This week, I’ll share details for the "States Lay the Foundation: A New Blueprint for Refugee & Immigrant Integration” policy discussion, give reflections on community events, provide information on farmers markets occurring in and around the district, and discuss resources related to the formula shortage.
First, a quick update on the budget: As I shared last week, the Budget Conference Report passed out of both Chambers last Wednesday and has been sent to the Governor. We are waiting now for the Governor’s actions on the budget. Once the Governor sends bills HB30 and HB29 back to the General Assembly, we will be able to respond to his actions and finalize the budget.
States Lay the Foundation Event
Tomorrow, June 10, from 12:00 - 2:00 pm, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Refugee Advocacy Lab will host "States Lay the Foundation: A New Blueprint for Refugee & Immigrant Integration," a policy discussion with state officials from across the country regarding refugee and immigrant integration. I will highlight recent legislation and the efforts that we are making across Virginia with a focus on education policy. Registration for this important conversation is available here.
State Legislators Climate Solutions Call
On Tuesday, I joined state legislators from across the country and staff from Climate XChange for a discussion on preemption as it relates to climate change, and how climate action legislators can prepare and respond to preemption efforts. Preemption occurs when a law at a higher level of government is used to overrule authority at a lower level. Many states are seeing preemption used as a tactic to override local governments’ actions in addressing climate concerns. Such preemption may target efforts by local authorities to develop climate-friendly solutions for building standards, regulate single-use plastics, or move towards carbon neutral policies. Because Virginia is a Dillon Rule state, local governments already face many constraints in the regulations they can enact. However, while Virginia may see fewer preemption strategies than other states, understanding how such strategies work to undermine environmentally-friendly efforts within our localities is important so that appropriate responses can be developed.
Farmers Markets Are Back
Now that summer has arrived, dozens of farmers markets in and around Senate District 10 are back to full operating capacity, offering a great opportunity to shop locally. Products are handmade and homegrown in Virginia by a variety of vendors. Below are a few farmers markets in and around the district:
Formula Shortage Resources
In my mid-May newsletter, I discussed how distributor closures and supply chain issues led to a nation-wide baby formula shortage, leaving many families in dangerous and vulnerable situations. Since then, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has launched a web page that features information including manufacturer hotlines, community resources and other guidance for families.
Last week, Mayor Stoney announced that City of Richmond residents can apply for emergency funding to pay for baby formula through a partnership with the City of Richmond Division of Children, Families and Adults and Urban Baby Beginnings. This funding is available to City of Richmond residents in the form of a gift card. Applications are available here.
Community and Other Events This Week
Last Thursday, I presented commencement remarks at Millwood High School’s graduation ceremony. Thank you to Head of School Christopher Ryan and to the graduation committee for the kind invitation to join the Millwood family in celebrating and congratulating the Class of 2022.
On Friday, I joined members of the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club for their First Fridays event “How to Save the Planet by Fighting for Climate Justice.” Climate change and the climate crisis are affecting all of us. But, like many other challenges in our Commonwealth, in our nation, and in our world, the burden is being disproportionately felt by marginalized communities. Through legislation, we can address issues of environmental justice and combat these disparities by focusing on concerns such as urban heat islands and flooding.
Over the weekend, I was so delighted to join the Cultural Center of India, Virginia - CCIVA to celebrate their 20th Anniversary alongside Senator Jennifer McClellan, Delegate Suhas Subramanyam, and several others. Thank you to all of the organizers and the sponsors of the Taste of India Festival.
On Tuesday, I attended the grand opening of the Galen College of Nursing’s Richmond Campus and the HCA Healthcare Center for Clinical Advancement with Delegates Betsy Carr, Rodney Willett, and Schuyler VanValkenburg. The First Lady joined us for the ribbon cutting ceremony. Expanding learning opportunities for healthcare professionals in the Richmond Region and across the Commonwealth is critical to expanding networks of care to meet the needs of patients and serve communities now, as well as in the future.
Yesterday, Wednesday, June 8, I joined the doctoral students of Old Dominion University’s Community College Leadership and Higher Education Program for the DuBois Leadership Lecture and Awards Luncheon. Dr. Ellen Davenport (VCCS Systems Office), Dr. Robin Isserles (Manhattan Community College), and I served as panelists to examine the topic “Inconvenient Narratives in Higher Education.”
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: