities. Let me remind you, who call Mount Vernon and Lee Districts your home, WE HAVE BEEN THE MOST LEFT BEHIND MAGISTARIEL DISTRICTS IN THE COUNTY. If this were Tysons, Dulles, McLean, Great Falls, Oakton and the like, it would be done. This has been done. Guess who is not getting the support?

Get on the phone, get on the computer and contact your Board of Supervisor and the Chairman’s Office and let them know, you want undergrounding of utilities on Route 1. It will encourage employers to do business here, which in turn will provide career opportunities for our citizens. Senator Surovell seems to be the only local elected official encouraging this option. We have too many underserved and underrepresented citizens on Route 1 that need these valuable businesses to employ them. UNDERGROUND THESE UTILITIES!! The rest of the Board of Supervisors want more tax money to support their programs, well here is their chance. We can attract more valuable businesses to our area and create a tax base similar to other parts of the County. Stop being so selfish. We have waited our turn for the last time. Wake up and smell the coffee!


January 2021

 As we begin the year 2021 I cannot help but wonder how this year will turn out. Who would have even imagined we would see a Pandemic in our life time? This Pandemic has affected our lives in everyway possible.

We are finding ways to mitigate the Pandemic and the vaccine is here. We know the rollout of the vaccine will take time to organize and reach the massive population of the USA. I expect this year will look similar in terms of precautions until the roll out is completed.

The Mount Vernon Lee Chamber of Commerce stands strong in supporting your businesses. Remember to utilize the Chamber as a resource for your businesses. We are invested in your success and want you to thrive. We fight for you in Richmond, in Fairfax and with our federal representatives. We are involved with your schools, community, Fort Belvoir and cultural/historical sites. We want to be your go to resource for information regarding PPP/EIDL, State and Local grants.

We support our First Responders/Fire Fighters and Police. We honor our businesses who are showing great strides annually. We are for Undergrounding Utilities for the Embark Richmond Highway Project and we support the BRT Project. We want more businesses to be a part of what we are doing to improve our position as influencers. The more businesses we have the more influential we become to the decision-makers.

It is important that we all as members go out and recruit more businesses to get involved with what we are doing. We want to know what is affecting you and how we can remedy these issues. The more the Chamber grows the more we can influence. I challenge you to find 3 businesses to join the Chamber. The fact of the matter is it will only help ALL of US!