BOTETOURT CO., Va. -

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe spoke for the first time about Attorney General Mark Herring's decision to not defend Virginia's law banning gay marriage.

Governor McAuliffe says he ran on a jobs platform and a ban on gay marriage isn't good for the Virginia economy.

"Listen, we want, we're welcome and open to everybody. We gotta make sure we're bringing in the best innovators, the best scientists from all over the globe. You gotta have an opening and welcoming environment," McAuliffe said.

House Republicans introduced a bill that allows the legislature to enforce the laws the executive branch doesn't, like this gay marriage ban.

That bill made it through committee today.   

This was McAuliffe's first visits to the region. He was in Botetourt County to talk education.

He and Education Secretary Anne Holton were at the Greenfield Education and Training Center learning about the high school technical, or STEM programs, they want to continue investing in.

Botetourt is one of many rural counties that stands to lose state funding for education because of a variety of factors like population growth.

McAuliffe hopes one of his budget amendments will help rural school districts like Botetourt by providing half of the funding they stood to lose.

He says programs like the one he toured today are perfect examples of why the state needs to help rural counties and continue investing in these STEM programs.

"This is a win-win for everybody. It helps the community colleges, it helps the students, it saves the families money. But what I love is it's getting them interested early on in these STEM-H fields," McAuliffe said.