How Much Have We Lost?

Monday, February 20, 2017

2017 Fairfax County Town Hall Videos and Recap

On February 11, I had approximately 200 Fairfax County residents attend my Mount Vernon Town Hall held at the Walt Whitman Middle School and my Lee District Town Hall held at Hayfield Elementary School, both in Alexandria. I was joined by Senator Adam Ebbin and Delegate Paul Krizek in Mount Vernon.  In Lee District, I was joined by Senator George Barker, Delegate Mark Sickles, Delegate Krizek, and Delegate Vivian Watts.

At these events, I spoke in detail on my legislative goals, the status of my introduced legislation and answered questions from attendees.
Senator Surovell at Hayfield Elementary


Some of the topics of discussion were:

Supporting our Immigrant Communities
Coal Ash/Water Quality Issues
LGBTQ Rights
Environmental Concerns
Public Education Funding 
                                Mental Health Funding

There was excellent turnout and good question from the attendees.

If you were in able to attend, check out videos of the town halls below! You will be able to learn about my legislative agenda in-depth, the 2017 General Assembly legislative session, and hear your community's questions!

Mount Vernon:

Lee District:






Weekly Column: Coal Ash Bill Passes, Computers and Predatory Lending to be Studied

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, Springfield Gazette, The Mt. Vernon Voice, and the Potomac and Stafford Locals in the week of February 13, 2017.
Coal Ash Bill Passes, Computers and Predatory Lending to be Studied

We have one week to go in session and negotiations are rapidly reaching conclusion as we push to finish out work so we can get back to our families and our jobs. 
This past week, my legislation to raise Virginia’s threshold between misdemeanors and felonies from $200 to $500 failed.  Virginia’s threshold has not changed since 1981.  Our existing system unnecessarily focuses police and prosecutors on minor crimes instead of violent crime while tainting thousands of Virginia’s suffering from depression or drug addiction with felony charges for life. 
The House of Delegates passed my legislation requiring Dominion to provide better information on coal ash pollution, disaster preparedness, and recycling.  I am not happy that a permitting moratorium was removed, it is better than no bill at all and the Governor will also have a chance to amend the legislation.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Weekly Column: Senate Budget, Town Halls and AirBnB

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, Springfield Gazette, The Mt. Vernon Voice, and the Potomac and Stafford Locals in the week of February 13, 2017.
Crossover week of the 2017 Session came to a close as we finished initial action on over 3,000 bills.  Twenty-two of my bills of were passed by the Senate and moved on to the House of Delegates.

My two Saturday Town Hall meetings had the largest crowds I have seen in eight years.  There was significant concern regarding federal immigration raids on U.S. 1.  On Friday, I received alarming reports that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had arrested numerous Latinos in a raid on U.S.1.  While the deportation of convicted felons has been consistent policy, random street sweeps and arrest or deportations of law abiding residents is unprecedented in our community.  I will work to get better information and seek to stop these actions.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Weekly Column: Progress On Water Quality & 2% Teacher Pay Raise Proposed

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, Springfield Gazette, The Mt. Vernon Voice, and the Potomac and Stafford Locals in the week of February 6, 2017.
The last week of January was especially busy as the General Assembly approached February 7th – Crossover – the day we are required to complete all work on bills originating in our chamber.  The bills saved for last usually involve the hardest issues to resolve.

Out of the 40 bills I introduced twenty-two have passed the Senate or are poised for passage before Crossover. 

Last week saw another victory for water quality.  This session, I introduced three bills to help control water pollution caused by coal ash.  One of my bills was reported by the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee over the objection of Dominion Power.  The bill prohibits the issuance of any final permits until Dominion to identifies and describes all water pollution occurring at coal ash ponds and demonstrate corrective measures, evaluate coal ash removal or “clean closure,” and demonstrate that leaving coal ash in place or “cap in place” will not put the community at risk during hurricanes, floods or other major weather events.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

2017 Puller Institute Fellows

When I moved across the hall in the State Capitol from the House of Delegates to the Senate. One of the things, I was most proud to bring with me was my practice of bringing a group of high school students from my district to Richmond each session to learn how their state government works.

The Puller Institute, named for my predecessor in the 36th District, Toddy Puller, and the Amundson Institute that I had as a Delegate, have always been very successful.  The 2017 Puller Institute was no exception.

This year's Puller Institute Fellows were:
  • Jacob Raman (West Potomac HS)
  • Amanda Ghiloni (West Potomac HS)
  • Celia Lane (West Potomac HS)
  • Mark Weil (West Potomac HS)
  • Mary Peterson (West Potomac HS)
  • Malcom Johnson (Forest Park HS)
  • Ian Peverall (Mount Vernon HS)
  • Kiley Finnerin (Mountain View HS).

Thursday, February 2, 2017

2017 Prince William County Town Hall Videos and Recap

This past weekend, I had over 100 Prince William County residents attend my Northern Prince William County Town Hall held at the Occoquan Town Hall and my Southern Prince William County Town Hall at Forest Park High School in Montclair.

Senator Surovell at Occoquan Town Hall
During this time, I spoke in depth about my legislative priorities, my proposed legislation and answered questions.

