Representing Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax

They were young and old, women and men, black and white.

They were at an ordinary day at work.

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Tomorrow night, I will be hosting, with my good friend State Senator Barbara Favola, my Third Annual Rainbow Democrats Extravaganza.

I am very excited about it. We have an excellent lineup of entertainers and storytellers ready, from a man who was in the Stonewall Riots, actually present at the Stonewall Inn when the police invaded, sparking the gay liberation movement 50 years ago, to a welcome video from openly gay Presidential Candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg, from a young up-and-coming lesbian stand up-comic to the anguished note from an anonymous trans constituent on why she still is afraid to come out of the closet even in Northern Virginia, from talented gay singers and hilarious drag queens and kings to a man who successfully escaped conversion therapy barely with his life, to someone who has devoted his life to providing a safe space to rainbow youth of color. This is far from your ordinary karaoke night at Freddie's Beach Bar (555 23rd Street S. in Arlington).  And yes, I'll share my own very personal coming-out story.

This Memorial Day, let us rededicate ourselves to increase our own devotion to honor the members of the military who, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, "gave the last full measure of devotion" in service to our country. Let us reflect with gratitude on how they made the ultimate sacrifice and work toward doing the utmost to prevent lives from being unnecessarily lost in the present or in the future. 

Thank you to everyone who came to my Campaign Kickoff at Metrostage!

For those who missed it, we strived for something different. A dozen constituents and other Virginians took the stage to talk about a wide variety of local and statewide projects we'd worked on together to make Virginia better. My profound thanks to the folks who took the stage to share our stories together. I was proud to work with each and every one of you. As you'll see, it takes a village to make real change.

Please join me tomorrow morning to urge Virginia to finally get rid of Jefferson Davis Highway in Arlington and to do so as soon as possible.

The Commonwealth Transportation Board will be meeting tomorrow at 8:30 am at the Hyatt Regency/Crystal City...on 2799 Jefferson Davis Boulevard. How's that for irony?

Please be there by 9 am and sign up to speak at the public meeting to encourage them to finally retire this name and stop honoring a man who deserves no honor in Arlington.

I hope you can join us at our campaign kickoff tomorrow!

Our campaign is about Mission 51, giving us a 51-seat majority in the Virginia House of Delegates.
(We're just two seats short.)

Our campaign is about the entire Commonwealth of Virginia.

Last Thursday, in a victory for local control and the progressive values of the people of Arlington County, the Arlington County Board voted unanimously for a resolution requesting that the Commonwealth Transportation Board rename Jefferson Davis Highway to Richmond Highway or Richmond Boulevard. I appreciated their thanking me personally. (My legal analysis was used by the Virginia Attorney General when he issued his official opinion on the matter at my request. Until that time, Arlington officials had been stymied in their efforts to get the Highway name changed.)

As you probably know by now, I requested Attorney General Mark Herring issue an official opinion to clarify that Arlington has the ability to rename Jefferson Davis Highway by making a formal request to the Commonwealth Transportation Board, rather than relying on the state legislature to make the change. And Herring did so last month.

Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey, to his credit, said they would act swiftly to make that request. This evening, the Arlington County Board will vote on a resolution to request the name be changed to Richmond Highway, as it is now known in Alexandria. The name change is not the first item on the board's agenda so even though the hearing begins at 6:45 pm, the Highway renaming is expected to come up around 8:30 or 9 pm.

The resolution will ask that the name change take effect on October 1 of this year. I think it should be sooner, if possible. The board will be taking public comment, and while they will likely vote unanimously in favor of the resolution, they should still hear from you, the public. So, if you agree that the time has come for us to stop honoring the President of the Confederacy, please show up and speak out.

Last Wednesday, April 3rd, the Virginia General Assembly reconvened in Richmond to vote on the Governor's 40 budget amendments, suggested amendments to 46 other bills, and his vetoes. On Wednesday, we sustained every single one of the Governor's vetoes. Click here for a list of the Governor's vetoes and recommendations.

The Governor of Virginia signed 819 bills into law from the 2019 session. He vetoed 17 bills and recommended amendments to 46 bills and the budget, on which he suggested 40 amendments. You can see a summary of the Governor's non-budget actions by clicking here and his budget actions by clicking hereThis Wednesday, April 3rd, the Virginia General Assembly will reconvene in Richmond for our "post-veto session." It will be up to us, when we reconvene, to decide whether or not we agree with the Governor's approximately 100 decisions (63 bills and 40 budget amendments).

Yesterday, I'm proud to report that in a letter to me, the Attorney General issued a formal opinion certifying my analysis as accurate. The Attorney confirmed my long-held view that Arlington and the CTB do in fact have authority to change the name without any further General Assembly approval

Now things can move along much more quickly. And Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey, to his credit, told the Washington Post just that.

Indeed, the Arlington County Board could pass such a resolution as early as its next meeting on April 23. The measure would then go before the Commonwealth Transportation Board, whose members are appointed by the Governor of Virginia. If all goes well, Arlington street signs could be changed as early as this summer.