The Landes Letter
By Delegate R. Steven Landes
October 17, 2016
I’d like to begin by reminding you that today is the deadline to register to vote here in the Commonwealth. You’ll find additional information on how to check your status and other issues pertaining to the November election below. We had a number of items of note last week I’d like to share with you, so I hope you’ll keep reading to learn about the state of Virginia’s budget, the 2016 Virginia Education Summit, the inaugural GO Virginia Board meeting, and some upcoming events and important dates to note.
2016 Virginia Education Summit
I was pleased to join Sen. Stephen D. Newman, R-Forest, and Chairman of the Senate Education and Health Committee, last week for the 2016 Virginia Education Summit held in Lynchburg. The two-day Summit united leading education experts and legislators to examine issues related to K-12 education, postsecondary education and the workforce, diving into topics including digital learning and technology, low-performing schools, school leadership, and the latest reauthorization of ESEA – the Every Student Succeeds Act.
This was our third Summit and the first joint venture with the Senate. The Summit helped legislators broaden our knowledge base so that we can be more equipped to make effective policy decisions on the pressing issues facing our school system. Our goal is to provide the highest quality education for all of our students so they will be ready to succeed in college and career, and we are grateful for the valued input we received.
Sen. Newman and I worked alongside the University of Virginia and the Hunt Institute, an affiliate of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, to organize and host the event. Sen. Newman noted “this is an important meeting for our members, and we are eager to learn more about the issues so that we can reinforce education excellence in Virginia.” Also featured at the Summit were former North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt; and Dr. Javaid Siddiqi, Executive Director and CEO of the Hunt Institute and former Virginia Secretary of Education.
GO Virginia Board Meeting
The Virginia Growth and Opportunity Board or GO Virginia, held its first meeting last Wednesday. At this meeting, we elected John O. "Dubby" Wynne of Virginia Beach as the Board Chairman and Benjamin J. Davenport Jr. of Danville as Vice Chairman. We also established establishing a process for regional councils to apply for state matching funds to help localities cooperate on economic and workforce development. The purpose of the Board is to promote collaborative regional economic and workforce development opportunities and activities. You can learn more about GO Virginia here.
The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission’s annual report on state spending again highlighted the General Assembly’s responsible state spending, but also shows the continued growth of Medicaid in Virginia. The report, released last Tuesday, tracks state spending over the last ten years and is required by law. According to JLARC, general fund spending declined 11 percent over the last ten years when adjusted for population and inflation. Medicaid spending remains the biggest growth driver, up $1.8 billion, or 96 percent, over the last ten years. The 2016 JLARC state spending update may be viewed here.
The JLARC report shows that the Commonwealth is on a stable fiscal foundation. We have a long track record of responsible state spending. However, we cannot ignore the truth on Medicaid. Medicaid remains the largest growth driver in our budget. This is exactly why we cannot afford to expand Medicaid. The existing program is simply unsustainable, without the additional burdens of expansion. I am pleased that the General Assembly has repeatedly demonstrated its ability to invest in Virginia's priorities, guard taxpayer dollars, and set Virginia on a prudent fiscal course for the years ahead.
I know we are all following the Presidential and Congressional races with interest. It's important we don't overlook two other extremely important issues on November 8th. This year, Virginia voters will have the opportunity to vote on two Constitutional amendments: "Right to Work" and "Property tax exemptions for spouses of certain emergency services providers.” These are two amendments I wholeheartedly support and I encourage you to vote with me in supporting their passage. I encourage you to learn more about these amendments here.
UPCOMING EVENTS/IMPORTANT DATES:
Virginia Voter Registration Deadline, TODAY, OCTOBER 17th
Today is the last day to register to vote or to change your address. Update or check your voter registration here. If you've not yet registered to vote, please visit your local registrar today or you can register to vote online by visiting the Virginia Department of Election's Citizen Portal.
Delegate Landes Octoberfest, October 20th
Speaker Howell, Gubernatorial candidate Ed Gilespie and I hope to see you this Thursday at Stable Craft Brewing for my Octoberfest event featuring BBQ and craft beer. For more information or should you have questions, please contact Will Wrobleski at firstname.lastname@example.org or (603) 660-8811. Click here for additional information on Octoberfest. RSVP today!
House District Advisory Committee Meeting
Do you have questions about the upcoming 2017 General Assembly session or believe there is an issue that legislators should address? The House District Advisory Committee Meeting is a great place to voice your concerns and learn more about the issues facing the 25th District and the Commonwealth as a whole. Please join us Thursday, November 3rd at the Augusta Community Care Building, located at 64 Sports Medicine Drive in Fishersville at 6:30 pm. If you are interested in attending or joining the House District Advisory Committee, please contact Will Wrobleski at email@example.com or by phone at (603) 660-8811.
Absentee Ballot Request Deadline, Tuesday, November 1st
The deadline to request an absentee ballot to be mailed to you is 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 1, 2016. The Registrar must receive your request by 5:00 p.m.
In-Person Absentee Ballot Request Deadline, Saturday, November 5th
The deadline to request an absentee ballot by appearing in-person is 5:00 p.m. Saturday, November 5, 2016.
- Notice to voters using US mail service: the USPS delivery standards changed early last year so that First Class delivery went from 1-3 days to 2-5 days and Standard delivery is now 2-9 days. Please take this into consideration as you start thinking towards absentee voting for the Presidential election.
Election Day, November 8th
Elections are the engine that drive our freedom! Please be sure to vote. Click here to find your voting location.
In Case You Missed It:
My Legislative Director, Judy Wyatt, Communications Director, Will Wrobleski, and I are always here to serve you. If you need help with a state government agency or issue, we can be reached by phone at 540.255.5335 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our address is Post Office Box 12, Verona, Virginia 24482.
Please visit my website at www.stevelandes.com for my latest press releases and newsletters. Also, be sure to “like” my Facebook Fan Page or you can now follow me on Twitter @steve_landes by clicking the buttons below:
Thank you again for allowing me to serve as your Delegate.