Results of the election are not known to me as I write this column, but polling suggests that there will be a shift towards the middle of the political spectrum in the Old Dominion this year. Seldom have the choices been clearer on political philosophy among the statewide and House of Delegates candidates as they were in this election.
Virginia faces some serious challenges that the new governor and the General Assembly must take on. Regardless of the claims that the state has had a budget surplus the last four years, the Commonwealth has experienced slow growth during this period that has produced small ending balances as a result of conservatively estimated revenues. When measured against the unmet needs in many areas of the budget, state coffers are empty.
Transportation needs will take some dollars from a general fund that is already inadequate to address education, mental health and other pressing issues. Fairfax County Public Schools are facing a $140 million deficit in part because of the declining per student support from the state.
The outgoing governor will propose a budget for the next biennium, but the priorities of that budget will need close scrutiny by the new governor and General Assembly. The slow erosion of support for public education at all levels needs to be reversed. With all the data that support the value of preschool programs, the state’s investment in these programs needs to increase. Mental health programs are grossly underfunded with as many as a third of local jail populations being persons in need of mental health treatment.
Although legislation is in place to allow Virginia to move into an expanded Medicaid program, there seems to be reluctance on the part of the commission appointed to bring about certain reforms to take the last step of expanding Medicaid even though the reforms have been accomplished. The new governor should ask the General Assembly to act right away to extend insurance to 400,000 Virginians and to pay for it by receiving federal dollars paid by Virginians. There is no good reason for those dollars to go to residents of another state when there are over a million Virginians without health insurance.
As the location of one of the greatest incidents of gun violence — Virginia Tech — the state needs to enact important gun safety measures that will expand background checks to all gun sales and to expand its background database to include persons with violent mental health illnesses. We need also to recognize that the world has passed us by, and we need to repeal the marriage amendment to allow people who are in love to marry regardless of their sexual orientation. Likewise we need to pass laws against discrimination based on sexual orientation.
That is the beginning of the list of work for the legislature to do. I always invite your recommendations on legislation; email me at [email protected].
Reston resident Ken Plum, re-elected by Reston voters on Nov. 5, has represented Virginia’s 36th District in the Virginia House of Delegates since 1982. Plum’s campaign is Reston Now advertiser.
The office building at 11091 Sunset Hills Road in Reston (via Google Maps) A solar and roofing company is moving its location in McLean to Reston — a $350,000 relocation…
Construction machinery at the I-66 and Nutley Street interchange during sunset (staff photo by Angela Woolsey) In-Person Black Friday Returns — “Over at Tysons Corner in Virginia the parking lot…
Live Fairfax is a bi-weekly column exploring Fairfax County. This recurring column is sponsored and written by Sharmane Medaris of McEnearney Associates. Questions? Reach Sharmane at 813-504-4479. There are so many fun things…
This biweekly column is sponsored by The Mather in Tysons, Virginia, a forward-thinking Life Plan Community for those 62 and better. November — a month containing both Veterans Day and Thanksgiving…
The Ravel Dance Studio will re-open for fall classes 2020. The school will offer in person and virtual online instruction. With over 5000 sq. ft. to social distance the school has added air ionization filtration systems, ballet barres, acrylic dividers, hands free bathrooms, strict monitoring and more.
The Ravel Dance Studio will produce a Nutcracker Ballet Hollywood style video through the Reston Community CenterStage. REGISTRATION online begins August 17.
Chris Green is one of the DMV’s finest fitness instructors. A Lululemon and South Block ambassador, he is a coach and mentor to so many. He embodies grace, positivity and motivation in ways that no one else can. If we could all learn a thing or two from him, the world would be a much better place. He does so much for others, and does so with a smile on his face 99% of the time.
He recently ruptured his Achilles and has an incredibly long and tough journey ahead. As if COVID hadn’t impacted fitness professionals enough, throw this in the mix and it’s a double, even triple whammy. CG is no longer able to work and do what he loves for the time being because of this and we’d love your support.