Jobs + the Economy
Virginia is one of the best states for business, but we can do more to make Virginia the best for business. This past session, I supported legislation to attract entrepreneurs and new business startups and to expand workforce development and worker training programs, giving people the incentives and resources they need to do business in Virginia.
We can do more. We must make sure that the funding provided in the new transportation package is efficiently used to develop a modern, efficient transportation system to keep our workforce and our economy moving. We must invest more resources into public and higher education to make sure that Virginia’s students are ready to power the workforce of tomorrow.
This session, I supported the first new sustainable, long-term transportation funding and reform package in 27 years. This bipartisan solution will make sure that Virginia’s economy isn’t stuck sitting behind the wheel, but will continue to move forward.
Now that we have a solution, we need to make sure that we are investing in the right infrastructure projects that will ease congestion and improve our road capacity, helping to keep our workforce and our economy moving.
Virginia’s public education system is one of the best in the nation, but we can do more to make it the best. Our students will power the workforce of tomorrow – and it will be global, more mobile, social, and diverse. This means supporting options that will give our teachers and school divisions the tools and resources they need to expand classroom access, close the achievement gap, and improve student performance by expanding on Virginia’s student-centered approach.
This session, I supported legislation to increase the number of slots at Virginia’s major universities, raise Virginia Tuition Assistance Grants from $2,800 to $3,100, and add an additional $30.8 million to making college degrees more affordable, but we can do better. We need to increase access to our community colleges and trade schools, giving students more options for their futures and expanding career opportunities. STEM education – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education – is one of the keys to our future economy.
Too many working Virginians do not have access to affordable healthcare, and we need to do more to make sure that everyone has access to affordable, quality care. I copatroned a budget amendment to work with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to create a path for access to healthcare for uninsured, working Virginias unable to access affordable care. By continuing to make informed decisions on the options available, we can work toward increasing access for all Virginians.
We need to do more to promote the use of alternate energy sources. This session I copatroned legislation to prevent ‘double counting’ on renewable energy certificates (RECs) and lower energy costs for Northern Virginia, but we need to do more to lower energy costs. We need to start by creating jobs in alternative energy and encouraging businesses and families to move toward more energy efficient resources to power their homes and businesses.
Mental Health Support
We need to close the gaps in our mental healthcare system. I’ve supported legislation to increase the number of waiver slots for mental and developmental disabilities, but we need to do more to reduce the waiting list for waivers. We need alternate service options to improve access to care.
We need to improve our transportation infrastructure, but we need to do more to improve safety on our roads. This session, I introduced legislation that will help stop the reckless behavior of texting while driving.
Our first responders are on the frontlines of emergency management. We need to do more to improve traffic management safety and reduce the number of “struck-by” incidents. We also need to work to do more to improve the benefits for our first responders and their families.
We need to make sure that our local governments have the resources they need to preserve their neighborhoods and communities. I’ve sponsored legislation to identify notices of sale on properties and help localities take the steps needed to ensure the proper maintenance of our spaces and properties. We need to make sure our communities are healthy and maintained.