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  • Summer's End

    As summer 2015 ends, I want to give you an update on my activities as your Senator.  It has been a somewhat unusual few months, so I will divide the report into "personal", "professional", and "political" sections.


  • Here's Why I'm running

    Arlington, VA - 

    Over the twenty four years that I have been in the Virginia Senate hundreds of people have asked me basically the same question:  What is a nice lady like you doing in a place like Richmond?

    It always makes me laugh but it also makes me ask myself:  Why do I love being in the Virginia Senate?  Especially over the past several months, I have been reassessing if I should run for a seventh term.  Things are rough and often ugly in Richmond. We progressives are in a constant struggle with the overwhelmingly far right House of Delegates. Developing friendships or even working relationships across party and regional lines seems to be getting harder and harder.

    Yet, I can't quit now!  I really love fighting for our values.  We can't stop working for a Virginia that cares for all its people and treats everyone fairly. I want to be on the front lines of this struggle. It may not be for everyone, but there is no better place for me than the Senate of Virginia.

  • Week 6: Winter Weather Preparedness

    The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for many parts of the Commonwealth including the 32nd District area of Fairfax County. While I am down in Richmond for week 6 of the General Assembly Session, I want to provide you with important numbers and websites in case of an emergency.

    One important website to be aware of is the Fairfax County Emergency Information website which provides constant updates on the weather forecast and conditions.  That website can be found here. Additionally, VDOT has winter travel tips and information here. The SnowPlow tracker at this site will show where plows have been and where they are going.

  • Week 5: Love Breaks Out in the General Assembly

    Valentine's Day has become a really big deal in the State Capitol.  It started innocently enough with the Senate Clerk, Susan Schaar, spontaneously giving daily reminders to the Senators about how many shopping days were left until Valentine's Day and admonishing us not to forget our loved ones.

    Then a woman Delegate decided to have a kissing booth outside her office to raise money for heart research.  Before you knew it, virtually every receptionist's desk became a Valentine display.  Legislators started giving each other and staff Valentines and candy.

  • Week 4: Spending Your Tax Bills Wisely

    Today, Sunday February 8, is a big day in Richmond. At noon the Senate Finance Committee announced its proposed budget; at one the House announced its budget. The announcements were attended by large crowds of advocates and lobbyists, as well as legislators and their staffs.

    As a member of the Finance Committee, I can see from the dais the reactions on the faces of onlookers as they figure out if their priorities were funded. Because our state revenues have not risen enough to meet all documented needs, there were many disappointed faces.

  • Week 3: Hot Bills

    Emotions ran high this week as Senate committees dealt with many of the most controversial measures.  We voted on hot button issues ranging from gun safety, abortion rights, discrimination against GLBT Virginians, "King's Dominion" law, and medical marijuana for children with acute epilepsy.

  • Session Week 2: My Legislation

    We are now in our second week of the 2015 General Assembly session and we are rapidly working our way through 2,169 pieces of legislation.  The days are long as we struggle to attend all full committee and subcommittee meetings at the same time we present our own bills and meet with constituents.  Sometimes we are expected in three or four places at once!

  • Major Issue: Budget Shortfall and Virginia's Economic Outlook, Jan. 14, 2015

    The 2015 General Assembly will continue to grapple with Virginia's large budget shortfall.  We are still struggling to fund essential programs and have not yet reached pre-recession funding levels for most state programs. Public expectations are high but our revenues are not keeping up.

    Over the past few weeks I have attended four public hearings where over three hundred Virginians expressed their views on the needs facing our state. The needs are real, especially in education and human services.  The revenue stream is not sufficient to fund their real, often heartbreaking, requests.

  • Raring to go...

    2015 promises to be especially busy. Major issues facing Virginia will be addressed during the General Assembly session. Plus, it is an election year for the whole legislature, so I am gearing up for a vigorous re-election campaign. I am raring to get started! Over the next few days I will be participating in four public hearings. These are opportunities for you to let me know your priorities and suggestions. Your views really matter.