Friday, September 23, 2016

Early Voting Has Started - Avoid the Lines!

Virtually all voters in Virginia are eligible to vote by mail or vote early in person with a legal reason. 

In 2008, 1 in 5 Fairfax County voters cast their vote before Election Day.

Sign Up Online
You can now apply to vote by mail by using an online form on my website.  It takes only 3 minutes to apply:

Sunday, September 11, 2016

47 New Americans at Gunston Hall

Yesterday, I was honored to attend a naturalization ceremony for forty-seven new United States Citizens at Gunston Hall.  It was both an honor and very interesting.  You can see pictures here.

The citizen candidates hailed from 20 countries.  I have now been to about two dozen countries, but I had only been to four of the countries represented in the ceremony - it was a really interesting mix.  I had expected it to be a different group, but it says a lot to me about who is coming to the U.S. and making up our community.

I pointed out to them that about thirty-percent of all residents of the 36th District are foreign born so they are going to have lots of company! 

I also found the oath they took to be fascinating.  I had never heard that oath administered before, and it was a fresh reminder to me of our fundamental obligations as citizens of the United States.  Natural born citizens are never required to take any oath.  This made me think about how all of us should be reminded of our responsibilities.  Here is the text.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Weekly Column: Virginia Faces Another Shortfall

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, The Mt. Vernon Voice and The Potomac-Stafford Local in the week of September 7, 2016.
Virginia Faces Another Shortfall

Last month, Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that state revenues were lower than assumed in our state budget passed earlier in the year.  This creates a series of difficult choices. 
In July, the Governor announced that the budget ended on June 30 and came in $266 million short of expectations.  Last month, the Governor announced that due to continued lagging revenues, the current budget was projected to be short by $850 million this year and $630 million in next fiscal year.  This creates a total $1.7 billion from what was budgeted last session.   
There are many causes of this.  First, the lingering effects of the Sequester – automatic spending cuts by the federal government – continue to stall the Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads economies.  Cuts to defense spending alone took $9.8 billion and 115,000 jobs out of the Virginia economy.  Income tax collections are down, even with 2.6% job growth last year, because new jobs do not pay as much as the jobs we have lost.  Commercial office vacancies are still at record highs in Northern Virginia.