MARK IN THE NEWS
Pride Fund, HRC Mark Pulse Massacre Anniversary in D.C.
The Washington Blade
Or by mail and phone:
900 East Main Street, Suite E208
Richmond, VA 23219
301 King St
Alexandria, VA 22314
You do NOT want to miss...
Mark's Fourth Annual
Fireworks on the Potomac!
Saturday Night, July 7
7:30 to 10:30 pm
At Mark's House
with his Special Guests:
Mom and Dad!
My parents, Carolyn and Larry, taught me compassion and persistence.
There will also be a wide variety of after-dinner hors d'oeuvres, including Dave's famous meatballs and lots of vegetarian, vegan, and Kosher options. So please don't bring food.
On a more somber note...
Trump Continues to Separate Innocent Children from their Families
We are a nation of immigrants. It is un-American to deny due process or basic human rights to those who come here seeking asylum as my ancestors did and, quite probably, yours did as well.
I joined tens of thousands of Americans yesterday at the White House to protest this institutionalized child abuse by our Government.
Joining a Crowd of Tens of Thousands Protesting at the White House
And I spoke out forcibly against this policy at the Alexandria Vigil for Immigrant Families. You can hear what I said by clicking here or on the picture below:
We had a good crowd of caring, concerned people.
I also joined my Democratic colleagues in the House of Delegates in urging Virginia's Members of Congress to call on the Trump administration to end the unjust separation of immigrant families. Read our letter to the Virginia congressional delegation here.
In better news...
Federal Court Strikes Down Racial Gerrymandering
in the Virginia House of Delegates
The Virginia State Capitol and its House of Delegates wing at night
In Virginia and throughout the nation, the Republican Party has long believed that the best path to electoral victory is to pack a large amount of African-Americans in a few electoral districts so as to decrease their influence statewide.
This week, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals threw out Republican racial gerrymandering in the Virginia House of Delegates and ordered at least 11 Districts to be redrawn in time for the 2019 Elections. You can read the full 188-page opinion and dissent here.This means that Virginians might soon have a real and fair say in choosing who represents them in the House of Delegates where I sit!
This is exciting and could change the boundary lines of 20-25 districts in the Richmond area and southeast Virginia. In 2017, more than 1.3 million Virginians chose Democrats to represent them in the House of Delegates, while only about 1.075 million chose Republicans. Despite our landslide victory of more than 21%, this racial gerrymandering was a factor in the Republicans maintaining a slim 51-49 control over the chamber. Although the court decision won't affect political gerrymandering or partisan judicial decisions by Republican judges (other factors leading to the undemocratic control by Virginia's minority Republican Party), it surely will help us maintain and add seats in 2019.
I've reprinted the most important page from the decision below:
2018 Virginia Democratic Primary Winners
Congratulations to the winners of Virginia's primary elections on Tuesday, June 12.
In Alexandria, Democrats nominated Vice Mayor Justin Wilson for mayor, chose Del Pepper and John Chapman for re-election, and picked Canek Aguirre, Elizabeth Bennett-Parker, Amy Jackson, and Mo Seifeldein to join the three returning members. This means the majority of the Council will be new members next year. I strongly endorse all seven Democrats to be elected in November 2018.
In Arlington, congratulations are in order to Matt de Ferranti for earning the Democratic nomination for Arlington County Board. Unlike the Democratic nominees in Alexandria, he is likely to have a competitive general election in November, running against incumbent John Vihstadt for a seat on the Arlington County Board. I heartily endorse Matt and encourage Arlington folks to vote for him this November.
Thank You, Steve!
Steven Marku, my Chief of Staff who has been an indispensable help to me for three sessions as State Delegate, is moving on to a new position. I can't thank Steve enough for his dedication to serving the 45th District, and I wish him well in whatever he decides to do in the future.
Filling Steve's formidable shoes is Jacob Weinberg, who, many of you will recall, managed my campaign for Delegate in 2015. Jake is an experienced grassroots organizer who grew up in Fairfax. He most recently served as the Policy Manager for the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, and I look forward to tapping into his knowledge of immigration policy as we work to make Virginia a more welcoming and safe state for all immigrants. Jake, like Steve, is hard-working and smart. So while I expect it will take him a bit of time to learn his new responsibilities (be gentle with him during the transition!), I'm confident that he will soon take a good hold of the reins and do an excellent job.
Beyond Thoughts and Prayers:
Town Hall on Solutions to Gun Violence
After the Parkland shooting, I suggested that the House of Delegates hold a series of town halls throughout the Commonwealth this summer to discuss ways to reduce gun violence. So far, the entire House Democratic Caucus (but no Republicans yet) have taken me up on my suggestion. We are calling it the Safe Virginia Initiative. Our first town hall in Northern Virginia will be held this Thursday, July 5 at 6 pm at the ADAMS Center, a mosque located at 46903 Sugarland Road in Sterling. Please join us to offer more than thoughts and prayers. We aim to discuss meaningful efforts and necessary legislation to sharply reduce gun violence in Virginia and nationwide.
And we want to hear your ideas....
I'm Proud to Honor Third Baptist Church
for its Historic Contributions
to Alexandria's African-American Community
This past General Assembly session, I patroned the successful House Resolution 572, which honors the important place that Third Baptist Church holds in the history of our community, state, and nation. I was honored to present the General Assembly's commendation to the church on Saturday, June 23, speak there, and take part in the unveiling of their new historical marker.
With Pastor James Jordan and Leaders of the Third Baptist Church
Congratulations T.C. Williams Class of 2018!
T.C. Williams High School celebrated the graduation of 793 students on June 16. The class of 2018 is the largest group of graduating students in T.C. Williams' recent history, and they also have the largest number of students from a single class heading to college ― a 58 percent increase on last year. Congratulations, graduates!
While Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) are out for summer, ACPS will continue to offer free summer meals for youth 18 and younger at various recreation centers and schools throughout the City of Alexandria. Go to www.acps.k12.va.us/summerfood to learn more.
The July Mark's Monthly Meetup will be on Sunday, July 15th
Los Tios in Del Ray
(2615 Mount Vernon Avenue in Alexandria)
2 pm - 4 pm
Come discuss any issue on your mind.
It's OK to come late or leave early.
And if you miss July, there's always August or September. Every month, I make sure to be available in this informal setting for any constituent who wishes to discuss a concern or just say hello.
In the Community...
At D.C. Pride with constituents Kathleen and Julian Joshua.
At Alexandria's D-Day 74th Anniversary commemoration with Mayor Allison Silberberg.
At the signing of HB1087, which prohibits animal testing where alternatives exist.
Virginia is only the fourth state in the nation to adopt such restrictions on animal testing.
I was a co-patron of Delegate Jennifer Boysko's terrific bill.
At Senator Tim Kaine's rainbow roundtable discussion on gun violence during Pride.
Upcoming Events - Please Join Me!
(I personally participate in the events in red.)
Wednesday July 4
Rosemont 4th of July Celebration
Maury Elementary School
600 Russell Road, Alexandria
Thursday July 5
Safe Virginia Initiative: Beyond Thoughts and Prayers
46903 Sugarland Road, Sterling
Saturday July 7
4th Annual Fireworks on the Potomac
805 Rivergate Place, North Old Town, Alexandria
Saturday July 14
Parkfairfax 75th Anniversary Celebration
Spruce Island, Corner of Preston Road and Valley Drive
Sunday July 15
Mark's Monthly Meetup
Los Tios, 2615 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria
It is always my honor and privilege to serve you.
Delegate Mark Levine
Serving Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax in Virginia's 45th District