Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Weekly Column: Assault Weapons and Farmer's Markets Don't Mix

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, Springfield Connection, The Prince William Times, The Fort Hunt Herald, and Potomac Local in the week of September 8, 2019.
Every Saturday morning, my father and 12 year-old son go to the Alexandria Farmer’s Market.  My son gets cookies.  My dad gets ham biscuits.  Two weeks ago, they brought me some homemade salsa.  This weekend, they got something else.
Four men in a group called “The Right to Bear Arms” showed up at the Alexandria City Farmer’s Market carrying AR-15 assault rifles outfitted with scopes and bipods for sniping.  According to a video one of the group members, they staged this action to “educate people” about gun rights and “exercising our constitutional rights without fear to do so.”  The video is also filled with the usual references to freedom and the government taking away rights if you do not use them.  He also indicated they intended to do these kind of “monthly walks.”

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Hurricane Dorian

Hurricane Dorian is currently battering the Bahamas and is expected to turn north along the Atlantic Coast. The Governor declared a state of emergency for the entire Commonwealth of Virginia. Now is the time to prepare for this storm. Our region could experience high winds and heavy rain which may cause flooding and power outages. I have outlined a few resources below. You may call my office throughout the storm for assistance at 571-249-4484.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

VDOT Collecting Comments For I-95 Improvements

Legislation I supported and secured amendments to during the 2019 General Assembly directed CTB to initiate a data-driven study to develop the I-95 Corridor Plan to identify key problem areas, identify potential solutions and areas for additional review and study including investments in transit.  Here is the bill:


In just the last four years, we have:
  • Invested $80 million in Virginia Railway Express
  • Enacted a floor on the local gas tax that provides ongoing funding to Fairfax, Prince William and Stafford transit
  • Funded the widening of the I-95 southbound Occoquan bottleneck
  • Enacted $39.2 million dedicated to I-95 improvements
  • Negotiated the extension of the HOT lanes to Fredericksburg and secured $277 million of funding for additional projects in the I-95 Corridor.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Comment on New HOA/Condo Guidance!

Picture of River Towers After Collapse
The well-publicized partial collapse of River Towers Condominium in Belleview brought to my attention the lack of attention to property maintenance and inadequate capital reserve funds in homeowners associations. 

Last year, the General Assembly passed one bill requiring homeowners associations and condo associations to publish their budgets to their members and provide more transparency about the status of reserve funds.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Weekly Column: 400 Years of Democracy and Its Scars

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, Springfield Connection, The Prince William Times, The Fort Hunt Herald, and Potomac Local in the week of July 20, 2019.
400 Years of Democracy and Its Scars
On July 30, 1619, 22 men met in Jamestown for what eventually would become the longest, continuing, democratically-elected legislative body in the western hemisphere.  They were originally called burgesses and their meeting was an experiment in representative democracy that changed the world.  This week, the nation importantly celebrates the 400th anniversary of that historic gathering. 
First House of Burgesses' Meeting - July 30, 1619 by Sidney King
While the experiment of democracy in the New World ultimately led to some incredible results, Virginia’s democracy was far from perfect.  Some of the most egregious scars were Virginia’s laws that codified, encouraged, tolerated and forced enslavement on African people, forcibly first brought to Point Comfort in today’s Hampton a few weeks after the House of Burgesses’ first meeting.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Senator Surovell's Official Comment on G.W. Parkway Safety

Stone Bridge on G.W. Parkway carrying Alexandria Avenue
The letter below was my initial public comments on improving traffic safety on the George Washington Memorial Parkway.  I will provide supplemental comments on completion of my constituent survey - 450 comments and counting!

You can complete my survey by using this link!


www.bit.ly/GWPSurvey


Monday, July 15, 2019

Provide Public Comment on The G.W. Parkway Safety Study!

Stone Bridge on G.W. Parkway at Alexandria Avenue
All who live in Mt. Vernon understand how unsafe conditions have become on the George Washington Memorial Parkway.

Violent collisions occur on a regular basis. Cyclists and pedestrians risk their lives to get on the bike trail or catch the 11-Y bus.  Many collisions are even fatal.  You can read more about my thoughts about why this is happening here:

Thanks to Congressman Don Beyer, the National Park Service is now taking official public comments on safety solutions for the George Washington Memorial Parkway from July 11 to August, 21, 2019.

