Back to School
With schools reopening today, I want to wish good luck to all of the students, teachers, parents and administrators on a new school year! A special thank you to all the incredible teachers and administrators who care for our children every day and encourage them to become the very best they can be.
And for parents, I wanted to be sure you knew about FCPS’ newest app, Here Comes the Bus®. This provides parents with real-time tracking of bus locations through text or email alerts. Additionally, Here Comes the Bus® combines bus routing data and GPS in an easy-to-use, customizable app that works on one or multiple devices including smartphones, tablets and computers. The app also includes FCPS’ bus delay notification tool. For more information about Here Comes the Bus® or to sign up, click here.
Commemoration of the 400th Anniversary of the First Landing of Enslaved Africans to Virginia
Saturday morning, I drove down with my colleagues to Fort Monroe in Hampton for American Evolution’s commemoration of the 400th Anniversary of when the first enslaved Africans were brought to Virginia. Fort Monroe has a complicated and interesting story in American history. It was a long-time military fort, as well as the site that Jefferson Davis was imprisoned after the Civil War. Fort Monroe, along with the now-decommissioned Fort Wool, would have served as a key defense of Hampton Roads had either World War One or World War Two been brought to American shores.
Finally, after its closure as part of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC). Fort Monroe became a national monument. On Saturday, we reflected on the location’s most infamous historical mark—as the aforementioned site where the first enslaved Africans were brought to Virginia.
Saturday was a solemn occasion marked with inspiring speeches and even an original poem from acclaimed poet and Virginia Tech professor Nikki Giovanni. Even so, it was the words of Brycen Dildy, a Virginia Beach Middle School student who touched me the most. He said, “I challenge you to let today also be a celebration of your commitment to become a more kind and caring individual to all!” For such a young man, he has an important and timeless message. You can watch his remarks by clicking here.
I was back in Richmond for several meetings last week. First was a meeting of the Joint Rules Committee, on which I serve. We nominated Kenji Bunion to a second term on the Commonwealth Health Research Board and appropriated money to the Commission on the Centennial of the Women’s Right to Vote.
Shortly after, I attended the joint meeting of the House Appropriations and House and Senate Finance Committees. There, Governor Northam gave an update on the state of the Commonwealth’s finances. Virginia ended fiscal year 2019 with a surplus of $797 million (although much of that money already is obligated for items such as water quality and taxpayer relief). Additionally, the Commonwealth put $344.4 million into our reserves, which will bring total reserve funding to $1.6 billion—the highest amount ever—by 2021. The Governor also announced that his Administration has secured $20 billion in investment since taking office in January 2018. This economic development has created over 51,000 new jobs across the Commonwealth.
Following Governor Northam’s remarks, Secretary Aubrey Layne gave an in depth presentation about the Commonwealth’s finances. You can watch the full committee meeting by clicking here.
After the abrupt adjournment of the Special Session in July, the Crime Commission met for two special meetings on Monday and Tuesday of last week. On Monday, subject matter experts testified. On Tuesday, all bill patrons had the opportunity to speak (albeit for only 3 minutes each) and following presentations, the Commission listened to public comment.
I was proud of my colleagues who stood up in support of eight common sense pieces of legislation that would make Virginia safer. Delegates Charniele Herring and Paul Krizek were the only two Democrats on the Commission. They well represented our caucus during the two day hearing.
The statement released by Delegates Herring and Krizek sums up my opinion, “Taken in aggregate and individually, the presentations showed clearly that legislation like an Extreme Risk Protective Order, universal background checks, and a ban on high-capacity magazines have been proven effective at reducing gun homicides, suicides, and accidents in states that have enacted them…This testimony was valuable, but it could have been presented during regular committee hearings during the special session – hearings in which legislators could take the necessary and long-delayed votes on these bills.”
Additionally, the Crime Commission is still accepting written comments in regard to the legislation introduced during the 2019 Special Session. You can send written comments and any other relevant information or material via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via postal mail to their office (address is below). Written comments will be shared with members of the Crime Commission. The deadline for submission of written comments is September 30, 2019, at 11:59 p.m.
Attn: Written Comments
Virginia State Crime Commission
1111 East Broad Street, Ste. B036
Richmond, Virginia 23219
House Page Program
Just a reminder, each year, the Speaker of the House of Delegates appoints students ages 13-14 years old from across the Commonwealth to serve as House pages during the regular session of the General Assembly. These young people assist members in the House of Delegates, as well as the House Clerk’s staff and other legislative staff in the countless daily duties required for the successful operation of the House during the Legislative Session.
The online application to serve as a Page in the House of Delegates during the 2020 Legislative Session is open and closes Tuesday, October 31 at 5:00 pm. The application may be accessed at the bottom of the Capitol Classroom Page information section on the Virginia General Assembly website or by clicking here.
Each completed application requires a personal endorsement from the applicant’s Delegate. Therefore, it is the applicant’s responsibility to contact me to request this endorsement if they live in the 41st District. I hope I will receive many applications from our area. Interested students may contact me by emailing email@example.com.
Mantua in the News
I was excited to learn of the NBC 4 profile of some compassionate young constituents in Mantua. These young people spent a day giving back to the community. Click here to see the work they did to help those in need!