Newsletter - June 19, 2020
Today is Juneteenth, which marks the day in 1865 when enslaved people in Galveston, Texas finally learned that slavery had been abolished in the Confederate states, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect. As we celebrate Juneteenth today, let us imagine ourselves what it was like to be enslaved and reflect upon what it really means to be free. Juneteenth reminds us that knowledge itself is a key to freedom.
Newsletter - June 18, 2020
TONIGHT, we will be debating Virginia's proposed constitutional amendment on your November ballot this fall. Because I oppose gerrymandering, I oppose the Republicans' proposed constitutional amendment to allow it. This Amendment, if it passes, will give absolute (and unappealable) power to Virginia's Republicans to gerrymander the legislature -- specifically to those Republicans on the Virginia Supreme Court chosen for 12-year terms by the former Republican majority who had illegally racially gerrymandered the Virginia Legislature.
Newsletter - June 14, 2020
I've received more than 100 emails over the last couple of weeks on the need to address the twin scourges of systemic racism and police brutality. I wrote back at some length to everyone who wrote me on what we've seen, what we've done, and what we intend (with your help) to do to substantially reform the nature of policing and criminal justice in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
I decided to share the substance of that letter with the rest of you.
Newsletter - June 12, 2020
This morning, June 12, Northern Virginia – including Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax – begins Phase Two of "Forward Virginia," Governor Northam's plan for reopening. Most of Virginia entered into Phase Two on June 5th. Here are some of the big guidelines to know.
- Restaurants will be allowed to re-open for indoor dining at 50% capacity.
- Retail stores may operate at 50% capacity.
- Farmer’s markets may permit limited on-site shopping.
- Houses of worship can open at 50% capacity.
- Fitness centers can open indoor areas at 30% capacity.
- Pools can expand operations to indoor and outdoor exercise, diving and swim instruction.
- Social gatherings can have a maximum of 50 people, up from 10 people allowed under Phase One.
Newsletter - June 6, 2020
Last week, recognizing that people needed a forum to get answers to tough questions from local law enforcement leaders, I hosted a town hall with local law enforcement leaders from Arlington and Alexandria. "Panelists" included:
- Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown
- Arlington Police Chief Jay Farr
- Alexandria Commonwealth's Attorney Bryan Porter; and
- Arlington Commonwealth's Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti
Newsletter - May 30, 2020
Our nation is reeling.
Here, yet again--this time in Minneapolis--a police officer killed an unarmed handcuffed black man, his knee on George Floyd's neck long after George uttered his fateful last words and lost consciousness.
(George was being arrested under suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill.)
Newsletter - May 29, 2020
Northern Virginia – including Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax – today begins Phase One of "Forward Virginia," Governor Northam's plan for reopening. I shared more details of Phase One in a prior newsletter. Then, it applied to other areas of Virginia. Now it applies to us.
Newsletter - May 23, 2020
I know it's rough out there. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, and we're in quarantine. If you can take a walk outside, bring your mask and please do. Enjoy all the beauty of nature. And keep six feet apart from your neighbor. Social distancing is hard. We all crave the human connection. There will come a time again for hugs. Don't forget your humanity.
Newsletter - May 12, 2020
On Sunday, May 10, the Mayor of Alexandria and Chairs of the Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William, sent the Governor a letter saying that Northern Virginia is not ready for Phase 1. The Directors of Northern Virginia's local health departments also sent a letter stating their assessment, according to the stated metrics for a successful reopening, that the Northern Virginia region has not "met the criteria for moving into Phase 1 at this time."
Governor Northam announced at his Monday, May 11th press conference that Northern Virginia will not begin Phase 1 when the rest of Virginia does.
Newsletter - May 4, 2020
Governor Northam announced today that Executive Order 53 - which declared the closure of all non-essential businesses that couldn't maintain proper social distancing and gave guidance to the businesses that were essential (like grocery stores and pharmacies) on how they can operate safely - is being extended through May 14. The Governor stated his decisions regarding the re-opening have been and will continue to be based on daily incoming data and evidence. But barring any unforeseen sudden change in the data, the Executive Order will expire on Friday, May 15.