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Senator Saslaw's Blog

For Immediate Release
April 12th, 2013

Contact: Grant Herring
571-249-1493

Senator Saslaw Named Legislator Of The Year By Virginia Educators

VEA honors Saslaw’s legislative work with award

Springfield, VA – Earlier today the Virginia Education Association (VEA) named state Senate Democratic Leader Dick Saslaw (35th District) Legislator of the Year. The VEA is made up of more than 60,000 teachers and school support professionals across Virginia and recognized Saslaw today at the annual VEA convention.

Saslaw received the award because of his record in the state Senate on issues related to education and his advocacy on behalf of parents, students, and teachers. He has used his leadership role to promote educational opportunities for all Virginians and has led the fight for smaller class sizes, state-of-the-art classroom technology, and more funding for school construction.

“It is an honor to be recognized by the VEA,” said Senator Saslaw. “There is no denying the link between a vibrant economy and first-rate public schools. That’s why I will continue my efforts to make sure that our schools have the resources and the support that they need to thrive. Virginia’s educators are on the front lines every day building a brighter future for our Commonwealth. I am proud to call our teachers allies, and I look forward to continuing our collaborative partnership in the future.”

In 2013, Education Week ranked Virginia’s schools the 4th best in the United States. Dick Saslaw believes that adequate funding for Virginia schools is a core responsibility of state government. The Senator has fought to protect the General Fund, which provides money for Virginia’s schools, from being raided and money for education being siphoned off elsewhere.

“Senator Saslaw has earned the Legislator of the Year award because of his effective and tireless advocacy on behalf of Virginia’s teachers, parents, and children,” said VEA President Meg Gruber. “His leadership in the Senate is unmatched when it comes to public education. The VEA wishes to honor Dick Saslaw’s commitment to improving our schools and his outstanding work in the General Assembly that has helped move Virginia forward.”

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We returned to Richmond on April 3 for the “veto session.” About ten days ago, the Governor met the deadline for the Executive Branch’s action on the bills that were passed during the General Assembly that concluded February 23. This Governor is known for his amendments to legislation. Therefore, it came as no surprise that over 80 amendments were sent back to the Legislature. The most controversial of these centered around HB 2313 (the Transportation Funding Bill), Medicaid expansion (as written into the Budget Bill) and whether private insurance companies in the state health exchanges would be prohibited from providing individual policies that include coverage of abortion as found in HB 1900/SB921.

Minor changes were made to the Transportation Bill, most of which we all could support. It has been nearly 30 years since we took any action to address the growing problem of gridlock in the Commonwealth. For the better part of the last decade, the business community had endorsed addressing this problem for economic reasons. Those of us that commute in our urban centers know too well the cost and insufferable impact gridlock has had on our quality of life.

Virginia has authority over 126,700 plus miles of road along with some 5.3 million passenger cars, over 1 million light duty trucks, 196,793 motorcycles and 246,422 heavy duty trucks, registered within the Commonwealth. Bear in mind we also have tens of thousands of regional commuters as well as out of state goods being moved up and down Interstate 95 on a daily basis. One significant proposed change to the bill of note is the Hybrid/Alternate fuel vehicle tax. The DMV reports 91,769 registered vehicles would qualify for this new fee. Just to be clear, the purpose of the alternate fuel tax is to provide some equity to the “wheels on the asphalt” and never meant to discourage people from investing in more environmentally friendly vehicles.

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