I have designed a survey that also includes areas for open ended comments to collect feedback from the Mt. Vernon Community.  At the conclusion of the comment period, I will aggregate all of the comments and provide them to the National Park Service to ensure that your voice is heard.

You can find information regarding the study on the NPS official website here:


Please complete my survey and provide your comments below!

http://bit.ly/GWPkwyStudy

Weekly Column: Time to Speak Up to Fix the Parkway

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, Springfield Connection, The Prince William Times, The Fort Hunt Herald, and Potomac Local in the week of July 15, 2019.
On July 11, over 150 people attended a National Park Service (NPS) meeting to share comments on NPS’s safety study and the future of the southern section of the George Washington Memorial Parkway.  Delegate Paul Krizek, Congressman Don Beyer and I have been asking for a safety study for four years and so far NPS has produced excellent information. 
I have lived about two blocks from the Parkway most of my life and significant changes have occurred.  The Defense Department moved 15,000 new employees to Fort Belvoir after 2005 has proven to be a real tipping point.  More specifically, many people who live in Maryland and worked at Walter Reed Medical Center now come across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and take the Parkway south to the Walker Gate.  In the evening rush hour, they race north and switch to Fort Hunt Road to access I-495 gridlocking Fort Hunt Road.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Weekly Column: Working to Stop Gun Violence

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, Springfield Connection, The Prince William Times, The Fort Hunt Herald, and Potomac Local in the week of July 8, 2019.
Working to Stop Gun Violence 
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has called the state legislature to Richmond this week for a special session to focus on measures to reduce firearm violence in the state.  Addressing this problem is long overdue. 
Last year, guns killed more people than car accidents in Virginia.  The majority of those deaths were people committing suicide.  
Just last week, three people were shot in the Fairfax County portion of the 36th District in Gum Springs and Rose Hill.  The week before that, two people were found shot to death in the woods off Featherstone Road in Woodbridge.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Weekly Column: Decision Helps Keep Drinking Water Safe

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, Springfield Connection, The Prince William Times, The Fort Hunt Herald, and Potomac Local in the week of June 23, 2019.

Decision Helps Keep Drinking Water Safe
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court rendered a decision that has major significance for Virginia and especially for Northern Virginia, in addition to their decision on redistricting. 
Few realize that Virginia has a series of uranium lodes that run along the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  The largest lode is in Pittsylvania County on the North Carolina border, but a major series of lodes are in Madison, Culpeper and Fauquier Counties at the headwaters of the Occoquan River.  The Occoquan is a major source of drinking water for Fairfax and Prince William Counties.  
After Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island near disaster in 1979, a partial meltdown of a nuclear reactor, the Virginia General Assembly in 1982 enacted a moratorium on uranium mining.  While some federal permits are required for uranium mining, most thought that the states were allowed to adopt more stringent environmental protections as they are for any other mining or environmental requirements.  

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Weekly Column: More Work Needed to Stop Unrepresentative Districts

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, Springfield Connection, The Prince William Times, The Fort Hunt Herald, and Potomac Local in the week of June 16, 2019.
More Work Needed to Stop Unrepresentative Districts
This week, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill, a gerrymandering case.  Justice Ginsberg essentially wrote that the Virginia House of Delegates was not allowed to bring the appeal.
Here is some background.  The General Assembly is required by the Constitution of Virginia and  the U.S. Constitution’s  Fifth Amendment to redraw congressional and state legislative districts after each census.  In 2011, the General Assembly held a special session.  Republicans held the majority in the House of Delegates, Democrats controlled the state Senate and Republican Governor Bob McDonnell was in office.  

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Metro Shutdown Begins Saturday

Crumbling Platform Braddock RdThis summer, Metro will shut down all six stations south of DCA. This work is the result of dedicated funding I supported in the 2019 budget. Metro will be providing shuttle bus services. Please find information below from Metro, VDOT, and the Washington Area Bicycling Association about transportation alternatives including bicycle and bus services.

2019 Platform Improvement Project Activities

Metro's contractor will work concurrently at all six stations south of National Airport in summer 2019 to expedite construction and ensure the stations are ready to reopen for customers after September 8.