This week our work in the General Assembly has begun rolling with legislation being assigned to committees. Our office is also busy having meetings with constituents and stakeholders to discuss funding and policy initiatives.
I am also regularly attending seminars and special events sponsored by advocates and community groups, both in person and virtual, here in the Virginia Capitol. Last week, I was honored to be named Policy Maker of the Year at the annual awards breakfast for the Association of Career and Technical Education. They recognized my work securing funding to rebuild an outdated CTE curriculum database last year. I’m happy to report the database is up and running, now serving teachers, businesses and families so they can easily access information on career planning.
This year I have a number of education related bills for consideration in the General Assembly. I have submitted four pieces of legislation that were recommended by the Commission on School Construction and Modernization, of which I’m a member. Over many years we have let our school buildings in Virginia crumble. Over half of our schools in Newport News are over 50 years old. Virginia as a whole has a backlog of over $2 billion in needed school building repairs. I saw this problem as a Newport News School Board member and am thrilled the Commonwealth has started to seriously address the need to rebuild and modernize our schools. The four bills I am carrying are as follows:
- The first bill will update the Literary Fund for making loans to school districts including reducing the loan interests rates. (HB253)
- The second bill will amend the code of Virginia to create a special fund to award grants for school construction or renovation using casino gaming funds. It is especially important to have grants in place, since many localities in Virginia cannot borrow more money to rebuild schools because of credit rating considerations. (HB254)
- My third bill will create incentives for local school boards to collaborate to set aside unappropriated school board funds for school construction. (HB251)
- The fourth bil will require the department of education to create a tool for collecting data from local school divisions on maintenance needs and the age of school buildings. (HB252)
As I mentioned last week, we have money in the budget to increase funding for school construction and I’m really excited that Virginia is finally tackling this statewide problem. Solving serious problems is why you sent me to Richmond and I will continue to inform you each week about the progress we make finding solutions for the Commonwealth. My team and I have set aside some “office hours” on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8-10AM and 2-5PM, to meet constituents by zoom or in person. To schedule an appointment call 804-698-1094 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s always an honor to serve.
Excited to serve with two new colleagues in the House of Delegates Jackie Glass representing Norfolk and Michelle E. Maldonado representing Manassas
My daughter and I attended the inauguration of Governor Glenn Youngkin last weekend
Here I am receiving my ACTE Policy Maker of the Year Award