Dec. 8 to Dec. 14

Dec. 8 to Dec. 14
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Lawyers for the House Intelligence Committee, Stephen Castor (L) representing the minority Republicans, and Daniel Goldman representing the majority Democrats, are sworn in before testifying to the House Judiciary Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill December 9, 2019 in Washington, DC. The hearing is being held for the Judiciary Committee to formally receive evidence in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, whom Democrats say held back military aid for Ukraine while demanding they investigate his political rivals. The White House declared it would not participate in the hearing. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Summary

Federal: Virginia Democrat in swing district faces heat at town hall  (Abigail Spanberger)

Republicans don’t budge as Democrats cite ‘overwhelming’ evidence; Cline calls impeachment a ‘stain’ on House

State Executive:  3 questions with Attorney General Mark Herring at his cannabis summit

State Legislature:  Why I oppose a partisan judicial Virginia gerrymander (Mark Levine)

Environment:  Environmental Priorities for Virginia Virginia Conservation Network Hosts 2019 General Assembly Preview

Economy:  Yes Virginia, your economic future looks good. But watch out for storm clouds.

Right to Work:  Virginia Explained: The growing debate (and divide) on right to work

Education:  Northam proposes $94 million boost for early childhood education

Federal

Virginia Democratic rep in swing district faces heat at town hall over impeachment
By: Devan Cole
CNN – December 9, 2019

A Virginia Democratic congresswoman who was a reluctant supporter of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump found herself in the middle of a tense town hall on Sunday when she explained her position on the matter.

Constituents in Rep. Abigail Spanberger’s moderate district — she unseated Republican Rep. Dave Brat last year — who both supported and opposed the impeachment effort shouted at times during the event in Spotsylvania, Virginia. She was discussing her record and instances when she voted against House Democratic leadership when a few audience members interrupted and told her to move on to impeachment.

Republicans don’t budge as Democrats cite ‘overwhelming’ evidence; Cline calls impeachment a ‘stain’ on House
By: Robin Bravender
Virginia Mercury – December 9, 2019

Lawyers for U.S. House Democrats laid out their best case for impeaching President Donald Trump on Monday, warning that his behavior continues to pose an “imminent threat” to national security.

U.S. Rep. Ben Cline, R-Botetourt, and the lone Virginian on the committee, who has called impeachment a “sham,” said the Democrats’ case is built on “witness presumption, hearsay and speculation.”

“This impeachment process is a farce and a stain on the committee and on the House of Representatives,” Cline said.

State Executive

3 questions with Attorney General Mark Herring at his cannabis summit
By: Ned Oliver
Virginia Mercury – December 11, 2019

Virginia lawmakers who attended a cannabis summit convened by Attorney General Mark Herring on Wednesday called it remarkable that such an event was even taking place on Capitol Square.

“This is an extraordinary day,” said Del. Steve Heretick, D-Portsmouth, a founding member of the newly formed Cannabis Caucus. “I for one can not imagine even five years ago that we would be having this conversation in this building hosted by none other than the attorney general of Virginia.”

State Legislature

Why I oppose a partisan judicial Virginia gerrymander
By: Delegate Mark Levine
The Washington Post – December 11, 2019

A proposed amendment to Virginia’s Constitution could permanently gerrymander the commonwealth against the will of Virginia’s voters. By giving power to redraw district lines to a body — the Virginia Supreme Court — chosen by an illegally constituted former legislative majority, the amendment would allow the dead hand of the past to reconstitute itself forever, with little possibility of ever being uprooted again.

Because I believe the people should choose their elected representatives, I hope Virginia’s representatives reject the proposal.

Issues

Environment, Economy, Right to Work & Education

 

 

Environmental Priorities for Virginia Virginia Conservation Network Hosts 2019 General Assembly Preview.
By: Mercia Hobson
Alexandria Gazette – December 11, 2019

In preparation for the Virginia General Assembly, 2020 Session, the Virginia Conservation Network and its Network partners convened Saturday, Dec. 7 in Richmond, for a preview of environmental issues in the coming session of the General Assembly. The group provided information for a collective approach to advancing policy.

There were nine watch parties across the state; including the one in Reston. Kyle Gatlin, state climate organizer at Virginia Conservation Network, emceed the event held at the National Wildlife Federation Reston Office. Great Falls Group Sierra Club Virginia and Choose Clean Water Coalition hosted the location.

Yes Virginia, your economic future looks good. But watch out for storm clouds.
By: Kimberly Pierceall
The Virginian-Pilot – December 15, 2019

In their latest State of the Commonwealth report, Old Dominion University economists and researchers often get poetic discussing Virginia’s largely optimistic economic future in light of numerous known unknowns and those that can’t even be guessed at.

“A storm is coming, and when we come through it, we will be different. How we prepare now for the storm will, in part, determine how resilient we are in times of economic trouble,” the report concludes.

Virginia Explained: The growing debate (and divide) on right to work
By: Ned Oliver
Virginia Mercury – December 11, 2019

Incoming Democratic majorities in Virginia agree on a lot when it comes to labor policy. They’ve pledged to raise the minimum wage, address paid family leave and ban employment discrimination against LGBT people.

But one question has sharply divided the party and even drawn the attention of two leading Democratic presidential contenders: whether they should use their newfound power to repeal the state’s so-called right to work law.

Northam proposes $94 million boost for early childhood education
By: Mel Leonor
Richmond Times-Dispatch – December 10, 2019

Gov. Ralph Northam is proposing an expansive investment in early childhood education that would increase the number of state-funded preschool slots for Virginia 4-year-olds and create an incentive program for early childhood educators.

Northam’s plan for infants, toddlers and preschoolers has a $94.8 million price tag and is part of his two-year budget proposal to be unveiled Dec. 17. Northam has touted early childhood education as a top priority for his administration, one that he says will level “the playing field” for Virginia families.

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