Miles provides a local voice where there previously was none

Published 4:22 pm Saturday, June 18, 2022

Thomas Jordan Miles III

Thomas Jordan Miles III is providing a local voice on the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission.

This commission, a group of 28 members from various localities in Virginia, was created by the General Assembly to promote growth and development in former tobacco-dependent communities. According to its website, the commission has awarded 2,285 grants totaling more than $1.17 billion across the tobacco region of the Commonwealth.

The commission focuses on providing loans and grants to help businesses grow, support public education and other projects like broadband.

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Miles decided to join the commission after realizing that the area he serves was not represented. He serves as Buckingham Board of Supervisors chairman as well as on the Commonwealth Regional Council, which represents seven counties including Amelia, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Lunenburg, Nottoway and Prince Edward. None of these localities were represented on the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission.

After a few needed phone calls in October 2020, Miles was recognized by former Gov. Ralph Northam as a member of the Commission. With Miles on the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission, Buckingham County along with the seven surrounding counties gained representation on the discussion of grants and funding.

“I am honored and humbled to work with officials in these localities,” said Miles.

As one of the commissioners, Miles serves on the executive committee, vice-chairman of the Southside Virginia Committee, Incentives and Loan Committee and Strategic Planning Committee.

Some of the projects Miles has already worked on as part of these committees include an innovation hub for Longwood University and Hampden-Sydney College. This will serve as a community co-working space, a digital makerspace where people can use an online platform to connect and share ideas and an educational outreach center. According to Miles, this hub will help train more employees for small and local businesses.

“My priority for the area is to start creating, developing and purchasing property to make it more suitable for medium to large businesses to locate,” Miles said.

According to Miles, he wants to bring more employers to Buckingham, Prince Edward and Cumberland counties or the Town of Farmville so that residents no longer have to drive to Richmond or Charlottesville for certain jobs. Knowing that some will prefer for the new business to be in their specific locality, he knows that bringing something to one will benefit the others.

The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission also awarded Prince Edward County a $530,100 grant for a water tank in the Prince Edward Heartland Innovation Technology (HIT) Park in May.

As he continues to serve and represent Buckingham and surrounding areas, Miles hopes to do what he can to help bring more jobs and opportunities to the area.

“Too often rural Virginia gets left behind and a lot of people need jobs in rural Virginia and they need their voices heard too,” said Miles. “Good jobs help raise people from poverty, give back to the community and do better for their families.”