This week was the single busiest of the year for us. It was Peak Week, the middle week of the three full weeks before “Crossover”, that magical mid-session date when each House of the General Assembly finishes its business and puts its approved legislation into the lap of the other House (February 7 this year).  We have to move more than 1000 House Bills before Crossover! Because 99% of House bills have to go through Committee first – and 90% of the time an additional Subcommittee as well – it’s a crazy busy time.

Last weekend, in Alexandria, we could not quite compete with the Women's March, but we still had quite a very large crowd by our standards as 1,000 people from Alexandria, Arlington, and throughout Northern Virginia came together to demand affordable health care at the Charles Houston Recreation Center. I spoke, along with Congressman Don Beyer, Congressman Gerry Connolly, Senator Mark Warner, Delegate Patrick Hope, and so many of our local leaders.

I will be running for re-election in 2017 and could use your help. Plus we can use the funds raised to help elect Democrats throughout the Commonwealth. This is your last chance to hear what's on tap for the 2017 session and what I will be working on. I'm eager to hear from you about your priorities. 

On Christmas Eve and the First Night of Chanukah, I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, a Happy Kwanzaa, and a Happy New Year! I hope that everyone has a wonderful holiday season.

This year, I introduced a bill to help survivors, spoke out several times on the Floor on the topic, and obtained a successful budget amendment to help abused children. I also became one of only three legislators to attend the Richmond meetings of Virginia's Advisory Committee on Sexual and Domestic Violence (founded and ably chaired by Arlington's own Senator Barbara Favola). In addition, I joined a local task force to focus on Northern Virginia survivors that included Senator Favola, Arlington County Board Member Katie Cristol, Alexandria Vice Mayor Justin Wilson, and a number of local dedicated professionals serving the community.

Please join us for Mark's Monthly Meetup at 1:30 pm tomorrow, Saturday October 29th at Los Tios Mexican Grill in Del Ray, located at 2615 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria. Like all Mark's Monthly Meetups, there is no donation required. It's just a place to sit and talk and, for most of us, eat. I always want to know what's on the mind of my constituents and supporters.