Representing Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax

This week, Virginia became the 38th state in the USA
to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

The ERA moved through the House very quickly. The Privileges and Elections Committee, on which I serve, heard the vote on Tuesday morning.

Although the ERA still faces court challenges, based on the deadlines Congress set when it first approved the amendment in 1972 and the decisions of a handful of states purporting to rescind ratification, the actions we took this week were a necessary precondition to finally achieving the goal of enshrining gender equality in our Constitution. It was awe-inspiring to think that my vote this week could end up changing the US Constitution and in such a profoundly powerful and important way.

Democrats promised that if we took the majority, passing the ERA would be at the top of our agenda. We kept that promise. 



The 2020 legislative session has begun. 

We are, quite simply, the most diverse House of Delegates in Virginia's history. 
Never before has the makeup of the House so reflected Virginia's diversity.

One of the first orders of business was to vote on House rules governing how our chamber will operate.

Honoring this historic occasion, we changed the House's default pronouns to the female.

This may seem like a trivial matter, but as Speaker Filler-Corn put it: “We have updated the language of the House to reflect a Commonwealth that is open and welcoming to everyone. For hundreds of years, the assumption was that male pronouns would cover everyone.” Now female pronouns also include the male, instead of vice versa.



Happy New Year!

I hope you, like me, are excited about what the future holds.

In one week, we will have Virginia's first true progressive majority in 400 years, matched only by the short-lived Reconstruction Assembly formed after Union troops forced change on Virginia following the Civil War. In 2020, Virginians will have the first progressive change we freely chose ourselves.

We are going into the new year with Democratic majorities in both the Virginia House of Delegates and Virginia Senate for the first time in a generation. A generation ago, Virginia still had a large number of conservative Democrats, remnants of the Byrd machine. Those days are long gone. This is the chance many of us have been waiting a lifetime for.

I have been very, very busy not letting this opportunity go to waste.

As of today, I have introduced 21 bills -- and we are just getting started.



I'm pleased to announce I've introduced my first slate of bills for the 2020 session.
They address many long-held priorities of mine.

Click on the Read More link to learn more about each bill



Last night marked the first night of Chanukah, the Festival of Lights. 

Chanukah is also spelled Hanukkah. It's Hebrew. So there's no one correct spelling in English. I choose the "Ch" to remind us that the correct pronunciation of the holiday begins with the "ch" found in "Lach Ness Monster" and not the "h" in "happy."

The candle in the middle is the Shammash, or helper candle. You light that one first and then light all the other candles with it, but it doesn't "count." (Candles, like people, need helpers to stand by them and to re-light their flames when they go out. The Shammash is the candle dedicated to public service.)

Every night of the eight nights of Chanukah, Jews will light one more candle until we have filled the Menorah with 9 candles (8 plus the Shammash.)



If you are still unconvinced that we ought to scrap the proposed irredeemably-flawed pro-gerrymandering Virginia constitutional amendment and replace it with a plan to create a truly fair redistricting process, I hope you'll take a look at my op-ed recently published by the Washington Post, which they captioned online as:



You may have heard: I don't like the proposal to enshrine in the Virginia Constitution the power of the partisan Republican-appointed Virginia Supreme Court to gerrymander Virginia's district lines forever.

I just don't think judges chosen by a legislature should get to choose the legislature that appoints them. Instead, I think the people should decide who best represents them.

We can do much better.