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READ: Warner encourages siting chip plants in VA
Virginia Mercury, Sarah VogelsongJuly 28, 2022

Warner says he’s in ‘active conversations’ about siting semiconductor plants in Virginia

$52 billion in investment expected as CHIPS+ bill passes U.S. Senate

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner said Wednesday he is “in active conversations” about locating semiconductor chip manufacturing facilities in Virginia.

“My hope is that with my work on this we can secure one of those factories in Virginia,” he said during a press call touting federal legislation, passed by the Senate later in the day, that commits $52 billion in subsidies to domestic chip manufacturers.

The so-called CHIPS+ legislation aims to spur the growth of semiconductor manufacturing in the United States, which has fallen over the past few decades. The law passed the Senate on a bipartisan 64-33 vote.

While the United States produced 37% of the global semiconductor supply in the 1990s, “today we’re down to about 12%,” said Warner, citing a figure also marshaled by the Biden administration in support of the law.

 

Stage is set for dramatic House races in Virginia this fall
Virginia Mercury, Kyle Kondik June 24, 2022

Matchups are set for a pair of high-profile House races in our home state. State Sen. Jen Kiggans (R) will face Rep. Elaine Luria (D, VA-2) in a Hampton Roads-based seat, while Prince William County Supervisor Yesli Vega (R) won a competitive primary for the right to challenge Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D, VA-7). The Crystal Ball rates the former a Toss-up and the latter Leans Democratic.

Democrats were hoping that a far-right Republican, Jarome Bell, would beat Kiggans, and some even tried to help make that happen. But Kiggans, a prized national Republican recruit, won easily, 56%-27%. Joe Biden won VA-2 by only a couple of points — down a few points from the previous iteration of the district — and we’ve previously noted that it is now the median House district by presidential performance. The district, under differing lines, has a swingy history: It has changed hands 4 times since the 2000 election, and very well could a fifth time this year.

Meanwhile, Vega emerged from a crowded field in the reconfigured VA-7, which used to include some of the Richmond area but instead is now more oriented in Northern Virginia. Biden won it by about 7 points, and Spanberger is among the most impressive of the newish crop of Democratic House members (she was first elected in 2018). But her power of incumbency, to the extent it matters (debatable these days), is mitigated by the district being so new to her, and Republicans will heavily target her.

It may be that, given the way the cycle is developing, that VA-2 will soon move into Leans Republican territory and VA-7 will be a Toss-up. We’re not quite yet there ourselves but we can understand the sentiment.

house districtsVirginia’s political lines underwent a change in late 2021 with redistricting, shifting voters into new congressional and state legislative districts.

Like the rest of the country, Virginia had to redraw its political boundaries using new census data. The Virginia Supreme Court finalized the state’s redistricting process last December, reconfiguring the Commonwealth’s 11 congressional districts for the 2022 midterms.

2022 Primaries: Republicans take aim at Virginia swing districts
With Virginia’s new political map not approved until after Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s win in 2021, the congressional primaries, GOP conventions and midterms this year are the first time voters will be casting ballots under the redrawn political districts.

2022 Virginia Primary Election Results
PBS NewsHourJune 21, 2022

Virginia voters picked a state senator and a law enforcement official Tuesday as the Republican nominees for what could be two of the country’s most competitive U.S. House races.

Jen Kiggans defeated three challengers to win the nomination in Virginia’s coastal 2nd District and will take on U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria. And Yesli Vega, an auxiliary deputy and county-level elected official, prevailed in a crowded field in the central Virginia 7th District. Vega will face Rep. Abigail Spanberger in the general election, where Republicans are bullish about their chances of flipping the seats currently held by the two centrist Democrats.

Sen. Louise Lucas, president pro tempore of the Virginia Senate, has described her chamber as a “brick wall” against some of Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s biggest educational priorities, from charter schools to a proposed ban on what he’s described as “divisive concepts.”

But Thursday several Democrats on the Senate’s influential Education and Health committee, which Lucas chairs, voted with Republicans to advance one of Youngkin’s top issues — a bill aimed at undoing recent admissions changes at Virginia’s prestigious governor’s schools.

The original legislation by Del. Glenn Davis, R-Virginia Beach, specifically targeted policies at Fairfax County’s Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology — consistently ranked as the best public school in the country by U.S. News and World Report.

The school has made national headlines for significantly shifting its admissions process in 2020 amid a nationwide reckoning on race following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

VIRGINIA…ABC puts $77K worth of Russian vodka into storage
Virginia Mercury, GRAHAM MOOMAWFebruary 28, 2022

The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority says the $77,000 worth of Russian-sourced vodka it pulled from shelves won’t be thrown out but will be stored at its facilities “until further notice.”

The government-run liquor monopoly announced Sunday it was removing seven vodka brands from its stores in response to Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s call for the state to show solidarity against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Combined, those brands accounted for just over $1 million in sales in fiscal year 2021, according to ABC spokesperson Dawn Eischen, a small fraction of the $57 million in sales for the American vodka brand Tito’s, Virginia’s top-selling liquor. An estimated $68,000 in Russian-sourced vodka was pulled from store shelves, Eischen said, with another $9,500 idled at ABC’s distribution center that won’t be shipped out to stores.

