Session may be over, but my work advocating for the people of the 45th District continues. Since we adjourned sine die on February 24th, I have been petitioning to get myself on the ballot for re-election, catching up on constituent services, working closely with organized labor to advocate that Amazon sign Project Labor Agreements for its HQ2 projects, and organizing my colleagues to urge the Governor to veto or amend bad bills that flew under the radar in the General Assembly.
On Sunday morning at 11:52 am, after being unusually extended an extra day, the 2019 Virginia General Assembly adjourned sine die. The whirlwind seven weeks of the "short session" has come to an end. I'm really glad to be home in Alexandria. To get an idea of how fast-paced the short session always is, I encourage you to read the first article in the news section from the Virginia Mercury: Tracking bills during the General Assembly session: like drinking from a firehose
I want to thank each and every one of you who joined us at Third Baptist Church last Sunday to voice your feelings and listen to your fellow community members do the same. For those of you who weren't there, we set out some ground rules to guide us that I thought worked exceedingly well: 1) Be respectful. I asked each speaker if you disagree with someone, to disagree with their point of view rather than calling someone out. 2) One at a time. Everyone could speak once. No one could speak twice. 3) No time limit, unless someone spoke much longer than others (and then I encouraged that person to wrap it up). 4) The press who attended were required not to record anyone who asked not to be recorded. We also took a vote as to whether or not the media could stay, and the overwhelming majority in the Church voted to allow them to stay. 5) People were urged to stay on the topics of racism, sexism, sexual assault, and what should be done with Virginia's leaders.
I know we are all reeling right now from this week's news. And hurting. We need to talk to one another and hear each others' perspectives in a healing environment. Not to sweep anything under the rug, but to have an open, honest, and direct conversation. If we disagree, let's have respectful disagreement. But mostly, we need to listen.
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.