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Sen. Van Hollen: Federal Government has Taken Historic Action to Advance Economic Opportunity

Senator headlines DMV Regional Congress Meeting, Cross-Sector Leaders vote in support of developing major inclusive economic growth engines to responsibly grow the region

September 15, 2022 (Washington, D.C.)— Last week, Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) addressed the quarterly meeting of the DMV Regional Congress to discuss initiatives he has helped advance during the 117th Congress to support families in our region, build back stronger from COVID-19, and grow more opportunity and prosperity for all.


“After passing the American Rescue Plan to combat the health and economic effects of the pandemic, we worked to deliver major job-creating investments in modernizing our infrastructure, revitalizing our nation’s advanced manufacturing base, lowering energy and health care costs, and combatting climate change – all while making the tax code fairer for hardworking middle-class Americans,” Sen. Van Hollen said. “Through these efforts and others, we are proving that we can get big things done for our communities – and these initiatives mark transformational investments in the capital region.”

During his remarks, Sen. Van Hollen outlined how the recent achievements of the U.S. Congress and the Biden Administration will improve lives and promote economic growth in the DMV region. These include the enactment of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which will channel over $17 billion in infrastructure funding to Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia; the Inflation Reduction Act to combat climate change, reduce energy and health costs, close tax loopholes manipulated by wealthy individuals and corporations, and reduce the deficit; and the CHIPS and Science Act to invest in American semiconductor manufacturing, research and development, and emerging technologies – including through investments in the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Maryland and the National Science Foundation in Virginia.

“We know that the strength of our whole region depends on the health of each of its parts. As we move ahead, I look forward to working with all of you in the DMV Regional Congress to ensure we harness the full power and potential of these federal investments so we can build a stronger, fairer economy for all – and I am grateful for your continued advocacy on behalf of Marylanders, Virginians, and Washingtonians,” Sen. Van Hollen said.


DMV Regional Congress member Tony Lewis, Region Vice President-Public Policy at Verizon, introduced Sen. Van Hollen and facilitated the Fall 2022 convening of the DMV Regional Congress operated by Connected DMV. Composed of approximately 70 leaders from private industry, academia, community, philanthropy and the public sector throughout Greater Washington, the DMV Regional Congress works to organize the region for inclusive economic growth. These pursuits require collaboration across sectors and geographic boundaries enabling the DMV to better compete against regions like Silicon Valley, St. Louis, and Boston that are vying for the same talent and finite resources.


In addition to Senator Van Hollen’s remarks, the DMV Regional Congress received updates on two proposals for the National Science Foundation’s Regional Innovation Engines program. Dr. Gregory Washington, President of George Mason University, and Dr. Andre Marshall, Vice President for Research, Innovation and Economic Development for George Mason University presented the vision and approach for the “Equitable All-Hazards Preparedness and Resilience Engine in the Broader National Capital Region.” Dr. Darryll Pines, President of the University of Maryland at College Park, and Dr. John P. Sawyer, Director of Strategic Corporate Research Relationships for the University of Maryland at College Park, also presented the vision and approach for the “Quantum Dual-Use Innovation & Commercialization Engine (Q-DICE).” Following the review, the DMV Regional Congress members voted to support both NSF Type-2 funding opportunities.


“The unanimous support of these initiatives by the DMV Regional Congress members affirms the merits of these two proposals and provides proof-positive of our regional will to build inclusive economic development engines that improve work and life for all that live and work here. Having the DMV’s academic institutions in such strong collaboration with our community, industry, and local government sectors bodes well for our days ahead,” said Stu Solomon, President and CEO, Connected DMV.


During the Summer 2022 DMV Regional Congress convening, Dr. Erwin Gianchandani, the Assistant Director for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP) who leads the newly established directorate at the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), offered an update on the NSF and the Regional Innovation Engines program. The NSF is an independent agency of the federal government, supporting fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering. Dr. Gianchandani spoke about his role at the directorate and the new Regional Innovation Engines program. The Engines program will award approximately $160M over ten years to each of five regions to support the advancement of innovation ecosystems targeted at technologies critical to national competitiveness.


Today’s DMV Regional Congress agenda also included member spotlights from across the region, which provided the status and outlook for their respective sectors: Scott Frisch, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, AARP; Julie Coons, President of the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce; and Rodney Oddoye, Senior Vice President-Governmental, Regulatory and External Affairs, Pepco Holdings. During his comments, Oddoye highlighted the essential role companies like Pepco play in advancing the local economy and the critical need for commitment to ensuring equity and opportunity for people in underserved communities.


Pepco has been a part of the fabric of this community for more than 125 years. Our company, and all the utilities in the Exelon family, believe that our work goes beyond providing safe, reliable energy service,” said Oddoye. “Our mission also includes providing climate change solutions, enhancing the electric grid so we can incorporate more clean energy, and helping our communities achieve social equity. Every day at our company, we train people from our local communities for attractive careers in energy, we develop programs to help preserve the environment, we partner with nonprofits addressing critical needs for under-resourced neighborhoods and residents, and so much more.”


The DMV Regional Congress also included updates on:

  • The upcoming inaugural Quantum World Congress, a first-of-its-kind global quantum conference, exposition and networking series, will occur November 29-December 1 in Washington, D.C. at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. The annual Quantum World Congress and its global audience will bring a quantum-ready future into focus while establishing the region as a go-to destination and meeting place for quantum technology visionaries. The general assembly convenings will offer unique cross-sector perspectives from government, academia and industry and will feature speakers such as Anne Neuberger (Deputy National Security Advisor, Cyber and Emerging Technology); Dr. Darryll Pines (President, University of Maryland); Dr. Charles Tahan (Director, National Quantum Coordination Office, OSTP, White House); and Dr. Christopher Monroe, Founder & Chief Scientist, IonQ, and Fellow, Joint Quantum Institute. Industry leaders from Boeing, Cleveland Clinic, Sandbox AQ, Zapata, Rigetti, Quantinuum, and more, will also provide key industry and technology perspectives. Members of the national security community, such as the Naval Research Lab, DC-QNet, Oakridge National Lab, and the National Institutes of Science and Technology, will also provide remarks. Leaders from the national and global quantum community collaborations will also be featured, including Dr. David Awschalom from the Chicago Quantum Exchange and Dr. Andrew White from EQUS Australia.

  • The National Capital Hydrogen Center is working to support the region’s move to a clean energy future. The recently released data-driven DMV Hydrogen Greenprint regional assessment provides a value proposition for adding hydrogen-based solutions to decarbonize and propel the economies of DC, Maryland and Virginia. The Center is convening regional stakeholders to plan a regional hydrogen ecosystem, which includes production, transportation, storage, distribution, and end-use projects. Sitting at the heart of the mid-Atlantic and the crossroads of the Atlantic seaboard, the region is the essential connecting point to integrate existing and future hydrogen systems in the Northeast, Southeast, and Midwest. Together, the DMV will attract public and private investment, create jobs, build the workforce of the future, and drive economic and environmental benefits to all communities.

The DMV Regional Congress convenes quarterly and is sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, Verizon, Pepco Holdings, and Clark Construction. To learn more about its work and members, please visit https://connecteddmv.org/congress.

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About Connected DMV

Connected DMV is an initiatives-based, charitable 501(c)(3) organization that works with regional organizations across Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia – the DMV – to help drive ongoing improvements to social, digital, financial, and physical infrastructure. Connected DMV focuses on initiatives that span local jurisdictions and require collaboration across the public, private, academia, and community sectors to best achieve the dual objectives of enduring economic growth and social equity. Learn more: https://www.connecteddmv.org/