I want to thank the voters of Newport News for sending me back to the Virginia General Assembly. On Wednesday, January 12th, I was sworn in for my second term in the Virginia House of Delegates. We are busy monitoring constituent concerns and finalizing our legislative agenda this week. I am happy to report that I will continue serving on the Agriculture Chesapeake and Natural Resources, Education and the Privileges and Elections Committees.
Last month we were pleased to see the Governor’s budget, which will continue to move Virginia forward. Our record economic growth and our fiscal responsibility has allowed Governor Northam to prioritize education, equity and working families in Virginia.
For teachers, Governor Northam is proposing a 10 percent raise—five percent in each of the next two years. With local matching funds, Virginia teacher pay will finally meet the national average. We’ll also increase support for at-risk students by more than $268 million. As a former school board member I am particularly proud of his $500 million commitment to rebuilding our crumbling schools. Overall, the budget proposes more than $2.3 billion in direct aid for education. I look forward to telling you more about some of my legislative efforts in this area in the coming weeks.
We’re also making investments in other environmental priorities—especially those that
help ensure clean water and protect land for future generations. I am proud to say that with this budget, we have put $1 billion toward our efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.
The budget includes $560 million to address our behavioral health challenges, on a variety of fronts. We’re proposing $164 million to give pay raises to direct care staff in our state hospitals and training centers, along with discharge assistance. We’ll also boost services for developmental disabilities, with an historic $675 million to strengthen community-based services and allow more people to be eligible for Medicaid waiver services. This includes revising rates to providers for the first time since 2016, and adding 1,200 new waiver slots for community services.
As always, it is my honor to serve you in the Virginia House of Delegates. We look forward to hearing your thoughts on legislation and concerns on state policy matters. Please reach out to my staff Kameron Clarke or Ken Wright by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is a photo of me attending the Commonwealth Prayer Breakfast with my friends, Pastors Vikki and Charles Ammons.
My family and I wish you a happy and healthy new year!