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Upcoming Elections
Virginia Department of Elections
 First day of in-person early voting at your local registrar’s officeFriday, September 23, 2022

Deadline to register to vote, or update an existing registrationOctober 17, 2022.

Deadline to apply for a ballot to be mailed to you: October 28, 2022. Your request must be received by your local voter registration office by 5:00 p.m.

Voter registration offices open for early voting: Saturday, October 29, 2022. 

The last day of in-person early voting at your local voter registration office:  Saturday, November 5, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.

See who is on your ballot by viewing the candidate lists.

Register to vote or apply for an absentee ballot online using the Citizen Portal.

The Virginia Supreme Court unanimously approved maps for new congressional and state legislative districts that will remain in place for the next decade.

The court was put in charge of the state’s political redistricting, a once-a-decade process of redrawing electoral districts with new census data, after a bipartisan commission failed to get through partisan squabbling to come to an agreement on new political maps.

A first round of maps were submitted by two experts, one nominated by Democrats and the other nominated by Republicans, appointed by the court to help with the process. The justices held two public hearings and allowed written comments and draft maps to be submitted by Dec. 20.

US…Billions in aid for Ukraine eyed in struggle against Russian invasion
Virginia Mercury, JENNIFER SHUTTFebruary 28, 2022

Congress is working quickly to determine how much military and humanitarian aid it should send to Ukraine as the war in that country continues to claim lives and send hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians fleeing as refugees.

Lawmakers are working with the Biden administration to provide billions in funding at the same time negotiators continue to work towards bipartisan agreement on more than $1.5 trillion in government funding ahead of a March 11 deadline.

Democrats and Republicans reached a framework earlier this month on that government funding package and have since been drafting the bills behind closed doors. But the five-day-old war in Ukraine and concerns about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s potential ambitions beyond that country have led to calls for a significant uptick in U.S. military and humanitarian aid.

YOUNGKIN… calls for severing of state ties to Russia and more Va. headlines
Virginia Mercury, Staff Report February 28, 2022

In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Gov. Glenn Youngkin is asking the state government and Virginia universities to sever any financial ties to Russia. He also urged Norfolk and Roanoke to end sister city partnerships with Russian cities.

Election Day 2021: Live results and analysis
November 2, 2021

Join Post reporters for live results and analysis as Virginia votes for governor, lieutenant governor and its House of Delegates. There are also two special House races in Ohio, contentious ballot measures and mayoral races across the country. Virginia is one of just two states that holds its statewide elections the year following a presidential contest, and the race is often viewed as a kind of referendum on the party in the White House — and how it might fare in the midterms the following year. Former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe (D) is looking to become only the second person since the Civil War to serve twice in the state’s top elected office. The 64-year-old most recently led the Democratic Party’s efforts on redistricting across the country. During his time as governor, he became known for his efforts on economic development, although he faced gridlock due to a Republican majority in the General Assembly that kept him from achieving his signature campaign promises on health care. McAuliffe faces Glenn Youngkin (R), who has alternately flirted with former president Donald Trump’s ideology and kept him at an arm’s length. He has touted his support for guns and “election integrity,” while focusing on schools and the economy in a bid for suburban voters. The Post’s Libby Casey will anchor live coverage and be joined by reporters Rhonda Colvin, Joyce Koh, Amber Phillips, Lee Powell, Dave Weigel and columnist James Hohmann. Read more: https://wapo.st/3CJKCis. Subscribe to The Washington Post on YouTube: https://wapo.st/2QOdcqK

In a push to end “divisive concepts” in Virginia education, Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration is ending virtually all equity initiatives launched by the state’s Department of Education prior to the governor’s inauguration last month.

The policy changes, announced in an interim report from the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow, hew closely to directives already issued by Youngkin in his first executive order.

According to Balow, every resource listed on the department’s EdEquityVA website falls under the category of a “divisive concept,” including a 52-page “roadmap to equity” developed by the department under former Gov. Ralph Northam and Secretary of Education Atif Qarni.

Last week, Republicans in the House of Delegates passed a bill to exempt any business with 10 or fewer employees from the state’s minimum wage law.

On Monday, Democrats in the Senate voted it down alongside a half dozen other bills aimed at rolling back employee and union-friendly legislation the party passed last year before it lost its House majority.

“So they would be exempt from the current minimum wage? …  Just out of curiosity, where in the state can you live on $14,000 a year?” asked Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, D-Fairfax.

Virginia’s minimum wage currently sits at $11 an hour and will rise to $12 an hour next year under legislation Democrats passed in 2020.

The $14,000 figure cited by Saslaw represents about what someone would earn working full-time for the federally mandated minimum wage of $7.25-an-hour, which is what small businesses could start paying their employees again if the bill were to pass.

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