Representing Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax

Needless to say, there's a lot going on in Virginia and in this newsletter! The January-February 2021 Session is around the corner. Like the Special Session, it will be virtual, the first virtual regular session in Virginia history. In odd-numbered years, we only work 6 1/2 weeks (46 days), and Republicans this year want to limit us to only 30 days. The short session will severely limit our traditional output.

Tomorrow (Tuesday, November 3) is Election Day, a day many of us have waited four long years to arrive. The polls will be open from 6 am to 7 pm. If you're in line before 7 pm, you can still vote.

I know most of you have voted already. But not all of you. If you -- or anyone you know -- has not yet cast a ballot, you and they must vote tomorrow.

If you have an absentee ballot, do not put it in the mail. It's too late. Just go to your polling place with it. You can cast it there or, if you've made a mistake, you can give it to them to discard and vote a new ballot there.

And on November 3, a week from Tuesday -- a mere 10 days from now -- the United States will undergo its most important election in our lifetimes. You can find out where to vote in the City of Alexandria and how to vote early by clicking here or by reading to the bottom of this newsletter (where I also have information on Arlington and Fairfax).

Make a plan to vote! Put it on your calendar NOW. I voted earlier this week in-person at Alexandria's early voting location, 132 N. Royal Street, right across the street from City Hall.  After voting for Biden, Warner, and Beyer - and voting NO on Amendment 1 to protect Virginia from enshrining gerrymandering into our Constitution - I spent some time with No on 1 Alexandria volunteer extraordinaire Alex Sprague talking with voters before they headed into the polls. 

No doubt Amendment 1 is convoluted and complicated. It was designed to be. When those who want to gerrymander Virginia are deceptively couching such an effort as "reform", things get pretty complicated. If Republicans use Amendment 1 to re-gerrymander Virginia back in their favor in 2021, Democrats will not have power to amend it again. Republicans could then lock themselves into permanent gerrymandered power the way they have in Wisconsin, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, etc.  But they would have an advantage in Virginia. Because, unlike those other states, the Virginia Legislature appoints the Virginia Supreme Court -- and because Amendment excludes the Governor from having any role -- this would be a permanent revolving door of court appoints legislature appoints court appoints legislature. And voters could never stop it, unless we got a massive supermajority (60%? 65%?) to defeat the statewide partisan political gerrymander.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg taught men at the highest levels of power – and they were all men in the days she began her crusade – that gender, like race, is a construct. That the differences between men and women had been magnified by culture and centuries of unquestioned belief into ridiculous stereotypes. That gender roles confined women and men into prisons of conformity and put hurdles in the way of our individual pursuits of happiness. That women could be the best lawyers and have the finest legal minds. That men could be the kindest parents and caregivers. That the government had no business forcibly assigning us into designated slots. That we are all human. That those who would forcibly delineate male or female roles for us were as damaging to human freedom as the radical authoritarian states that would choose our professions for us.

Last week, I told you about the Good Apples Act, HB5112, my bill that requires law enforcement (the "Good Apples") to report the wrongdoing of their fellow officers (the "Bad Apples"). I'm happy to report it passed on Friday, by a vote of 54-43, on a party-line vote. It now must pass through the Senate and be signed by the Governor before it becomes law.