This week, I highlight some of the community events I attended in recent days, update City of Richmond constituents about the FY23 budget, share ways you and your family can celebrate Earth Day, and more. Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter and staying informed about the current happenings around Virginia Senate District 10.
Community Events This Past Week
Last Thursday, I joined Congressman Donald McEachin, Delegate Rodney Willett, Delegate Betsy Carr, and President Michael Rao of Virginia Commonwealth University for significant check presentations. Through rigorous efforts in Congress, Representative McEachin is bringing historic funding to his district. Thursday’s check presentations focused on two that directly impact VCU: 1) the RVA Gun Violence Prevention Framework (a partnership between VCU, VCU Health System, and the City of Richmond) establishing a evidence-based public health response to address the underlying causes of gun violence; and 2) the RTR Teacher Residency Early Childhood Pathway projects, which will create a pipeline to recruit, support, train, and retain early childhood educators in Central Virginia public schools.
City of Richmond Budget Discussions
The deadline for Richmond City Council to amend the Fiscal Year 2023 Richmond Government Budget is quickly approaching. City of Richmond residents still have the opportunity to be engaged in budget and capital outlay discussions prior to the April 27 proposed budget amendments deadline. The full budget meetings schedule can be found here. Meetings will be livestreamed on the City of Richmond website, and formal meetings air live on TV on local PBS station WCVW (Over-the-Air channel 57.1; Comcast/Verizon FIOS channel 24; DirecTV/DishTV channel 57). Residents are encouraged to reach out to their Richmond City Council Representative if they have any questions or concerns.
Fundamentals of Flight Course for High School Students
The Virginia Space Grant Consortium (VSGC) is offering a free online semester-long Private Pilot Ground School (PPGS) course for high school students across the Commonwealth. This program—offered in partnership with Thomas Nelson Community College—is a rigorous, immersive program that gives students the opportunity to learn about weather, electronic navigation, flight systems and operations, and FAA regulations. Students who complete the course will be eligible to receive the instructor’s signature on their FAA Private Pilots License application enabling them to take the FAA knowledge exam and they will be eligible to apply for competitive flight scholarships that will provide 40 hours of flight training.
The program is open to high school students who are U.S. citizens, Virginia residents, and 16 years old by the start of the Academy session, which will take place from June 20 - August 12, 2022. If you have questions about the program, please contact Virginia Space Grant Consortium Education Program Coordinator, Ian Cawthray, at email@example.com. You can access the application here. The application deadline is May 13, 2022.
Richmond Area Starbucks Locations Make History
This week, five Metro Richmond Area Starbucks locations voted to unionize, becoming the first stores in the Commonwealth to do so. In March, I had the opportunity to meet with members of Starbucks 724, located in the Willow Lawn Shopping Center, to talk about the importance of unionizing alongside Senator Jennifer McClellan, Delegate Betsy Carr, DVPA Chairwoman Swecker, and members of Virginia AFL-CIO. Workers at Starbuck 724 met their goal by unanimously voting #UnionYes in their recent election.
Unions have long been a part of the struggle to improve workers' rights throughout America. Without unions, we would not have the 40-hour work week, child labor laws, unemployment benefits, and employer-based health coverage. I applaud all the courageous workers at Starbucks as they fight for better working conditions and benefits.
Commending Virginia Humanities’ Encyclopedia Virginia
Encyclopedia Virginia, a project launched in 2008 by Virginia Humanities, received a $350,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for a three-year project to tell the inclusive story of the American Revolution in Virginia. The project prioritizes perspectives traditionally left out of our Commonwealth’s and our nation’s history so that all members of our community are represented. The project will be completed in partnership with the Library of Virginia, the American Revolution Museum in Yorktown, the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, Kenah Consulting, which works with tribal clients and cultural institutions, and others. You can learn more about the project by visiting Encyclopedia Virginia.
Celebrating Earth Day
Tomorrow marks the 52nd nationwide celebration of Earth Day. What initially began as a response to the prevalence of air, soil, and water pollution in the United States has since grown into a global celebration centered on issues such as addressing climate change, centering environmental justice in policy making, protecting natural resources, and promoting sustainability from the individual-level to the macro-level.
This year’s theme is Invest In Our Planet. Here are some ways to celebrate Earth Day:
Connecting With My Office
My staff continue to hold meetings with constituents via Zoom or by phone. You can sign up for a meeting with either of my staff members with our easy scheduling app:
You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.