Debra Dispatch: May Update
This past month I have been traveling throughout the district and finishing up my classes at Randolph Macon. I am pleased to provide an update of my work in the district and as your member of the Virginia General Assembly.
I toured the Virginia State University College of Agriculture. They are doing amazing work with urban agriculture, sustainable food systems, and making huge strides in agriculture research by partnering with the School of Engineering.
I bought plants at The Academy at Virginia Randolph’s plant sale! Ms. Wright, the horticulture teacher, and her students are raising money to re-cover their greenhouse. These students worked so hard and did such a wonderful job with their plants.
I toured the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden with Executive Director Shane Tippett. We talked about food justice, making the garden more accessible to our communities, the importance of public spaces, the garden’s history, and their mission statement of connecting people through plants.
I spent a wonderful and informative afternoon with Jesus, Greg, and Neri from Carpenter's Local 205 – discussing how harmful wage theft, tax fraud, and right-to-work laws are for our local workers and economy. I was also fascinated to learn about their "Sisters in the Brotherhood" training and leadership initiatives for women. The program has been incredibly successful: 40% of their carpenters working on the Henrico Data Center are women!
I presented a Resolution to the Virginia Defense Force commemorating their 35th anniversary. I also swore in three new recruits and an officer! Thank you to all of our volunteers and members for your time and sacrifice to protecting the citizens of the Commonwealth.
Absentee voting has begun for the June 11th primary. May 20th is the deadline to register to vote in the primary, and June 4th is the final day to request an absentee ballot by mail. June 8th is the deadline to vote absentee in person.
In compliance with federal law, the Virginia DMV now offers REAL IDs. Beginning October 2020 you will not be able to use a standard driver's license to board domestic flights. REAL IDs have a small star in the upper right corner to indicate that they meet federal requirements. For more information about the REAL ID, please visit this link.
More than 250,000 Virginians are now receiving health care coverage under Medicaid Expansion. To find out if you are eligible, please visit coverva.org.
Restoration of Rights
The Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office is continuing to restore the rights of eligible citizens. These rights include the right to serve on a jury, vote, become a notary public, and run for public office. This does not restore the right to possess a firearm. Firearm possession rights are able to be restored by your local circuit court after your civil rights are restored. To qualify for civil rights restoration, you must have served your time and be free from any term of incarceration and/or supervision resulting from the conviction. If you think you or someone you know may be eligible, please visit www.restore.virginia.gov or call 804-692-0104 to check your status and begin the application process.
Board and Commission Appointments
There are hundreds of board appointments waiting to be filled. If you or someone you know is qualified to fill a seat, please consider applying. You can find a comprehensive list and a step by step application process guide on the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website. Specifically, there are 3 seats that need to be filled by a qualified, 7th Congressional district resident. Residents are needed for the Virginia Commission for the Arts (page 96), Board of Medicine (page 154), and the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation, Board of Trustees (page 177).
VDOT has released a map of current and scheduled paving projects. Largely, Henrico county takes care of its own roads. VDOT maintains state roads (roads that have a number). You can view the map here to see the status of projects.
GRASP (GReat Aspirations Scholarship Program) advisors are available through the high school guidance office to meet with students and their parents. Advisors help first-time students navigate the admissions, financial aid, and FAFSA process. Advisors also do talks and seminars at libraries in the community. Keep an eye on their public calendar!
As always, it is a tremendous honor to serve you in the House of Delegates. Please contact my office if I can be of assistance to you.