Photo: Delegate James Edmunds with new Seniority Ranking License Plate
The 2018 General Assembly session has gotten into full swing and this week we began meeting with our assigned committees. As I mentioned last week, this year I am pleased to be serving on the same committees I had last year: Health, Welfare and Institutions (HWI); Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources (ACNR); and Militia, Police and Public Service (MPPS). In addition, I am Chair of an ACNR Sub-Committee.I am hopeful that we will be able to carry out the work of the Commonwealth in a bi-partisan manner, efficient manner this year.
In addition, I am Chair of an ACNR Sub-Committee.I am hopeful that we will be able to carry out the work of the Commonwealth in a bi-partisan, efficient manner this year.
This year committee meetings, as well as Session, will be publicly broadcast and all votes will be recorded. I invite you to link in through the website and watch the meetings if there is an issue in which you are particularly interested. This is an effort to make our work here more transparent to the general public. You can watch live by clicking here.
I've included some quotes from local newspapers regarding this transparency decision.
EDITORIAL: General Assembly now broadcasting committee hearings
Free Lance Star (01/11/18)
"KUDOS TO Virginia's General Assembly for making the public's business a little more transparent. Starting this past Wednesday, committee hearings will now be streamed live and archived, something that open-government proponents have been seeking for years."
Editorial: Cheers for more General Assembly live!
Richmond Times-Dispatch (01/12/18)
"There's good news from Capitol Square. In a bipartisan move that enhances transparency and makes it easier for citizens to watch their government at work, the General Assembly will livestream House and Senate committee hearings."
I also got my new seniority ranking this week. I am now number 34 out of 100 delegates, as evidenced by the new DMV license plates, pictured above.
I am also pleased to be the Co-Chairman, along with Senator Emmett Hanger from the Augusta County area, of the Legislative Sportsman's Caucus this year. We had our first meeting on Thursday morning and a presentation on the status of the bear population was presented by a representative of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
I also met this week with a group of legislators from rural parts of the state at the first meeting of the Rural Caucus, chaired by Senator Frank Ruff from Clarksville. Presentations were made by the new Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring, previously served as the State Forester. Meagan Healy, the Chief Workforce Development Advisor (a new Cabinet position), and Stephen Moret, the Executive Director of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership also made presentations on how they expect to work with the Rural Caucus, the Governor's office, and the General Assembly as we try to promote the rural areas of the state.
The budget is the most important thing we do in the General Assembly. It is not a partisan piece of legislation and the best opportunity we have to work across the aisle. I will continue to be a good steward of your tax dollars. We will be consistent with what we have done in the past and work efficiently and in a transparent manner. The budget we pass will be structurally balanced and show a commitment to the core functions of government. If you would like to watch Chairman Jones' speech he gave on the House Floor this week, you can watch it by clicking here. (Hold the mouse over the link and hit control/follow link to access site.)
Each day the House of Delegates is opened with prayer offered by pastors from the state and recommended by a Delegate. This week, Rev. Frank Carr, from Halifax County, offered the opening prayer on Thursday. Rev. Carr's great-grandfather, Asa Coleman, represented Halifax County in the House of Delegates in 1871-1873, as what was then known as a Radical Republican who was concerned over the state debt created during reconstruction. Delegate Coleman later served as the chair of the Halifax County Republican party and held the chairmanship of the Halifax County Republican Party in 1888.
I had some visitors from the district this week, including Robert Martin of Halifax, Alison Phillips of Keysville, Paul Skakum and Richard Altice from Farmville, and Lawrence Clark from Drakes Branch . If you happen to be in the Richmond area prior to March 10th, please stop in and say hello at Room E211 in the Pocahontas Building.
Quote of the Day:
We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now. Martin Luther King
As long as I am I public office, I will represent you with integrity and humility!