Some of the topics discussed were:

Hands Free Driving
Medicaid Expansion
The State Budget
Firearm Violence Prevention Legislation
Environmental Concerns
Transportation Funding
Public Education Funding 
Green Energy

We saw excellent attendance and good questions.

If you were unable to make these town halls, check out my videos that recorded both events. You will be able to learn about my legislative agenda in-depth, the 2017 General Assembly legislative session, and hear your community's questions!

Check out videos of the town halls below!



Northern Prince William County:


Southern Prince William County:














Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Weekly Column: Week #3 - Town Halls, Cycling Safety and Tuition Transparency

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, Springfield Gazette, The Mt. Vernon Voice, and the Potomac and Stafford Locals in the week of January 24, 2017.
Week #3: Town Halls, Cycling Safety and Tuition Transparency

               Week three saw our General Assembly in full swing and movement on many bills.

               First, over 100 residents came out for my two Town Halls in Prince William County.  There were many questions about my “hand’s free” legislation, coal ash legislation, increasing teacher salaries, tuition affordability, predatory lending, and other issues.

               Thirteen of my bills have either passed or are poised for passage out of the Senate this week, ten bills were rejected, and sixteen are still awaiting action in committee.  One day, I had to defend eleven different bills in committee in addition to attending a floor session and two committees.   

Two cycling safety bills passed this week.  First, one bill clarifies that no motor vehicle can use a bicycle lane to pass another vehicle on the right.  More bike lanes are being constructed across Virginia and our traffic code does not clearly prohibit the interplay between these lanes and passing on the right using pavement.  Cutting into a bike lane to pass on the right can be deadly and needs to be illegal.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Fairfax County Interview With Cable Reports & Delegate Marcus Simon

Yesterday, I lucky enough to once again sit for an interview with Woody Evans on Cable Reports along with fellow Fairfax County Delegation member Delegate Marcus Simon. 

During the interview we were able to discuss our legislative agendas including my legislation to increase transparency in death investigations and closed meetings as well as  my bills to regulate internet-based lending and require public notice of public university tuition increases. We also discussed the state of the budget and its effect in Farifax County.

Thank you to Comcast Cable and Cable Reports for having me on again!

Prince William County Interview on Cable Reports

Last week, I was honored to sit for an interview once again with Woody Evans on Cable Reports to discuss the 2017 Legislative Session and what it has in store for Prince William County.

During the interview, we discussed my legislative agenda including my bills to address sewage runoff from the City of Alexandria, ground water pollution from coal ash, hands-free driving, driver Privilege Cards and much more.

Thank you to Comcast Cable and Cable Reports for having me on the show again!  I hope to be on again soon.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Weekly Column: Raw Sewage and Predatory Lending Addressed and U.S. 1 Funding Update

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, Springfield Gazette, The Mt. Vernon Voice, and the Potomac and Stafford Locals in the week of January 24, 2017.
               The General Assembly Session is in full gear and legislation has begun to move through the process as we start to take action on 3,000 bills. 
               First, this weekend I am hosting two town hall meetings in Prince William County.  On Saturday, January 28 from 9-11 a.m. I will be at the Occoquan Town Hall with Delegate Luke Torian and Senator George Barker, and from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. I hold a Town Hall with Senator Jeremy McPike and Delegate Luke Torian at Forest Park High School.  Please come out, attend and ask questions.
               Three of my bills have been passed by the Senate and moved on to the House.  Mostly importantly, we reached a compromise solution that will require the City of Alexandria to have measures in place to prevent 95% of all raw sewage discharges into the Potomac River by 2025. 
               Reaching this conclusion was not easy and the City is not happy about it, but water quality is a concern to all Virginia’s regardless of political party.  The resolution would not have occurred without the help of City of Alexandria Senator Adam Ebbin and Committee Chairman Richard Stuart who represents the Northern Neck.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Weekly Column: Surovell Initiatives Moving in the Legislature

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, Springfield Gazette, The Mt. Vernon Voice, and the Potomac and Stafford Locals in the week of January 17, 2017.
Several of my bills are moving quickly in the General Assembly’s “short,” 45-day.

First, the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee passed my bill to require the city of Alexandria to expedite its cleanup of its primary raw sewage discharges into the Potomac River after consolidating my bill with Committee Chairman Senator Richard Stuart’s bill. 
Many legislators agree that we cannot tolerate 70 million gallons of untreated sewage pouring into the Potomac River for the next 30 years while the city addresses the rest of what’s called a “combined sewer overflow” system dating from the 1800s.   Water quality is a nonpartisan issue.  I will continue to expedite this legislation with Senator Stuart and Delegate Dave Albo who is carrying similar legislation in the House of Delegates.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Eastern Fairfax County Largely Missing from TJ

Since it opened when I was a freshman at West Potomac H.S., Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology has achieved much academic acclaim by skimming off students from around Northern Virginia.  The success has also attracted corporate grants and additional funding that other schools - especially schools in Eastern Fairfax County - can only dream about obtaining. 

The new admission statistics for Thomas Jefferson High School's Class of 2020 are out and it appears to be more of the same.  The full stats are below, but here are the highlights:
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