Nine days and fifty years ago, a young former test pilot slowly descended down from the ladder of the lunar module Eagle. Millions of Americans peered at their television screens as Neil Armstrong’s voice crackled through their stereoes.
That’s one small step for man…one giant leap for mankind.
I was only five when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked, planted an American flag and even golfed on the moon, but the work these men and their countless support staff undertook laid the foundation for so many Americans for years to come including one young man in particular who grew up in the 41st District.
Kjell Lindgren graduated as valedictorian of Robinson Secondary School, where he was a star three-sport athlete and an Eagle Scout. Kjell attended the United States Air Force Academy for college, earned three master’s degrees from Colorado State University, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Texas, a medical degree from the University of Colorado and received certifications in emergency and aerospace medicine. Finally, in 2015, inspired by the historic footsteps of Aldrin and Armstrong, Kjell fulfilled a childhood dream to explore outer space when he was selected from a pool of 3,500 applicants to take part in Expeditions 44 and 45 to the International Space Station. He became the sixth alumnus of Fairfax County Public Schools to visit outer space.
I have had the opportunity to meet Kjell twice, once in 2016 to present him with a commending resolution and again in 2018 when he came to Richmond to bring me a flag flown in space (which now hangs in the hallway near my General Assembly office). Like Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, I am incredibly grateful for his service and look forward to seeing the next generation of 41st District residents who are ready to reach for the stars.
Special Session Recap Panel
Last week, I had the opportunity to join a panel hosted by the Providence Democrats about the recent and all-too-short Special Session in Richmond. I was proud to join my friends and colleagues Delegate Marcus Simon & Delegate Mark Keam as well as my friend and constituent Heather Foglio from Moms Demand Action on this panel. We discussed the common sense gun violence prevention legislation proposed by Virginia House Democrats, the shocking prompt adjournment of the session and how we all can move forward. As I stated in the previous edition of the enews, though the catalyst for the session was the tragedy in Virginia Beach, many of us came to Richmond to try, once again, to pass meaningful gun violence prevention legislation. The fact remains, since the Virginia Tech tragedy, 11,000 Virginians have been killed by guns. Yesterday, we learned of yet another tragedy in Gilroy, California where a gunman opened fire, killing three and injuring a dozen others. This is a problem that shows no signs of disappearing. As legislators, we cannot abdicate our responsibility to keep people safe.
Make your voice heard with the Crime Commission
One of the ways that you can make your voice heard about the special session is through the Crime Commission. All gun safety related measures were referred there earlier this month. The Crime Commission has scheduled two meetings in August to discuss and review this. Both meetings will take place in the the House Committee Room of the Pocahontas Building, 900 East Main Street, Richmond, Virginia, 23219 and are open to the public.
On Monday, August 19th (10:00 AM), the agenda will consist of a variety of presenters from agencies and organizations. Tuesday, August 20th (12:00 PM) will allow for public comment for the first 3 hours (more details will be announced in the next few weeks on how to sign up to speak). Following that, patrons will then present their bills. As of right now, there are about 60 bills that have been filed, you can click here to see them and others.
Additionally, you can submit written comment to the Crime Commission via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to:
Attn: Written Comments
Virginia State Crime Commission
1111 East Broad Street, Ste. B036
Richmond, Virginia 23219.
Please note that all written comments will be shared with members of the Crime Commission. Additional details regarding the deadline for submitting written comments will be announced following the August 20th Crime Commission meeting.
Though we are all anxious to once again use the Franconia Springfield Metro Station not far from the 41st District, I wanted to share some interim updates as they repair the station. In addition to a complete reconstruction of station platforms, Metro is also bringing on the following improvements:
- Stainless-steel platform shelters conveniently equipped with USB charging ports
- Passenger Information Displays (PIDS) with larger 55-inch digital screens
- New platform intercom speakers for clearer public announcements and emergency notifications
- New, non-slip tile throughout the stations
Additionally, Franconia-Springfield’s pedestrian bridge will get a fresh coat of paint. Stations are slated to re-open after Labor Day. You can read more about the improvements by clicking here. In the meantime, if you have not tried it already, where possible, I encourage using the Virginia Railway Express to get to work. There are two stations right in the district: Burke Centre and Rolling Road.
As we continue to recover from the storms earlier this month, I wanted to be sure you knew about the disaster damage database that exists for Fairfax County. While we are all grateful for the prompt fix to Prosperity Avenue last week, I am sure some homeowners may still be assessing their damage. The database is designed to allow residents to report residential damage caused by emergencies like hurricanes, tropical storms, earthquakes, fires, snow or other disasters. Your submission of this information to Fairfax County is wholly voluntary. You can click here to read more.