Wednesday is September 11th. On that day we again remember and honor the precious lives lost eighteen years ago in New York, here in the Commonwealth, and in Pennsylvania. We are also thankful for the incredible first responders who risked their lives to save so many. We will never forget.
Additionally, please take a moment to think of those affected by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas, Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas and even to some extent in Hampton Roads. The devastation in the Bahamas in particular is immense. If you are interested in donating to charity to help victims of Dorian, please click here for Charity Navigator’s list of reputable non-profits.
Our own Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team has been deployed to the Bahamas as part of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) responding to Hurricane Dorian. The FCFRD USAR team consists of 57 people and four rescue dogs. They will be working in coordination with the Government of The Bahamas to conduct search and rescue missions, as well as conducting critical operations.
September is National Preparedness Month. This is a time to focus on family and community disaster and emergency planning both now and throughout the year. The 2019 theme is “Prepared, Not Scared.” Fairfax County Emergency Services has a great guide on how you can plan for disasters. Click here to read more about it.
Joint Committee on Technology and Science
On August 28th, I was in Richmond for a meeting of the Joint Commission on Technology and Science (JCOTS). We started out with a presentation from my colleague, Delegate Lashrecse Aird and also Sunny Singh on the future of artificial intelligence (AI) and facial recognition. The presentation covered the many positive points of AI and facial recognition but also pointed out potential risks of not managing these technologies which included: a decrease in human jobs (automation), a decrease in privacy, an increase in bias & disparities, an increase in the potential for cybercrime and an increase in the potential costs for healthcare, public safety and education. Following this presentation, we heard an update from the Virginia Aviation Business Association on their workforce development efforts as well as their legislative priorities.
Labor Day with the Northern Virginia Labor Federation
Last Sunday, I enjoyed an early Labor Day celebration with many friends from the Northern Virginia Labor Federation and other colleagues, elected officials and candidates. I am grateful to be able to work with our partners in labor on many important issues. They have fought tirelessly for just working conditions, fair wages, economic opportunity, access to affordable health care and family friendly policies. Virginia is ranked last in the nation in workers’ rights and protections. This is unacceptable. We have to stand up and support our workers in the same manner they support our economy and communities.
Burke Centre Festival
One of my favorite events of the year is the Burke Centre Festival. This year, we had fabulous weather both days. From community booths (such as a very informative booth from the Burke Historical Society) to face painting to shopping to music and dance performances, there was something for everyone. I particularly enjoyed joining Congressman Gerry Connolly, Supervisor John Cook, the Burke chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the Boy Scouts at the opening ceremonies. I am so proud that the vibrant Burke community is in the heart of my district. I look forward to many more years representing the Conservancy and its residents.
Like most, if not all of you, I am ready for the Franconia Springfield Metro station, as well as the other closed stops on the blue and yellow lines south of National Airport to reopen. You might have noticed test trains running over the weekend, but as of 5:00 AM this morning, Metro is back up and running. With the return of rail service, Metro has stopped running shuttle buses from the stations, although some shuttles will remain on standby in the event of a disruption. In addition, regular parking fees have resumed today. You may also see some continuation of tile installation at Franconia-Springfield’s station.
New improvements to all of these stations include stainless-steel platform shelters with charging outlets/ports, slip-resistant tiles on the platforms and in the mezzanine areas, energy-efficient LED lighting throughout the station, additional Passenger Information Display (PIDS) screens and improved speakers for clearer public announcements and emergency notifications. Lastly, at Franconia-Springfield, customers will now board all trains from one side of the platform.
Fairfax County Firefighters Fill The Boot Campaign
I am sure you saw Fairfax County Firefighters in the medians during Labor Day Weekend, collecting contributions for their “Fill the Boot” campaign to benefit the Greater Washington Muscular Dystrophy Association, as well as for hurricane disaster relief. Thanks to the generosity of the citizens and visitors, Fairfax County has been a leader in this nationwide campaign, raising $447,571. Thank you to our amazing first responders for breaking records in the “fill the boot” campaign and leading the country in money raised again this year!
Upcoming Football Games for High Schools Located in the 41st District
- West Springfield vs. Lee (September 12, 7:00 PM) (Away)
- West Springfield vs. Lee (September 13, 7:00 PM) (Home)
- Lake Braddock vs. Hayfield (September 13, 7:00PM) (Away)
- Woodson vs. Mt. Vernon (September 13, 7:00 PM) (Away)
- Robinson vs. Langley (September 13, 7:00 PM) (Away)