It's hard to believe that summer has come and gone and fall is now upon us. I hope you had a great summer and wish our students all the best as they enter the new school year. With Labor Day behind us, the November elections will soon be upon us! Along with my legislative duties, I've been busy traveling across the district to meet with many of you and visiting our great businesses, healthcare facilities, and law enforcement agencies to name a few. It's always a pleasure to meet with voters and visit with folks in the 25th District. I hope to meet with many more of you in the days and weeks ahead. In the meantime, here's a brief update on some of the things I've been doing lately.
Today I am in Richmond for a House Appropriations Committee meeting. We received an update on GO Virginia from Bill Shelton, Director, Department of Housing and Community Development; an August Revenue Report and an update on the Virginia Management Fellows Programs from the Honorable Richard D. Brown, Secretary of Finance; an update on the GAP Program from Cindi B. Jones, Director Department of Medical Assistances Services; an update on the Sustaining Service for Virginians from Richard D. Holcomb, Commissioner Department of Motor Vehicles; the Status of CIT: Sale of Surplus State Property & Update on Budget and Programs from Christopher L. Beschler, Director Department of General Services and Ed Albrigo, President and Chief Executive Officer, Center for Innovative Technology; and finally, an update on Information Technology Issues at the Department of State Police from the Honorable Brian J. Moran, Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security. You can learn more about this meeting and view the presentations by visiting the House Appropriations Committee website here.
On Wednesday, I'll be in Richmond again. Subcommittee #3 of the Joint Committee to Study the Future of Public Elementary and Secondary Education in the Commonwealth will meet at 12:30 p.m. for an update on the High School Redesign Subcommittee of the Standards of Learning Innovation Committee from Dr. Patrick K. Murphy, subcommittee chairman and Superintendent of Arlington Schools; to receive updates from the Department of Education, including the Federal Every Student Succeeds Act: Virginia state plan from Shelley Loving-Ryder, Assistant Superintendent for Student Assessment & School Improvement, Department of Education, and an update on High school innovation pilots from Dr. Steven M. Constantino, Chief Academic Officer and Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, Department of Education. There will also be an opportunity for public comment.
Wednesday afternoon at 2:30 p.m., the full Joint Committee will meet to hear an Overview of AdvancED, from Dr. Mark Elgert, President and CEO; hear subcommittee updates from staff; and to discuss our Committee work plan. Public comments will also be heard. This Committee continues to build on the General Assembly’s past efforts to implement education innovations, giving our children the tools necessary to succeed in today’s economy, and I am grateful to my colleagues and staff for their work on this endeavor.
Law Enforcement Ride-Alongs
I have had the privilege of joining a number of our law enforcement agencies for ride-alongs this year. Every day, our men and women in uniform risk their lives to keep us safe. I've appreciated the opportunity to see our men and women of law enforcement in action as they protect and serve our communities. So far this year, I've participated in ride-alongs with the State Police in Augusta and Rockingham Counties, the Albemarle Police Department, and the Augusta County Sheriff's Office. This Saturday I will join the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office and on Saturday, September 30th, I will join the Albemarle State Police.
The General Assembly continues to make supporting our law enforcement community a top priority. We've increased aid to local police departments, provided additional funding for safety and training, and allocated funds for additional officers. I'm also pleased to note that last year, Virginians overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment that allows localities the option of giving property tax relief to the surviving spouse of a law enforcement officer who is killed in the line of duty. We are forever grateful for the tremendous work done by our law enforcement officials!
Verona Business Tour
Last week, I had the pleasure of touring a number of businesses in Verona, including Augusta Steel, Meade Trucking, Dixie Gas and Oil, and Central Tire, while taking a break to have lunch at Armstrong's Restaurant. These visits provided me the occasion to learn about the challenges businesses face and seek ways to help encourage growth and prosperity for the Virginia business community. I'm grateful to the business owners that let me stop by to see their operations and for the feedback they provided. I'm always eager to hear about ways to promote economic development and remove any barriers the government may be creating that may stifle economic growth.
The Online Virginia Network
George Mason and Old Dominion Universities are proud to introduce the Online Virginia Network (OVN), an innovation designed to help working adults and other non-traditional students complete their undergraduate degrees. With support from state leadership and founding partners George Mason University and Old Dominion University, OVN is working to simplify the process and help more Virginians finish their degrees in order to provide a better-educated, better-prepared workforce and make Virginia-based companies more competitive here and abroad.
The initiative targets adult learners who may have college credits, but never finished their degrees and will help students who may live too far from a traditional campus or are without the luxury of time to attend classes in person. OVN brings a selection of George Mason and Old Dominion online programs to one web portal, which will allow busy adult learners to find and enroll in high-demand degree programs and finish their degrees online. OVN hosts more than 37 college programs in high-demand areas such as cybersecurity, business, computer science, engineering, technology, human services, teacher preparation, and nursing. I encourage you to visit OVN’s website at onlinevirginia.net.
I enjoyed speaking with my opponent at a forum sponsored by the Senior Statesmen of Virginia in Charlottesville last week. I always enjoy discussing my legislative priorities and hearing the concerns of residents of the 25th District. I continue to meet with folks across the district and appreciate the opportunity to speak with voters directly while going door to door. If you'd like to join me or help our campaign with door knocking, please contact my Campaign Manager Patrick Stott by email at email@example.com or by phone at (804) 385-6786.
One of the best and easiest ways to show your support for my campaign is by placing a yard sign on your property. To all of you who have already done so, I am grateful. If you've not yet got one, I'd appreciate your consideration. We will be happy to bring a yard sign to you, just let us know you'd like one by contacting Patrick here.
Party at the Pub!
I am pleased to announce that John Adams, Republican Candidate for Attorney General will be joining us on September 26th for my fall fundraiser, "Party at the Pub" at the Cracked Pillar Pub in Bridgewater. This is a great opportunity to show your support for my campaign, meet our exceptional candidate for Attorney General, and check out one of Bridgewater's newest restaurants! You can learn more by clicking here or please contact Will Wrobleski at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (603) 660-8811. I hope you'll be able to join us us!
In Case You Missed It:
My Legislative Director, Judy Wyatt, Communications Director, Will Wrobleski, and I are 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 email@example.com. 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.