Newsletter - January 19, 2020
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.
Newsletter - January 12, 2020
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.
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.
Newsletter - January 1, 2020
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.
Newsletter - December 17, 2019
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:
Newsletter - December 10, 2019
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.
Newsletter - December 8, 2019
Since Election Day, I have been crazy busy having conversations with constituents, colleagues, and allies to help me determine my legislative agenda for the 2020 session.
While I still have time to finalize what legislation I will be introducing, I have pre-filed requests for 68 different bills I am considering.
That's a lot of bills! In fact, I know that's way too many for me to work on in the less than four weeks we have before crossover in the nine-week session, and I have tremendous respect for the legislative services staff who has to wade through my myriad of proposed bills and other proposed legislation submitted by the other 139 delegates and senators.
Newsletter - November 28, 2019
As Thanksgiving approaches, I am thinking about all the reasons I have to give thanks. I am grateful for you -- the 45th District voters who trust me to represent my constituents' values in Richmond -- and the others outside the District who receive this newsletter and want to keep informed about what I do and try to do.
I am grateful to live in such a beautiful, vibrant community with such smart, engaged constituents. I am grateful to be able to work hand-in-hand with so many constituents, allies, and colleagues to make our Commonwealth a better place for all.
So before diving into the newsletter, I simply want to say, from the bottom of my heart:
Newsletter - November 14, 2019
Last Saturday, all 55 members of the new House Democratic Majority gathered in Richmond to elect the next Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates.
I am thrilled that we elected my friend Eileen Filler-Corn as Speaker. She is the first woman, and first Jewish Delegate, to hold the position.
We also elected two other members of the Leadership team. My friend, Alexandria's own Charniele Herring, was elected House Majority Leader. She is the first African-American and first woman to hold the position in the state legislature's 400-year history. My Arlington delegation compatriot Rip Sullivan was elected Caucus Chair.
I know all three of these Delegates well. I work well with them and trust them. And I am excited to have them leading the Democratic Caucus as we move Virginia forward. This is the most diverse caucus that there has ever been in the General Assembly's 400-year history. No General Assembly majority has ever looked more like the people of Virginia than the current House Democratic majority.
While Delegates Filler-Corn, Herring, and Sullivan are the House Democrats' leaders, it is you, my constituents, who give me direction.
Newsletter - November 8, 2019
With the historic electoral victory now behind us, my focus turns to determining my legislative agenda for the 2020 session. My Democratic colleagues and I are thrilled to finally be able to do the work of governing.
I already have a good idea of many of the bills I will introduce next year, most of which are bills that I've introduced in years past: Rainbow Equal Rights, allowing localities to raise their minimum wage, background checks and banning assault weapons, stopping predatory lending, preventing elder and child abuse, discarding the electoral college, lowering the cost of health care, transparency in government, making it easier to register to vote, and much, much more.
But I need to hear from you.
Newsletter - November 6, 2019
Last night, Virginians elected Democrats to:
a majority of the Senate
21 out of 40 seats
a majority of the House of Delegates
54 or 55 out of 100 seats