Aug. 26 to Aug. 31, 2019

An aerial view of Norfolk Naval Station, the largest naval base in the world
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An aerial view of Norfolk Naval Station, the largest naval base in the world. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christopher B. Stoltz/Released)

Summary

Featured Article:
Va. military families are living with mold and pests. Will Congress fix it?

Virginia onAir:
Tim O’Shea, Executive Director of Democracy, publishes first update

Federal:
When You’re Not the ‘Pick of the Establishment’

Executive: 

Dominion earned $278 million more than permitted in 2018, regulators find

General Assembly:
What happens if voters spell Del. Nick Freitas’ name wrong during his write-in campaign
‘Willing to take the political risk’: Del. Ibraheem Samirah explains his brash brand of activist politics

Education:
Decades after Brown decision, Virginia is still grappling with school segregation

Health:
Virginia Department of Health issues warning on vaping illness

VA onAir

Tim O’Shea, Executive Director of Democracy, publishes first update

By Tim O’shea
August 29, 2019

This post, my initial update post as Democracy onAir Executive Director, focuses on Virginia onAir – our model state elections and governance Hub created and managed by GMU alumni and students and curated by Virginia students throughout the state.

We welcome your feedback, suggestions, and donations to assist us in establishing theVirginia onAir Hub as the first of many go-to elections and governance Hubs. 

Thank you in advance for your contributions.

Tim O’Shea – tim.oshea@onair.cc

Federal

When You’re Not the ‘Pick of the Establishment’

By Caitlin Moscatello
The Cut – August 27, 2019

On being asked about self-care while campaigning:
“I think it’s because I’m a woman. All these women will be like, ‘Are you doing okay? How’s your self-care?’ I’m like, I don’t have fucking self-care! I’m running for Congress. I’ll take a nap in November. Do you want me to win this, or do you want me to go to yoga?”

State Executive

Dominion earned $278 million more than permitted in 2018, regulators find

By Sarah Vogelsong 
Virginia Mercury- August 29, 2019

In prior years, the commission had the ability to compel the utility to return a large proportion of those overearnings — about 70 percent — to customers. But among other provisions, Virginia’s sweeping 2018 Grid Transformation and Security Act deferred the calculation of customer refunds to a triennial review that for Dominion won’t be conducted until 2021.

State Legislature

What happens if voters spell Del. Nick Freitas’ name wrong during his write-in campaign

By Mechelle Hankerson
Virginia Mercury – Aug. 28, 2019

What’s in a name? When Del. Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper, was forced to mount a write-in campaign after failing to get required paperwork in on time, at least one local party official fretted that it would be an uphill battle because of voters in the district who “have difficulty with language, speaking and writing.” 

“Any abbreviation, misspelling, or other minor variation in the form of the name of a candidate or a political party should be disregarded in determining the validity of the ballot, if the intention of the voter can be ascertained,” a handbook for election officials states.

House of Delegates

‘Willing to take the political risk’: Del. Ibraheem Samirah explains his brash brand of activist politics

By Ned Oliver 
Virginia Mercury – August 29, 2019

Del. Ibraheem Samirah, D-Fairfax, was so new to the General Assembly when he stood to protest President Donald Trump during a speech at Jamestown last month, it’s not clear that reporters covering the event initially recognized him as a state lawmaker.

Since then, Samirah, who won his seat in a February special election and served just six days of this year’s legislative session, has emerged as one of the body’s more outspoken members, penning an op-ed critiquing the so-called Virginia Way, debating the Roanoke Times editorial page about civility and, most recently, challenging U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Virginia Beach, in a Twitter thread that accused her of using “Republican talking points against fellow Democrats” and urged her to support an impeachment inquiry against Trump.

Issues

Health

Virginia Department of Health issues warning on vaping illness

Robert Zullo
Virginia Mercury – Aug. 26, 2019

Three cases of a severe lung illness associated with vaping have been reported in Virginia, the state Health Department reported Monday in a warning about the risks of e-cigarettes.

As of last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had identified 193 potential cases of the vaping-related lung illness in 22 states.

Education

Decades after Brown decision, Virginia is still grappling with school segregation

By Mechelle Hankerson
Virginia Mercury – Aug. 26, 2019

Still grappling with school segregation: Sixty-five years after the Brown v. Board of Education decision, de facto racial segregation remains a problem for some Virginia school systems.

In total, 93 schools in the state have student bodies that are more than 75 percent black, the threshold the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s uses to define segregation. The majority are in Richmond, Norfolk, Henrico County, Petersburg, Portsmouth and Newport News.

 

Military Housing

Va. military families are living with mold and pests. Will Congress fix it?

By Allison Winter
Virginia Mercury – Aug. 26, 2019

Virginia lawmakers are pushing legislation to protect military families from threats in their own homes, like toxic mold, pests and disrepair.

Democrats who represent the state in the U.S. Congress want to put new requirements on the companies that manage privatized military housing. The scramble for new safeguards comes after reports of widespread problems in privatized military housing, much of it in aging homes.

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