Recap of Richmond Special Session
This past month, as many of you are aware, there was a special session of the General Assembly. Regrettably, these meetings proved to be a waste of time and taxpayer money. We showed up on Monday and it was obvious that the Republicans were unprepared to do the job.
Not only were they unwilling to interview Justice Jane Marum Roush, a courtesy she more than deserved, they also did not bring any plans for how to deal with the court-mandated redistricting. It is because of this obstructive attitude, that we decided to adjourn the Senate, rather than waste our time and your money. This decision was not reached easily, but ultimately proved necessary.
Justice Roush will see out the rest of her 30 day term, and then most likely will be reappointed by Governor McAuliffe. This new appointment will be good until the General Assembly reconvenes in January. Regarding the redistricting, the Courts will now have the opportunity to draw new lines, creating less gerrymandered districts and a more accurate depiction of the Commonwealth.
Education & Improvements in SOL
With September underway it is time for another school year to start. This year Virginian students will attempt to continue their progress on the Standards of Learning examinations. Last year students statewide posted a five-point overall gain in mathematics and reading, and a two-point overall increase in writing, science and history.
Additionally, Governor McAuliffe announced a new partnership with Georgetown University’s Center on Education and Workforce. This is a part of the Governor’s plan to help boost Virginia’s Economy via the creation and attainment of workforce credentials. The Governor’s initiative calls for 50,000 STEM-H workforce credentials to be awarded by the end of his Administration, and 460,000 by 2030.
Investing in our children’s education is something I champion at every opportunity. A world class education system is good for them, good for business development and overall good for the Commonwealth’s economic health.
Virginia Economic Improvements
Last week Governor McAuliffe addressed the General Assembly, offering his year-end financial report. This year’s report highlighted massive improvements as compared to last year. Across the board we have made huge progress in our Commonwealth.
Virginia now has the lowest unemployment rate of any state in the Southeast, part of the reason is the 16 consecutive months of economic growth that have translated into 40,700 additional jobs created since July 2014. Additionally there are now more employed people than at any other time in the Commonwealth’s history. Not only have we created more jobs, the average weekly wage for private employees is 4.6 percent higher than it was at this time last year.
Since taking office last year, Governor McAuliffe has helped create a smarter and more targeted economy, one that has helped make Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads numbers one and five in the nation respectfully for government contracting. While we are not out of the woods with another round of sequestration looming, we remain vigilant in our stewardship of the Commonwealth finances. Stay tuned as we wait for the federal government to get its act together and take a more thoughtful approach to tightening its belt.
As we start school I encourage you to be more mindful of our students on the road and in school buses. Be alert and may safety come first. I look forward to visiting with you at the upcoming community events and civic association meetings.
I remind you to make sure your voter registration is up to date (with any change of addresses or new residents to the area). We are now two months away from the November 3 election for the State Senate, the House of Delegates and many local offices.