If you read my newsletter sent to you that morning, I explained in some detail the great significance of that day and why I chose to attend the 400th Commemorative Ceremonial Session. I explained how the very restricted and problematic representative democracy of land-owning free Christian white Englishmen that began at Jamestown gradually improved over time to encompass an entire population in fifty states and become the foundation for the still-imperfect (but much better than 1619!) representative democracy that is today the United States of America.
Given my strong feelings that Donald Trump is not just a president I disagree with but the illegitimate embodiment of the greatest threat to American representative democracy in my lifetime, I cannot support him giving the keynote address at Jamestown today. Given my proud support for representative democracy, it is incumbent upon me -- as your representative, on its 400th anniversary here -- to protest Donald Trump's contempt for the United States of America and for all that makes us great as a nation, including our diverse population, our long history as a haven for immigrants, and our representative democracy, replete with freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and equality under the law.
Immigrants and refugees make America a better place and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.
Every single day, the occupant of the White House makes clear he doesn't see things the same way. He's fine with the ones who are not black or brown (and has married some of them). But he sees black and brown immigrants and refugees as less than human, a way for him consolidate his power within his racist base.
Last week, I spoke at a Lights for Liberty vigil in Market Square, Alexandria, where hundreds of Alexandrians came together to say, "Not in our name!" I used Biblical imagery, comparing those of us who welcome immigrants to the Sea of Galilee and those of us who shun immigrants to the Dead Sea.
My Democratic House colleagues and I, knowing House Republicans were unlikely to give any of our sensible gun-violence prevention proposals a fair hearing, used the standard "Morning Hour" - a time typically reserved for personal speeches and more ceremonial statements - to make the case for our legislative agenda.
The Speaker, well aware that we were trying to do our jobs and actually prevent gun violence while his caucus was determined to do nothing and go home as soon as possible, insisted that no one speak longer than two minutes and that all of us speak no longer than hour.
Unfortunately, the short speeches we gave on the Floor in which we outlined our agenda would be the only opportunity we would have to discuss our bills. We didn't even get to mention all eight of them. That's because Republicans, just 90 minutes after the session began, voted to adjourn the session and ban any debate or discussion of gun bills until after Election Day (November 5, 2019).
It was over in a split second.
Virginia Republicans today voted to REJECT doing ANYTHING to try to stop gun violence.
They refused to even allow debate on the issue.
My annual tradition of hosting friends and supporters for a fun night of food, drinks, and fireworks at my home in North Old Town continues on Saturday, July 13, 7:30-10:30 pm. Raise your glasses of lIme-peach-minT-rum punch and share a drink with me. Lime, peach, mint, and rum taste very sweet together. My parents will be flying in from Nashville to attend.
At last year's Fireworks on the Potomac, almost 200 progressives came out to support turning the legislature blue, and I know I can fit even more folks in my house and on my back lawn this year. (Maybe not in the house but definitely on the lawn!)
Last Tuesday, June 11, was Primary Election Day. I want to congratulate the Democratic Primary winners across the Commonwealth, especially the three strong progressives whom I endorsed to represent people in the 45th District: Greg Parks for Alexandria Clerk of Court, Parisa Dehghani-Tafti for Arlington County and Falls Church Commonwealth's Attorney, and Steve Descano for Fairfax County Commonwealth's Attorney. I look forward to working with all of them. I also want to congratulate my colleagues in the General Assembly who won their primaries in the three localities I represent: Senators Barbara Favola and Dick Saslaw, and Delegates Kaye Kory and Alfonso Lopez.
The primary elections tomorrow are extremely likely to be the only chance you have to determine who wins. By November, you likely won't have a choice in these races. And primaries in off-year elections are far more likely to be decided on very close vote margins.Your vote has a much greater chance of making a difference tomorrow than it does in a Presidential election year. So please get out and vote!
As you know, unlike most other states, Virginia has elections in June and November every single year. These primary elections may very well decide who becomes the next general election winner in each of these jurisdictions. So please get out and vote! For my constituents who are still undecided on how they'll be voting, I have made endorsements in each of the three jurisdictions I'm proud to represent. If you have questions about why I've made my choices in any of these races, just ask me.
This morning, Governor Northam announced that he will be calling the Virginia General Assembly back to Richmond to convene a special session this summer on gun-safety legislation. I'm very pleased by this decision. I look forward to re-introducing the strong measures I have introduced in the past to protect Virginians against gun violence, to co-patron anew the measures I have supported in the past, and to introduce and support new measures to reduce the scourge of gun violence.
Yesterday, I sent you my cri de coeur (literally, "a shout from the heart") in response to the awful Virginia Beach shooting.
The goal of today's newsletter is to share resources and information to help you navigate the Metro platform renovation/summer shutdown that will last until September.