This week, I highlight the launch of my new website, discuss the upcoming tax holiday, share information on the Richmond ReLeaf tree drive and the Chesterfield Government Citizen Academy, talk about the Ultimate Backpack Drive, and reflect on community events from this past week. Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter and for staying informed.
Launch of Our New Website
We’ve launched our new website, an easy-to-use platform that highlights my legislative efforts, positions on issues, how to access services at Virginia state agencies, and more.
Under the “Meet Ghazala”, I share my story of coming to the United States with my family as a young girl and ultimately moving to Richmond to raise a family of my own. Here, you can also learn about my committee assignments, as well as the boards and commissions I sit on as a part of my regular responsibilities.
“On the Issues” provides overviews about policy priorities that emphasize our families and communities, education, environment, and economy. By clicking on the “See corresponding legislation” link under each policy area, you will be able to read about legislation I have patroned since my first General Assembly Session in 2020.
Constituent services are a top priority for me and my staff, and they are especially highlighted in the new website. On the “Request Assistance” page, constituents of Senate District 10 can complete a simple request form and make a constituent service request. Navigating state agencies can be challenging, but members of my staff and I are here to assist you. Together, we work with state agencies to address your casework concerns, gather information, and provide timely responses. Additionally, constituents are always able to connect with my office via phone, email, and standard mail, or schedule meetings with members of my staff.
The new website also has a page called “In the News” that provides access to my press and media, including mentions in the news, press releases, and publications. The weekly newsletter archives connect the public to past newsletters issued by the office.
Additionally, organizations and groups seeking to make a speaker or event request can do so easily through the request form.
Sales Tax Holiday
Beginning tomorrow through August 7, Virginia will hold its annual sales tax holiday. As students across the Commonwealth prepare to head back to school this Fall, the sales tax holiday provides a great opportunity for families to save on school supplies and other essentials. Eligible items include school supplies that are less than $20 per item and clothing and footwear that are less than $100 per item.
In addition to school supplies and clothing, certain hurricane and emergency preparedness items, as well as EnergyStar and WaterSense products, are tax-exempt. A comprehensive list of tax-exempt items is available here, and additional information is located at Sales Tax Holiday from the Virginia Department of Taxation.
Richmond ReLeaf Tree Drive
Urban greening is a crucial tool in combating the effects of climate change. Trees and vegetation capture carbon, provide critical shade to reduce the urban heat island effect, and help combat flooding. Southside ReLeaf, the City of Richmond, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and Groundwork RVA are partnering together and actively working to increase the tree population throughout Richmond. Residents of Southside Richmond can visit the Southside ReLeaf website to order a free tree for planting in yards. Tree pickup is scheduled for Saturday, September 24.
Chesterfield Government Citizen Academy
The Chesterfield Government Citizen Academy is returning for the Fall session. The Department of Citizen Information and Resources will be hosting the civic education program on Wednesday mornings from 9:00-11:30 am September 14 through November 9. This opportunity helps Chesterfield residents learn about local government and participate in interactive sessions. The program is free, and registration is open until Friday, September 2. Program registration is available here.
5th Annual “Ultimate Backpack Drive”
The 5th Annual Ultimate Backpack Drive is taking place on Thursday, August 11, at the Arthur Ashe Center (3001 N Arthur Ashe Blvd). This year, organizers have a goal of supporting 50,000 students in five local school systems (Richmond, Henrico, Chesterfield, Petersburg and Hanover), as well as the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU. This event is only for dropping off donations; distribution will occur later. The list of acceptable school supplies donations is available here.
Community Events This Week
Last Thursday, I had the privilege of speaking at the ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Scott Solar Battery Energy Storage System (BESS). This facility will help Virginia transition to more sustainable, renewable energy as well as provide jobs in the region. Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, I also toured the Dominion Chesterfield Power Station to learn more about the coal ash mitigation strategies.
This week, I joined several other Virginia state Senators as well as Delegates at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) in Denver, Colorado. Joining policy makers from around the country, we engaged in several days of robust conversation about issues that impact each of our states: education, housing, fiscal concerns, transportation, infrastructure, and much more.
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: