The media stands as the initial obstacle to achieving inclusivity and equity. Whether at a local or national level, the media often perpetuates division by selectively disseminating information and facts. This deliberate misinformation aims to breed hatred and discord among people. Unfortunately, this pattern has persisted for decades, making eradicating hate even in personal interactions challenging. However, emphasizing that hate has no place in America, including Virginia, is crucial. If elected, I would prioritize cutting through the noise created by the media and instead concentrate on delivering tangible results that benefit all residents of the Commonwealth.
Engage with the community and have meaningful conversations in person. While not everyone may alter their perspective, I will cultivate allies who are passionate about creating positive change. These allies will accompany me on every step of the journey to Richmond. Persevere, never surrender, and spread the message that we should focus on our commonalities rather than our differences, unlike those who prioritize their own agendas.
Several Proverbs resonate with this situation. "Where there is no guidance, the people fall, but in the abundance of counselors, there is victory." It would be unwise to disregard the voices of those I represent. "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel." I will seek out those who share a vision for a better community when engaging with individuals. I will also seek insights from church leaders, as they possess valuable knowledge about their congregations. Additionally, I will build relationships with community leaders who understand the needs of their people better than anyone. Ultimately, my priority will always be putting people first every day.
Strive to establish tax incentives and allocate funds towards fostering business opportunities, job creation, and educational prospects. Ensuring that all individuals have equal access to these resources regardless of their background or circumstances is crucial. Legislatively, we must guarantee that funding is open to everyone, promoting inclusivity and fairness.
Propose implementing a workforce education program that commences during high school, starting as early as 14 years old. This policy aims to expand upon the existing Distributive Education program by offering job opportunities in the private sector, non-profit organizations, as well as state and local levels of government. Under this program, students will attend core courses in school, while the remainder of their day will be dedicated to participating in an occupation. This arrangement will not only generate income for their families but also contribute to a decrease in delinquency and violence within schools. By creating employment prospects before high school graduation, the program will alleviate the burden of college debt and enable parents, guardians, and students to collectively save millions of dollars.
The Department of Defense has set a goal to gradually phase out on-base housing and barracks accommodations, encouraging service members to reside in the local community. However, this decision places additional strain on communities that are already grappling with a need for more affordable and workforce housing. I understand the challenges of finding an affordable and conveniently located residence, ensuring a safe commute to work.
Once I am in the legislature, I will prioritize addressing the shortcomings of existing programs and implementing a series of tax incentives and reductions for builders and buyers. These measures will aim to increase the housing supply and alleviate the burden of housing costs on individuals and families. It is disheartening to witness the disadvantaged being consistently overlooked, and I am determined to advocate for their needs rather than allowing an overreaching bureaucracy to dictate the outcome.
I would prioritize engaging with the community through town hall-style meetings if elected as a delegate. These gatherings would provide a platform for open discussions about our community's needs and potential solutions. Additionally, I would make it a point to attend civil leagues and public events regularly, actively listening to the concerns and ideas of the people. By actively seeking input from diverse communities, we can work towards bridging gaps and fostering a sense of unity that is greatly needed in Virginia.
I aim to actively involve young individuals in the political process by providing opportunities for them to serve as assistants and interns. By offering early workforce training, we can prepare them for potential careers in the Police Force immediately after high school. Additionally, I would encourage young people to attend school board meetings and city council meetings, fostering their engagement in local governance.
Over the years, civic education has experienced a decline, resulting in many students needing help to identify the branches of government. We must address this issue and ensure that our future generation is well-informed and prepared to embrace the opportunities that America has to offer. By prioritizing civic education, we can create a future ready to tackle the challenges and embrace the greatness of our nation.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Virginia Employment Commission faced challenges in accurately verifying and determining eligibility for unemployment benefits. As a result, funds were disbursed to individuals who did not meet the necessary criteria. This unfortunate situation has led to a depletion of designated funds for benefits, subsequently triggering increased taxes for businesses. This additional financial burden has further impacted businesses already struggling due to the unprecedented nature of the pandemic.
· The practices of the Virginia Employment Commission in addressing the substantial amount of fraud-related losses incurred during the pandemic should be subject to review by the Office of the State Inspector General. This review is necessary to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to resolve the issue and prevent similar occurrences in the future.
· School Boards must establish an independent agency dedicated to detecting and addressing fraud, waste, and abuse. This agency will play a crucial role in ensuring that funds are allocated wisely and equitably across all schools within the district. By promoting transparency and accountability, this initiative will guarantee equal access to public funds and grants for all educational institutions.
Propose a comprehensive Unemployment Insurance Tax law reform, specifically focusing on providing tax breaks for small and minority-owned businesses. Additionally, introduce tax incentives for businesses that hire and provide training opportunities for individuals under the age of 18. This multifaceted approach aims to create a skilled and diverse workforce in Virginia, preparing our State for the challenges and opportunities of the next century.
The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has proposed the Coastal Storm Risk Management (CSRM) Project, which involves a substantial investment of $14 billion. This project aims to enhance the resilience of port and waterway supply chains while addressing the challenges posed by climate change. The funds will be utilized to design and construct storm surge barriers, levees, and pump stations. These measures will effectively mitigate storm risks and contribute to the expansion of the Downtown Norfolk Floodwall. By implementing the CSRM Project, the city will be better protected against coastal flooding and the potential damage caused by nor'easters, hurricanes, and other severe storm events.
· Provide State Grants to fully support the ongoing Coastal Storm Risk Management (CSRM) Project and ensure permitting is easily granted without red tape standing in the way.
In the near future, Virginia will need to rely on multiple energy sources to meet its energy needs adequately. With the increasing demand for electricity in homes and vehicles, it is clear that a significant amount of power will be required. While a fully viable and operational Nuclear Fusion Plant is still decades away, the United States Navy has a remarkable track record of operating Nuclear Power Plants without any disasters since the 1950s. Nuclear Power is a Carbon Zero power source, making it an ideal solution to meet the future requirement for Zero Emissions.
The Navy's use of Nuclear Power Plants, with most carriers utilizing a 500 MW plant and the Surry Power Plant operating at about 1300 MW, showcases the potential of this technology. Virginia is fortunate to have a pool of skilled Nuclear Power Plant operators from the Navy and the Shipyards that support them. Additionally, Small Modulator Reactors (SMR) is a future technology already available today. These reactors are clean and safe and have a lifespan of at least 60 years.
To support the transition towards these energy sources, I am committed to attracting companies specializing in building reactors and rebuilding our infrastructure to align with our goals. By doing so, we can meet our energy needs and achieve other important objectives.
· Fund Research and investments into Small Modulator Reactors (SMR) and recycling nuclear fuel for SMRs
· Install numerous SMRs around the State.
· Repair and upgrade the State's power grid to sustain the ability Virginia's 2030 goal of zero-emission
The Local Community Service Boards (CSB) are facing a critical shortage of licensed mental health professionals, which is becoming more challenging due to the growing population with severe mental health concerns.
· By adopting a strategy commonly employed by the Federal Government and numerous corporations, we can address the scarcity of licensed mental health workers in Local Community Service Boards (CSB). This approach involves providing financial support for education and licensure, with the condition that individuals commit to a minimum of five years of service to the CSB or local non-profit community mental health services in areas where CSBs are absent.
· To address the shortage of mental health professionals in the Local Community Service Boards (CSB) and cater to the needs of veterans in crisis, a potential solution is to actively recruit individuals transitioning from the military to join the mental health profession. This initiative would not only help fill the workforce gap but also enable these individuals to contribute their expertise in caring for fellow veterans facing mental health challenges.
· In order to address the funding limitations faced by Local Community Service Boards (CSBs) that hinder their ability to provide housing for homeless individuals and those with mental impairments, it is crucial to allocate additional resources. By securing adequate funding, CSBs can effectively support and accommodate these vulnerable populations, ensuring they have access to safe and stable housing that meets their specific needs.
· To address the pressing need for additional hospital beds and treatment, it is imperative to actively pursue funding opportunities. By securing adequate financial resources, we can expand the capacity of hospitals and treatment facilities, ensuring that individuals with severe mental health issues receive the care they require.
· Furthermore, allocating funding specifically for Spanish-speaking interpreters and multi-lingual staff is essential. Investing in language services can bridge communication gaps and provide culturally competent care to diverse populations. This funding will enable us to better serve individuals with limited English proficiency, ensuring they have equal access to mental health services and support.
· Develop community outreach initiatives aimed at identifying undiagnosed mental illnesses, cancers, and other significant health conditions that often remain unnoticed.
Insufficient funding poses a challenge to sustain the services provided by CSB Mobile Crisis Teams, which engage with individuals on the streets or in shelters. Moreover, CSB Peer Recovery Services require additional support to effectively carry out their mission.
· State funds to support any state Mobile Crisis Teams.
· State funds to help with care and housing (as needed) for both the addict and the families.
· In order to address the ever-growing problem of mental health, it is essential to allocate additional funding to support not only state-funded mental health non-profits but also church outreach programs.
· Addressing the mental health needs of vulnerable populations, such as the homeless and school children, particularly those with special needs, is of utmost importance.
· Ensure that veterans experiencing a mental health crisis are included and provided with the necessary and appropriate assistance.
· In school systems where, local resources are insufficient to adequately support special needs students, it is crucial to provide additional support to ensure their needs are met.
To foster civic engagement, it is essential to involve local minority organizations, civil leagues, church ministers, and local political officials in the conversation. By crafting policies from the ground up rather than top-down, we can ensure that fewer individuals are excluded and more people have a voice in shaping the future of their State and communities.
