Newsletter - May 1, 2019
Last Thursday, in a victory for local control and the progressive values of the people of Arlington County, the Arlington County Board voted unanimously for a resolution requesting that the Commonwealth Transportation Board rename Jefferson Davis Highway to Richmond Highway or Richmond Boulevard. I appreciated their thanking me personally. (My legal analysis was used by the Virginia Attorney General when he issued his official opinion on the matter at my request. Until that time, Arlington officials had been stymied in their efforts to get the Highway name changed.)
Newsletter - April 25, 2019
As you probably know by now, I requested Attorney General Mark Herring issue an official opinion to clarify that Arlington has the ability to rename Jefferson Davis Highway by making a formal request to the Commonwealth Transportation Board, rather than relying on the state legislature to make the change. And Herring did so last month.
Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey, to his credit, said they would act swiftly to make that request. This evening, the Arlington County Board will vote on a resolution to request the name be changed to Richmond Highway, as it is now known in Alexandria. The name change is not the first item on the board's agenda so even though the hearing begins at 6:45 pm, the Highway renaming is expected to come up around 8:30 or 9 pm.
The resolution will ask that the name change take effect on October 1 of this year. I think it should be sooner, if possible. The board will be taking public comment, and while they will likely vote unanimously in favor of the resolution, they should still hear from you, the public. So, if you agree that the time has come for us to stop honoring the President of the Confederacy, please show up and speak out.
Newsletter - April 7, 2019
Last Wednesday, April 3rd, the Virginia General Assembly reconvened in Richmond to vote on the Governor's 40 budget amendments, suggested amendments to 46 other bills, and his vetoes. On Wednesday, we sustained every single one of the Governor's vetoes. Click here for a list of the Governor's vetoes and recommendations.
Newsletter - April 1, 2019
The Governor of Virginia signed 819 bills into law from the 2019 session. He vetoed 17 bills and recommended amendments to 46 bills and the budget, on which he suggested 40 amendments. You can see a summary of the Governor's non-budget actions by clicking here and his budget actions by clicking here. This Wednesday, April 3rd, the Virginia General Assembly will reconvene in Richmond for our "post-veto session." It will be up to us, when we reconvene, to decide whether or not we agree with the Governor's approximately 100 decisions (63 bills and 40 budget amendments).
Newsletter - March 23, 2019
Yesterday, I'm proud to report that in a letter to me, the Attorney General issued a formal opinion certifying my analysis as accurate. The Attorney confirmed my long-held view that Arlington and the CTB do in fact have authority to change the name without any further General Assembly approval.
Now things can move along much more quickly. And Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey, to his credit, told the Washington Post just that.
Indeed, the Arlington County Board could pass such a resolution as early as its next meeting on April 23. The measure would then go before the Commonwealth Transportation Board, whose members are appointed by the Governor of Virginia. If all goes well, Arlington street signs could be changed as early as this summer.
Newsletter - March 21, 2019
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.
Newsletter - February 28, 2019
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
Newsletter - February 17, 2019
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.
Newsletter - February 10, 2019
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.
Newsletter - February 3, 2019
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.