This past Friday, Christina Koch and Jessica Meir left the International Space Station and floated into the history books. The two women embarked on the first all-women space walk. They spent more than five hours outside the International Space Station on a mission to replace a failed power controller for the orbiting laboratory. They are the 64th and 65th women to ever travel to space. Their historic mission occurred 35 years after Svetlana Savitskaya departed her Soyuz craft to become the first woman in history to perform a space walk.
Both women already had an impressive array of accomplishments. Koch’s resume includes being an Electrical Engineer in the Space Department of the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University focusing on space science instrument development as well as several completed tours of Palmer Station in Antarctica and multiple winter seasons at Summit Station in Greenland. Meir is also the first Jewish American woman in space, and the daughter of Israeli and Swedish immigrants. Meir holds a PhD in in marine biology and her research focused on the diving physiology of emperor penguins and northern elephant seals. She is currently on a leave of absence from her job as an assistant professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. I commend these incredibly impressive women for their courage, tenacity and perseverance and I cannot wait to see more women in space and in STEM in general.
Remember, Election Day–November 5th— is less than a month away, but it is not too early to start voting. In-person absentee voting (for 20 qualified reasons) is now available at the Fairfax County Government Center, and at seven satellite locations throughout the county. You can find the nearest satellite voting location here. Saturday in-person absentee voting is also available through November 2nd. If you prefer to obtain an absentee ballot by mail, the deadline for submitting a completed application is Tuesday, October 29th at 5 PM. If you would like information on mail-in absentee voting, please visit this site or contact me directly.
REAL ID Event
On October 12th, I thoroughly enjoyed hosting “DMV 2 Go,” a program of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles’ mobile office on wheels, for a special REAL ID event at the Pohick Regional Library in Burke. Between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. area residents could visit the DMV2Go to upgrade their driver’s license or identification card to a REAL ID, as well as complete other DMV transactions. The weather could not have more perfect. Click here to read the article about it.
Believe it or not, my history with Virginia’s REAL ID program extends further back than my tenure in the House. In 2005, while I served as the Deputy Director of the Virginia Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, I sat on Governor Warner’s inaugural REAL ID Taskforce, formed just months after the federal REAL ID Act was signed into law.
Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, Virginians who want to continue to use their state-issued driver’s license or identification card as the ID required for purposes such as boarding an airplane, will need to upgrade their current credential to a REAL ID, but they can still present an alternative form of federally approved identification such as a passport or some military IDs. Rest assured if you missed the Pohick REAL ID event, you can always visit a local DMV office and I will plan on holding at least one more REAL ID event in the future with DMV 2 GO as well.
Northern Virginia Association of Realtors Politics and Pancakes Breakfast
I thoroughly enjoyed attending the annual Politics and Pancakes breakfast hosted by the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors®. Ann Compton, White House Correspondent gave us her thoughts on today’s political climate and shared personal stories from her years in the White House. It was great to be with so many Realtor friends and constituents. I appreciate their important contribution to our region.
As the weather cools, there are a number of exciting fall festivals in Fairfax. Fairfax Family Fun has a list of many fun fall activities in our area for individuals and families! Although I still think you cannot go wrong with a walk through Burke Lake Park this time of year, click here to see the myriad other opportunities in our county!
Remembering Elijah Cummings and Alan Diamonstein
It was tough to learn of the passing of two tireless Democratic legislators. Congressman Elijah Cummings was a true man of honor and duty who cared deeply about his community, our country and our democratic way of government. His wife put it best, “He worked until his last breath because he believed our democracy was the highest and best expression of our collective humanity and that our nation’s diversity was our promise, not our problem.”
Additionally, I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my friend, former Delegate, House Democratic Caucus Chair and DPVA Chair, Alan Diamonstein. His dedication to moving Virginia forward never wavered. I will always be grateful for his friendship and wise counsel throughout the years and even as recently as weeks ago. The Commonwealth is a better place because of Alan and I know many of us will miss him dearly.
Space Heater Safety
As the weather cools, it is important to consider that space heaters are a major cause of many home fires. If you are using a space heater, please consider viewing this safety video recommended by Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department.
I wanted to close with a quick congratulations to the Washington Mystics on their first WNBA title as well as the Washington Nationals on clinching the NLCS Championship and becoming the first DC baseball team in decades to head to the World Series. Like you, I know it is long overdue for this region to bring home a World Series Trophy.