Gray calls for colleges to help drive city’s ‘new economy’

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray outlined his vision for the city's "new economy" in his State of the District speech at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue Tuesday evening. Elise Apelian | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Spencer Fogel.

D.C. could rival technology hub Silicon Valley in fostering talent and growing businesses with help from the city’s universities, Mayor Vincent Gray said in his State of the District address Tuesday evening.

In front of a packed audience at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, Gray outlined three priorities to craft “the city of our dreams” – a growing and diversified “new economy,” preparing District residents for new jobs and improving the quality of life in the city.

He also briefly touched on his perennial plea for the District to become the 51st state “before the Moon does.”

The “new economy” would be less reliant on the federal government and real estate development which he said are ad hoc and reactive.

“Instead, our comprehensive plan for creating a new economy must result in a diversified, more resilient and more balanced approach to economic growth,” he said.

He singled out the technology sector as an industry that could spur D.C.’s economy, pointing to successful companies like LivingSocial that started in the District.

GW is already facilitating the effort to put the city’s “new economy” in motion, Gray told The Hatchet. He said his administration has plans to travel with GW School of Business Dean Doug Guthrie to China to help the city build relationships with international businesses.

Gray also spoke of GW as an institution that could boost D.C.’s competitive edge, adding that it also stimulates the city’s economy.

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