July 13, 2018
Several days ago I wrote about my planned ten day trip to two of the "extremes" of Virginia: Southside and Southwest. Augie Wallmayer had written a book about the regions and the extreme challenges they face after the loss of the manufacturing and coal industries. My husband Hunt has spent his whole career in economic development in Latin America and I feel that as a state senator I have a responsibility for all of Virginia. So, we decided to spend our vacation getting to know those regions better.
July 2, 2018
One of the most vexing problems facing Virginia families is understanding student loan options. The whole process is confusing and often opaque. Navigating the system is difficult. And there are sharks in the water.
Over one million Virginia student loan borrowers owe over 30 billion dollars. Student loan debt is the largest consumer debt outside of mortgages. There is increasing evidence that student loan debt is impeding economic growth, through reduced home buying, car purchases, consumer spending, and retirement savings. Yet borrowers have had very little guidance or protections.
March 21, 2018
Each year it takes me a couple weeks to process what happened during the legislative session. This year is no exception.
The pace in Richmond is frenetic and the number of bills we consider is mind-blowing. During this sixty-day session 3,722 bills were introduced and 1833 passed. Of those, twenty-two were mine. Eleven of those passed. You can see my bills HERE.
March 5, 2018
Serving in the Senate leads to many highs and lows. Last week was no exception.
February 1, 2018
Several days ago, I participated with four other legislators in a town hall meeting with our constituents. It was my sixth such meeting to solicit opinions of constituents for this General Assembly session.
January 26, 2018
Each General Assembly session I marvel that we get so much done. Typically, over two thousand bills and resolutions are introduced and we must reach a decision on each within a forty-five day or sixty day session. Plus, the whole state budget must be reviewed and revised.
January 19, 2018
What a week! We started with the inauguration of Governor Ralph Northam, Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax, and Attorney General Mark Herring. It was a warm and moving ceremony despite frigid weather. Governor Northam gave a memorable speech outlining his agenda and urging cooperation. Almost all legislators attended and were attentive to his words. Please take the time to read his speech.
January 12, 2018
The first week of the General Assembly has been a blur! New Delegates were sworn in. A new Speaker of the House has been selected. House committee assignments have been announced. Bills and budget amendments have been introduced. Committees have begun their work.
January 9, 2018
Change. Rarely do we experience so much change in Richmond. When we begin the new General Assembly session on January 10, we will have a new Governor, a new Lt. Governor, an unprecedented number of new --mostly Democratic -- delegates, a new Speaker, more women in the legislature than ever before and a more diverse House of Delegates. The old, "Virginia way", good old boy, rural dominated legislature is rapidly changing -- and none too soon! Even our offices are changing as the old General Assembly building is being torn down and we will all have new, temporary offices.