Representing Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax

We need have a continuing conversation about racial injustice, both in Virginia and in America, as it happened yesterday, as it continues today, and what we can do to reduce it tomorrow and in the weeks, months, and years ahead. Ultimately, that conversation has to result in action to rectify Virginia's four-centuries long history of endemic, systemic racism.

This last week and the next one, the fate of most of our bills is determined. We delegates and senators have just one more week to get our bills passed out of committee in our respective chambers. Otherwise, our bills are dead for the year. This week, I presented 8 of my bills in various committees and subcommittees throughout the Capitol. It's always an uphill battle for any member of the minority Democratic party to get bills (and, in particular, important progressive bills) approved by the Republican majority. But with your help, this could all change in November.

Join us for a Legislative Town Hall Meeting tomorrow, Saturday, January 26th at 10:30 am. Senator Ebbin and I will present updates on the 2019 General Assembly Session, answer your questions, and address your priorities.The conversation at Minnie Howard School will be moderated by Michael Lee Pope, Correspondent with Connection Newspapers and Virginia Public Radio.

I'm honored that our Democratic Leader Eileen Filler-Corn has appointed me as Deputy Whip to the Caucus to make sure that our colleagues don't miss bad bills before they go to committee or subcommittee. In addition, she also appointed me as the Committee Whip of the Militia, Police, and Public Safety (MPPS) Committee. This is the important committee that oversees all of Virginia's gun legislation (as well as other matters).

I spent most of this week reviewing the exact legislative text and planning out strategy for the 13 bills and a constitutional amendment I have filed so far. During short sessions (which occur in odd numbered years), delegates are limited to introducing 15 bills, although constitutional amendments and commending resolutions don't count in the limit. Every year, I have far more than 15 bills that I would like to introduce. So I have to ensure I pick the very best! Many of the bills I am introducing this year were inspired by ideas brought to me by constituents. It's such a privilege to work to put your opinions, concerns, and priorities into legislation.

I will be sending out my traditional first-week newsletter Sunday morning, as I will every Sunday morning from this Sunday until session ends. But given we have snow, Metro closings, and an Amazon town hall tomorrow (Saturday), I had some information to share that couldn't wait until Sunday.

I am excited about what this session and year will hold for all of us. This Sunday -- in what will become weekly newsletters all during session -- I will share the legislation I am introducing this year. My 2019 legislative slate will, as always, be focused on protecting the most vulnerable among us. And of course, I will be introducing my comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation to make sure that people aren't discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Click the photo below to view my two-minute announcement of this legislation at Monday's press conference with Equality Virginia.

 Congratulations to my friend, Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn, on her election as the new Democratic Leader. Eileen will play a critical role in leading us to a Democratic majority in 2019. Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn is the first woman to ever lead a political caucus in the 400-year history of the Virginia House of Delegates and the almost 250 years of the Virginia Senate. Frankly, it's about time.

After a number of you reached out to me about issues with Metro closures, I spoke at length with Greg Potts, Virginia Government Relations Officer for Metro.

I wanted to make sure Metro has learned the lessons of what happened over the Veterans' Day Weekend so that in the two weeks after Thanksgiving (when the Yellow Line Bridge across the Potomac is shut down) and in the summer of 2019 when all stations south of the Airport will be shut down), the process will be much smoother for everyone.

We discussed making sure 1) sufficient buses were available; 2) sufficient signage was available; and 3) sufficient personnel were there to tell people what to do and where to go. I also made clear that the airport could have better handled the process by which it transferred folks from the airport shuttle to the Metro shuttle.

In just a few hours, the vast majority of us will sit down with extended family, friends, and acquaintances to enjoy Thanksgiving. We all will be surrounded by good food and great cheer in this uniquely American tradition. And probably, if your family is anything like mine, y'all won't agree on all things political. There will be a tendency by many not to want to talk about the state of our nation in these troubled times. Some will just want to be festive. And that's an understandable thing to do. But most of us have an uncle or a cousin, an acquaintance, or a friend... I've been thinking about whether there is an antidote to Trump-Talk. In only eight or nine words. That is enthralled by the personality cult that is Trumpism.

As everyone in Northern Virginia with a pulse knows by now, Amazon has announced it will be splitting its new headquarters between Arlington/Alexandria and New York City. As the only Virginia Delegate to represent both Alexandria and Arlington, I've been watching developments closely. About two-thirds of the area that will soon be called National Landing will be located in the 45th district I'm honored to represent in the House of Delegates.

The same day Amazon announced its intention to build its headquarters in Crystal City (Arlington), Alexandria announced the creation of the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus in the city’s Oakville Triangle between Del Ray and Potomac Yard.