Starting Saturday, April 30 at 1:30 pm and continuing the last Saturday of every month through the end of the year, I will host "Mark's Monthly Meet-Up" at Cafe Del Ray, 205 E. Howell Avenue.
Please join us upstairs at this lovely Del Ray French restaurant for my very first one. We will sit and talk and discuss and eat. I love to know what's on my mind of constituents and other supporters. And I'm looking forward to this becoming a monthly tradition.
With the 2016 General Assembly Session concluded (except for our post-veto session next week), I've gone back to my other day job as a television commentator and radio host. Here are some recent clips:
After session, I hosted a local Television show with two of my favorite people in the General Assembly, Senator Barbara Favola and Delegate Marcus Simon to discuss what happened this year in Richmond. Click here to watch this one-hour report.
I've also been in the news a lot. You can always find press clips in the Left Column of my newsletter.
The fight to protect our families from gun violence doesn’t end in Richmond. Unfortunately, a gun store has just opened in an Arlington residential neighborhood near a pre-school and day-care center. Supported by the National Rifle Association and vast numbers of people from outside of our community, this store sells military-grade weaponry--including the semi-automatic firearms favored by terrorists and other mass shooters--and even fully automatic machine guns.
Given Virginia's notoriously lax gun laws requiring no background checks for private resales and the frequent robberies of gun stores in Virginia, these dangerous weapons will no doubt soon find their ways into the hands of drug gangs, mass murderers, and domestic-abusers. I suppose that's why the gun store brags about its proximity to Washington DC and Maryland (which have far stricter gun laws). They hope to be the criminal arms supplier for the entire East Coast!
Unfortunately, Virginia Law gives no power to local citizens or local government to prevent this unwanted new "neighbor" from diminishing their property values and threatening their children. That's why I was proud to stand with the 90% of citizens of Lyon Park and Ashton Heights who are speaking out against this menace to their currently peaceful community.
Virginians across the Commonwealth gathered in twelve different cities to rally in favor of reducing carbon emissions. I was honored to speak at the Sierra Club’s rally in Alexandria in support of transitioning to clean, renewable energy.
In the General Assembly, Republicans voted not to allow Virginia's Governor to participate in President Obama's Clean Power Plan. Instead they want to force the US Environmental Protection Agency to impose a plan on Virginia. How ironic that GOP representatives of southeast Virginia--a place so severely in danger of flooding from rising oceans (the second most precarious spot in the USA)--would support imperiling their own communities.
I'm proud Governor McAuliffe vetoed the measure and will work hard next week to defend that veto (technically, a Governor's amendment) in the reconvened session on April 20.
Speaking of reconvening, I will travel back down to Richmond for several days next week in preparation for our reconvened session. In this session, we will consider 89 bills: Governor McAuliffe's 32 vetos and 57 recommendations.
I'm reviewing the Governor's vetos and recommendations now. If you have views on any of them, please do not hesitate to write me at DelMLevine@house.virginia.gov.
I'm confident that the vast majority of the time I will stand with the Governor. One prominent exception is the Governor's recommendation to allow execution drugs to be obtained in secrecy without scrutiny. I will oppose this particular recommendation (HB 815).
The Social Studies classes at TC Williams asked me to speak to them regarding political advocacy. We had a wonderful two-hour exchange of ideas. I gave them various practical steps to implement progressive change. I told them of my history both as a citizen activist and as a Congressional lawyer. And I advised them how they on the outside could help me on the inside.
The students and I both really enjoyed the fast-paced discussion. So fast-paced, unfortunately, that I did not get any pictures. So if any students read this newsletter, please post some pictures on my Delegate Page on Facebook so I can share them with the larger community.
I can’t wait to watch these passionate, intelligent students become more involved in the community in the years to come.
The examples above are a small snapshot of what I've been doing since session ended in mid-March. I went down to Richmond to attend the meeting of the Advisory Committee on Sexual and Domestic Violence. I've attended meetings of various labor groups, four Chambers of Commerce, and Crisis Intervention Teams of law enforcement. I've reported to Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax Democrats; the Alexandria City Council; the SALT Richmond Wrap-Up Forum; Stop Child Abuse Now; and Leadership Arlington. And, of course, I regularly meet with constituents.
I've been very busy but loving every minute. There's so much that needs to be done. And it is always my honor and privilege to serve you.
Delegate Mark Levine
Serving Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax
in Virginia's 45th District