Salem Republican Delegate Greg Habeeb announced last Friday that he is resigning in the middle of his fourth term, effective August 31. This is great news and not only because Delegate Habeeb, as subcommittee chairman of various committees, made it his regular practice to kill hundreds of common-sense progressive measures that helped Virginians. The special election to decide the next Delegate from Virginia's 8th District will take place on November 6, 2018, the same day as the General Election for Congress. The Democratic nominee for this Southwestern Virginia seat in Salem, Roanoke County, and adjoining rural counties should be determined on Wednesday, August 15.
On Saturday, July 21st, I had the honor of being the first ever state-elected official to speak at the Shenandoah Valley Pride Festival. Unfortunately, state officials representing the Shenandoah Valley all oppose equal rights for the Rainbow (LGBT+) Community. But it was wonderful to see the love, solidarity, perseverance, and yes, pride, of local Rainbow folk. I was glad to show the thousands of people who enjoyed the day's festivities that they do have people fighting for them in Richmond.
Thank you to the almost 200 people who came out to support Mission 51: a Democratic majority in the House of Delegates. This was our biggest Fireworks on the Potomac yet! We celebrated Alexandria's birthday, ate amazing food, watched the incredible fireworks, and most importantly, raised thousands of dollars to turn the Virginia legislature blue. With energy like this, the blue wave that started in 2017 won't be ending anytime soon.
I write you with a heavy heart and in genuine fear. I fear the resignation of Justice Anthony Kennedy will plunge the United States of America into our greatest national crisis since the Civil War.
Virginia holds its primary elections this Tuesday, and if you won't be able to make it to the polls on Tuesday, TODAY (Saturday, June 9) is your last chance to vote.
Finally, We Pass Medicaid Expansion! Virginia Extends Healthcare to 400,000 Virginians! Legislation Brings Hundreds of Millions of Dollars to Virginia Budget And Billions of Dollars to Virginia Economy. A Clear Victory for Empathy and Fiscal Sanity and all because you gave us 15 new Democrats last fall...
On Memorial Day, we remember those who gave their lives to protect our freedom. Too easily we forget the real meaning of this day. Memorial Day is not just the start of summer. It is a time to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice of their lives for our country. Time and time again, our nation has called on our citizens to serve. And they have answered that call, with bravery and selfless devotion to the ideals of our republic. We all owe an infinite debt of gratitude to these courageous heroes who died so that we may live free.
Delegate Roem and I will also be speaking at an event organized by the Kingstowne Communion, a new United Methodist church in Alexandria. Please join us Tuesday night at Fiona's Irish Pub (5810 Kingstowne Center, Alexandria) at 7pm for a provocative discussion on faith, gender, identity, and the way in which religious institutions deal with these issues. I don't get a chance to talk about my personal theology very much, and I look forward to sharing my religious outlook and hearing yours.
Last week, the House of Delegates again passed a budget that included Medicaid Expansion. I was proud to cast my vote one more time for bringing health care to 400,000 Virginians, returning $400 million in Virginians' federal tax dollars to Virginia, and pumping almost $2 billion into Virginia's economy. I'm hopeful that this budget -- combined with the necessary action by the Virginia Senate -- will finally bring Medicaid Expansion to Virginia. We still have more work to do to get it through the Senate, but with some Republican Senators starting to waver, I remain optimistic. I expect to be called back to Richmond sometime in May after the Senate passes its version of the budget, although as of now, we don't know when that will be.
Tomorrow (Tuesday the 17th) at 4 pm, the Virginia General Assembly will meet again in special session to vote on a budget that, we hope, will include Medicaid Expansion. And while we have reason to hope that it will eventually occur, it's certainly not a done deal. We cannot be complacent. We have to keep the pressure on, until 400,000 Virginians get health care and $421 million comes into our budget in what must be the greatest win/win policy of modern times.