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**THURSDAY ADVISORY** – 1st Legislative District Economic Development Task Force to Hold Hearing on South Jersey Drone Industry

Senator Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May and Cumberland) speaks at a news conference to Urge Horizon and Children’s Hospital to Come to Agreement.

TRENTON – Senator Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May/Cumberland/Atlantic) today announced a meeting of the First Legislative District Economic Development Task Force will be held Thursday to take testimony regarding the drone industry and its potential impact on the economy of the district and the surrounding region.

 The task force will also discuss the next steps forward in the effort to improve economic conditions in the 1st Legislative district by strengthening local industries. The district includes Cape May, Cumberland and Atlantic counties.

“South Jersey has the potential to serve as an international hub for drone technology testing and advancement. We already have important assets in place, including a drone test site at the Cape May County Airport, and research and development taking place in the region,” said Senator Van Drew, chair of the task force. “We want to leverage these assets to grow this high-tech industry, which will contribute to job creation and economic growth. Hearing from businesses, academia and researchers actively involved in the industry is important to making sure the right tools are available at the state level to support this effort.”

The Cape May County Airport is currently the location of an “unmanned aerial vehicle” testing and demonstration site, authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The region is a prime location for growth of the drone industry, complemented by the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center in Egg Harbor Township, where the Stockton Aviation Research & Technology Park is located.

The task force will take testimony from representatives of higher education, public research facilities and businesses involved in the drone industry.

The meeting will be held Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 1:00 PM at the Campus Center, Board of Trustees Room, Stockton University, 101 Vera King Farris Drive, Galloway, NJ 08205-9441.