Like all Virginians, I was stunned, devastated and heartbroken to hear the news out of Virginia Beach on Friday. Twelve innocent people lost their lives and others were injured at the hands of a coworker. In just thirty-five minutes of terror, Virginia Beach was changed. As of right now, Friday’s tragedy is considered the deadliest mass shooting of 2019—and it comes just on the heels of another mass shooting in nearby Chesapeake, where 8 people were wounded, and one person was killed.
Enough is Enough!
I stand strong in my belief that we CAN reduce gun violence through common sense gun safety proposals. We know that the status quo CANNOT continue. Rest assured that I am resolute that next year, we WILL pass legislation that will save lives. Furthermore, despite my frustration with many common sense proposals going nowhere in prior General Assembly sessions, I am willing to work with anyone, regardless of party label to reduce gun violence.
For those of you who are interested in helping the victims in Virginia Beach, the city has created a landing place which includes both donation and volunteer opportunities, please click here for more information.
George Mason Judicial and Legislative Reception
Recently, I was honored to receive the 2019 Dean’s List Medal for Legislative Excellence from George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School. The Dean’s Medals are awarded each year to honor judges, legislators and lawyers for careers in public service. I was so pleased to receive this award. Though I did not attend George Mason, I have made my home in Fairfax County for over 30 years and I have represented an area adjacent to the main campus for nearly a decade.
I am touched by the way the Mason community has welcomed me into the Patriot family. Upon learning that I was to receive this award, I reflected quite a bit on women who came before me when it came to the study of law. One that immediately came to mind was a longtime friend, colleague and “opera buddy” of the namesake of this law school. Of course, I am talking about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Ginsburg once said, “Fight for the things you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” Though Ginsburg only said that just a few years ago, the way she has lived that truth is reflected through her entire career. Her career inspired countless young women and men who went into law or government after her—myself included.
Ginsburg’s quote exemplifies my own approach to legislating and governing, that it is coming together and finding common ground that truly allows us to get things done. I believe we can solve so many problems in our world if we focus on where we can agree before we focus on where we disagree.
I was honored to join Congressman Gerry Connolly, Senator Dave Marsden, Supervisor John C. Cook and the VFW Post 5412 at the Burke Centre Conservancy to commemorate Memorial Day. It was a moving service as always. Phil Selz did a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem and it was special to watch Sam and Shirley DiBartolo, place a wreath at Burke Centre’s plaque in memory of those we’ve lost in military service. It was important to take a moment to reflect on the true meaning of Memorial Day, by honoring those men and women who have served and fallen defending our country. It is only because of them and their sacrifices that we can enjoy the liberty and freedom we celebrate and cherish today.
Autism Insurance Bill Signing
I was honored to stand with several of my colleagues, as well as advocates Teresa Champion, Mark Llobell and Sharon Cummings and so many others while the Governor signed into law legislation that removes the age cap for autism insurance coverage. This legislation will expand access to care for nearly 10,000 Virginians living with autism who are over the age of ten.
For years, it has been my honor to work alongside so many committed stakeholders in support of improving the lives of those living with autism. I have been proud to work with tireless advocates like Mark, Teresa and Sharon for many years on a variety of issues, including expanding autism insurance. They are examples of the power of everyday people who advocate fiercely for their loved ones. Watching the Governor sign the bill was a wonderful way to celebrate their advocacy in making our Commonwealth a better place.
Commending Resolution Presentations
I was pleased to present Dr. Jerry Gordon with a commending resolution that I introduced on the floor of the House recognizing his 35-year career with the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority and congratulating him on his retirement. Throughout his career, Dr. Gordon has led efforts to promote business in Fairfax County and has made tremendous contributions to the community and the Commonwealth as a whole. I am proud to have Jerry as a constituent and friend, and I am confident he will continue to make a difference in the community.
West Springfield High School
I enjoyed stopping by West Springfield High School earlier today to present a resolution to the Spartans’ baseball team. Last year, West Springfield defeated the defending champions Western Branch. I am proud of the efforts they put forth, just as I am proud of the achievements of all schools in the 41st District!