Exciting news out of Washington yesterday and a true victory for Virginia voters, especially in the Richmond and Hampton Roads regions. Yesterday morning, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the House Republicans did not have the standing to challenge a lower court’s decision that struck down racially gerrymandered Virginia House Districts. This is an important day for voting rights and civil rights. For far too long many Virginians voted in districts drawn to benefit the incumbents. We can reaffirm that Virginia voters should be choosing their representatives, not the other way around.
I am pleased that so many Virginians will have the opportunity to vote in fair districts this year. This is a victory for good government.
Special Session in July
Recently in Alexandria, I joined several of my General Assembly colleagues, as well as local officials for a vigil in memory of those killed and injured by gun violence. Taking place after the loss of innocent lives in Virginia Beach, it was a moving program. Many of the speakers called for action beyond just “thoughts and prayers”. I have been a strong advocate for common sense gun safety legislation for almost 20 years. Since being elected to the House of Delegates, I have introduced gun safety legislation throughout my tenure, and each time, it has failed on a party line vote. When it comes to guns, doing nothing is not an option.
It is why on June 4th, I joined my colleagues and the Governor to announce a special session (which will take place on July 9th), during which we will take up another package of life-saving common sense gun safety bills. Time and time again, we have fought to pass these bills, but each time we have been blocked by our Republican colleagues. Once again, we are asking that they work with us to pass this vital legislation. I hope they will be willing to do so on July 9th.
Last week, Fairfax County residents had the opportunity to participate in several Democratic primary elections including Chair (county wide), Commonwealth’s Attorney (county wide), Supervisor (Braddock, Providence, Lee, Hunter Mill) as well as several state House and State Senate races. Congratulations to all of the winners. I look forward to their success in November. To those that were not successful, I appreciate their willingness to step up and run.
Graduation season is now finished. I enjoy attending these ceremonies every June and I am so excited to see what the graduates of Lake Braddock, Robinson, West Springfield and Woodson will do with their lives in the future. Congratulations to all of the seniors, their families and thank you to our amazing teachers and administrators for another great year!
Greater Washington Good Business Awards
I appreciated the opportunity to join the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce at their Greater Washington Good Business Awards. Each year, the Chamber honors individuals, businesses and nonprofits that make a positive impact in the region. It was a wonderful moment to thank Jennifer Sicilano for her service to the Chamber as Chair this past year and to congratulate Todd Rowley on becoming the new Chair of the Chamber. I was also pleased to see such well-deserved honors bestowed on my friend Rebecca Geller as the Emerging Leader of the Year as well as to our Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova as the NOVAForward Legacy Award winner.
On Saturday, I started my morning at the Charlottesville Democrats Breakfast honoring Delegate and Leader Emeritus David Toscano for his tremendous career in public service. Former Governor Terry McAuliffe, Former Delegate Bob Brink and my colleagues Delegates Mark Sickles and Charniele Herring also spoke.
David has played so many important roles as Charlottesville City Councilor, Mayor, Delegate, Democratic Leader and now Democratic Leader Emeritus. Particularly memorable to me is his impressive grasp of the House Rules and his quick thinking on the floor. It was a great tribute to a fabulous Delegate, friend and advocate. We will miss him in the General Assembly next January.
Car Seat Law Goes Into Effect on July 1
Though the bulk of 2019 legislation goes into effect on July 1st, I also wanted to take a moment to point out that HB 708, which I introduced and passed in 2018 will also go into effect on July 1st of this year. Moving forward in Virginia, children will be required to be put into rear-facing child seats until they are two years old or until they grow out of the seat, according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. The fact is, per the American Academy of Pediatrics, “children are 75 percent less likely to die or have a serious injury during a crash if they’re in a rear-facing child seat.” Passing this law was pure common sense to me. We have to ensure that our children are safe on the road. You can read more about the law by clicking here.