Engage directly with these communities, actively listening to their concerns and engaging in meaningful discussions to find solutions. Rest assured; I am committed to ensuring that their voices are heard and that every individual in these communities has equal opportunities for success.
Allocate funds to provide teacher pay raises that align with the national average. Recognizing that teachers are the backbone of our nation, it is crucial to address this issue to prevent the decline of the teaching profession in the coming decades. I am committed to implementing these pay raises consistently and without interruption. Additionally, I will work towards passing education reform bills to prioritize the safety of teachers daily.
Education reform emphasizes the essential skills of reading, writing, math, and civics. Many students graduating from our Public Schools Systems lacks these vital skills and cannot attend a community college or university without additional remedial courses.
· Use the phonics systems utilized in Northern Virginia schools k-3 language skills for reading and writing, and extend this style of education to grade 5.
During the 1980s, VHS tapes called "Math Made Easy" simplified math at all levels of education.
· Provided funding to develop a system to simplify math education for K-12
In order to provide the best possible education for both special needs students and the general student population, it is important to evaluate each child individually. Placing special needs students in an environment where they are either learning too quickly or too slowly can hinder their educational progress. Therefore, it is crucial to provide appropriate assistance and support tailored to the unique needs of each student, ensuring that they receive an inclusive and effective education.
· Fund the Virginia Department of Education to audit the school system for adequate support of the special needs student programs for efficiency and effectiveness.
· Ensure that School Systems and School Boards hire an adequate number of special needs teachers and classrooms designated for special needs education.
· Hold those School Systems and School Boards accountable by withholding state funds that fail to provide sufficient education and facilities for Special needs students.
· Fund English as a Second Langue (ESL) Teachers and employ Spanish speaking Staff and Interpreters
School Violence has been on an uptick over the past several years. Either School Boards or School Leadership has been reluctant or refused to do anything to resolve the problem.
· Fund the Virginia Department of Education and the State Attorney General's office to review and report on school systems for school security and crime.
· Remove accreditation and funding of schools that refuse to adequately deal with crime, violence, and the lack of security in their schools.
· Fund every Public School with at least one School Resource Officer (SRO), which may include Off-Duty Officers.
· Increasing the penalties for students who endanger the lives of others and providing rehabilitation services for those students.
It is essential to ensure that everyone is paid fairly, regardless of whether they are public workers or employed in the private sector. The State should take the responsibility to maintain fair wages for all public workers and also prevent private employers from exploiting their workers. In order to create a responsible workforce, it is necessary to establish and enforce regulations that promote fair treatment and compensation for employees in businesses.
Due to the significant influx of refugees in the border States, their housing, medical, and school systems are facing overwhelming challenges. As our State is also receiving a considerable number of refugees, it is crucial that we provide support by allocating funds for ESL teachers in schools and employing staff and interpreters who are fluent in Spanish. It is essential to ensure that all health agencies have the necessary resources to employ Spanish-speaking staff and interpreters, enabling everyone to access the assistance they require, regardless of their English proficiency.
As a State Legislator, I am committed to promoting public safety while addressing the root causes of crime and reducing recidivism rates. It is important to recognize that crime affects all communities, regardless of race or ethnicity. I will focus on implementing evidence-based strategies prioritizing accountability, rehabilitation, and community support.
I believe in holding individuals accountable for their actions, regardless of their background. However, it is crucial also to address the underlying factors that contribute to criminal behavior. This includes investing in education, job training, and mental health services to provide individuals with the tools they need to reintegrate into society successfully.
Furthermore, I will ensure that our justice system is fair, impartial, and equitable. This means supporting judges, prosecutors, and Commonwealth Attorneys who prioritize justice and fairness while also considering the circumstances and degree of the offense. I am dedicated to being a voice for victims and advocating for their rights throughout the criminal justice process.
Taking a comprehensive and balanced approach can promote public safety, address the root causes of crime, and reduce recidivism rates, ultimately creating safer and more prosperous communities for all.
Support communities with additional funding for law enforcement officers, their training, and other equipment. This funding must be provided to communities that cannot make the investment funds the initiative requires.
· Assist funding city needs support to hire new officers who must be trained and properly equipped.
· Bring in high school students to ride along and get earlier workforce training to enter the Police Force after High School.
Additionally, with increased Fentanyl deaths in Virginia, legislation needs to increase the penalties related to the sale and production of Fentanyl to classify overdoses from the drug as "poisonings."
· Death as a result of ingesting Fentanyl, the Coroner's Report needs to state the Cause of Death as Fentanyl Poisoning rather than Drug Overdose.
· If a death results from the sale, distribution, and production of Fentanyl, the individual(s) shall be charged with a Felony Murder.
As the sole member of my administration, I am open and eager to collaborate with individuals passionate about making a tangible impact in our community. I wholeheartedly welcome anyone willing to join me in working toward positive change and improving the lives of our fellow community members. Together, we can create a stronger and more vibrant community for all.