I was moved almost to tears by a recent visit to my office by law enforcement officers. Sheriffs, deputies, state police, dispatchers, and local police were all represented as we squeezed into my Richmond office.
Heading Into Coal Country
BIG STONE GAP/MOUNTAIN EMPIRE COMMUNITY COLLEGE:
When I think of economic development in Southwest Virginia, I think of drones. And when I think of drones, I think of Jack Kennedy. Jack, a former State Senator and current Clerk of the Courts in Wise, has been the cheerleader in the region and in Richmond about the possibilities that drones present.
When someone asks "what did you do on your summer vacation?," Janet Howell will have a ready answer: She went to Southside and Southwest Virginia.
Visiting Southwest Virginia #1
MARION: I was eager to visit Marion because I wanted to talk with Eric Blevins. Eric wrote an op-ed last April in the Richmond Times Dispatch about the drug addiction crisis in his hometown. Eric is in his early thirties and at about thirteen started using various drugs and alcohol. He has been clean for over six years. Currently, he is a peer counselor and is studying to become a licensed counselor. He has seen or experienced it all. I reached out to him to see if he would share his story and advice with me.
Several days ago I wrote about my planned ten day trip to two of the "extremes" of Virginia: Southside and Southwest. Augie Wallmayer had written a book about the regions and the extreme challenges they face after the loss of the manufacturing and coal industries. My husband Hunt has spent his whole career in economic development in Latin America and I feel that as a state senator I have a responsibility for all of Virginia. So, we decided to spend our vacation getting to know those regions better.
My husband Hunt and I have started our eleven-day car trip through Southside and Southwest Virginia. This is not your typical vacation. Let me explain. Earlier this year I realized I don't know parts of Virginia as well as I would like. I have gone all over the state for various commission meetings but those are very programmed and rushed.
One of the most vexing problems facing Virginia families is understanding student loan options. The whole process is confusing and often opaque. Navigating the system is difficult. And there are sharks in the water.
By the time her current term ends late in 2019, state Sen. Janet Howell will have served 28 years in Richmond.
And she says she’s ready to spend at least four more there.
Howell (D-32nd) confirmed at a recent session in McLean plans to run for an eighth term. She was first elected in 1991 in a district that has varied in shape over the years, but currently includes portions of Fairfax and Arlington counties.
In remarks during a forum sponsored by the Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce, Howell expressed happiness with the performance of Gov. Northam.
Each year it takes me a couple weeks to process what happened during the legislative session. This year is no exception.
Please join me at one of two upcoming Post Legislative Session Town Hall meetings for a report on the 2017 General Assembly session:
Monday, April 17, 7:30-9:00 p.m.
With Delegate Ken Plum at Reston Community Center at Lake Anne
1609 Washington Plaza North
Saturday, April 22, 10 a.m.- 12 noon
With Senator Barbara Favola and Delegates Rip Sullivan and Patrick Hope
TJ Middle School
125 S. Old Glebe Road
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