This week’s newsletter discusses:
Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter and for staying informed.
Early Voting Begins Today, Friday, September 22!
Virginia’s November General Election begins today, Friday, September 22. For my current constituents, information regarding early voting is available for each locality: City of Richmond, Chesterfield County, and Powhatan County. Voters are encouraged to confirm that their voter registration is current and accurate.
Voters need to present an acceptable form of ID. The deadline to register to vote and to update registration information is Monday, October 16. After that date, voters are still able to register at any time, up to and including Election Day; these votes will be cast using provisional ballots.
Voting early gives voters more opportunities and greater flexibility to access the ballot box. Early voting is convenient and reduces wait times on Election Day. I encourage all constituents to be a “Day One Voter.”
My New District
As we know, redistricting has affected all General Assembly races this year. District lines are redrawn every ten years, based on the results of the National Census. Our population shifts, and therefore each decade’s redistricting ensures that population growth or decline is better represented in the new district divisions.
My current district is Senate District 10, which includes significant parts of the City of Richmond, Chesterfield County, and all of Powhatan County. In the redistricting process, this current district was divided among four new districts:
I am running for reelection in the new Senate District 15 which includes Southside Richmond, parts of North Chesterfield, and Chester. Voters can identify the candidates seeking to represent them by typing in their home address here. For anyone experiencing difficulty with understanding our new district lines, I and my staff are happy to assist in clarifying.
Shadowing the Senator
On Tuesday, my office hosted our first “Shadowing the Senator” program participant, Caroline. As a college professor who teaches United States history, Caroline’s interest in the program stemmed from a desire to better understand how our state government operates. Our day together included meeting with my staff, both legislative and campaign, a one-on-one conversation with me, and attending the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) joint meeting of Regions 3 and 5. Caroline commented about her experience:
“I was very fortunate to get to spend a day shadowing Senator Hashmi and ended the day feeling amazed by the variety and complexity of activities she and her staff juggle. From handling constituent inquiries to preparing for the next legislative session to attending meetings of county officials, the Senator, ably assisted by her team, pivoted smoothly from one task to the next, leaving me equally impressed by how many topics on which our elected leaders must become expert: health care, energy, infrastructure, education. We are very fortunate to have such outstanding leadership in Senator Hashmi and I am grateful for the opportunity to learn more about the day-to-day work of our elected officials.”
We have a few more shadowing days lined up through the end of this year. Interested individuals can complete this form; high school and college students are welcome to apply, as are members of the community.
Senate Page Application
The application deadline for the 2024 Senate Page Program is less than a month away. The Senate Page Program offers a unique opportunity for young Virginians to learn about policy making and state government processes. Applicants must be residents of the Commonwealth and either 13 or 14 years old on January 10, 2024, the first day of the new session.
Pages perform administrative duties, participate in team building, undergo rigorous civics education, and help with day-to-day operations of the General Assembly. While immersed in the program, Pages live in Richmond throughout the duration of the General Assembly, visiting home on the weekends. The well-structured program provides time for Pages to keep up with schoolwork while also engaging in General Assembly activities.
On Wednesday morning, I attended the Joint Commission on Health Care (JCHC), during which staff presented study findings on Team-based Care Approaches to Improve Health Outcomes and on Vertically Integrated Carriers and Providers. The team-based study focused on primary care teams and their impact on patients with chronic conditions. This study found that a team-based approach overall is positive for patients, and their caregivers. The focus of the study centered largely on those individuals impacted by chronic conditions such as depression, diabetes, and hypertension. The team-based approach incorporates the patient care services of pharmacists and behavioral health specialists. A coordinated approach, cutting across traditional silos, better helps to treat both physical and mental health and ensures improved communications among the care team.
Commission staff later presented their findings on the effects of vertically integrated carriers and providers on Virginians' access to services, health care costs, quality of care, and national trends. Three models of vertical integration exist currently in Virginia: 1) the vertically integrated carrier model in which the health insurer/carrier has ownership interest in an acute care hospital; 2) the vertically integrated provider model in which the acute care hospital has ownership interest in a health insurer/carrier; and 3) the vertically integrated system model in which the provider and the insurer/carrier is one entity. The study found that, at present, Virginians continue to have a choice in their acute care hospitals in most regions and that access to care is not impacted by vertical integration. This study was not designed to produce recommendations but rather to provide information and research results to Commission members.
Later that afternoon, I also joined the Joint Commission on Technology and Science (JCOTS) for presentations on the use of technology to address health disparities, data protections for children and the Consumer Data Protection Act, and best practices for addressing ransomware. This Commission will receive further presentations and legal insights on each of these topics at our next meeting.
This Thursday afternoon, the Disability Commission heard a presentation on the transition process for students with disabilities as they age out of education programs and into adult programs; we also received recommendations for changing Medicaid programs to remove barriers to independence, and reviewed the proposed policy regarding remote participation by members and all-virtual meetings. The next fall meetings will examine opportunities for policy actions that may emerge from these presentations and discussions.
Training Opportunity: Community Health Workers
The Richmond-Henrico Health District (RHHD) seeks community members to participate in an eight-week virtual Community Health Worker Training, with the option of continuing into a 10- to 12-month apprenticeship program. Applications are now being accepted for the winter session. More information is available at Community Health Worker Strength, a partner of the Richmond-Henrico Health District.
Highlights from Community Events & Meetings
On Friday evening, I joined community members at Monroe Park in Richmond to commemorate the first anniversary of Iran’s ‘Women, Life, Freedom’ Movement with a tree dedication and community vigil for Mahsa Imani, whose death ignited demonstrations for women’s rights and equality across the globe.
Saturday kicked off another busy weekend of campaign and community events. I began the weekend with a meet and greet with the Richmond City Democratic Committee’s Eighth Ward. The attending community members learned more about my legislative priorities and the Democrats’ General Assembly goals for the upcoming session; they also asked several questions about immediate and long-term concerns facing the community.
On Sunday, I traveled to Chesterfield County for a canvass launch and “Meet the Candidates” event with all candidates running in the Bermuda District. This November, so much is at stake in Virginia, including which party will have the majority control of the General Assembly and, through local elections, the shape and direction of our public education and our localities.
Later on Sunday evening, I traveled to Virginia Union University for a candidate forum hosted by the Urban League of Greater Richmond and the Richmond Alumnae Delta Sigma Theta Chapter. Community safety, reproductive health care and abortion access, housing, public education, and environmental justice were all topics of concern for community members.
On Tuesday evening, I attended the Virginia Association of Counties’ Regions 3 and 5 Joint Meeting, which encompass the counties of Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico, Albemarle, Buckingham, Cumberland, Fluvanna, Nelson, and Powhatan. Discussion of priorities included public school funding, transportation, and mental health and substance abuse concerns. Partnership between our local and state governments is crucial, and I look forward to continuing conversations as we head into the 2024 General Assembly.
Yesterday morning, I participated on a legislative panel with Senator Barbara Favola and Delegate Carrie Coyner at the Virginia School Boards Association’s (VSBA) Legislative Advocacy Conference. We discussed legislation from the past session, legislative priorities for the upcoming year, and the necessary work of supporting our public schools.
Later in the afternoon, I traveled to the Richmond Raceway Complex for the Virginia Asian American Store Owners Association (VAASOA) for its 12th Annual Mid-Atlantic Convenience Store Expo. With more than 175 commercial vendors from an array of sectors, this Association represents many of the small businesses that help to drive local economies. Their entrepreneurial efforts employ thousands across Virginia and help to ensure continued economic growth in many of our regions.
Thursday concluded with an event hosted by the Democratic Party of Virginia, featuring former Secretary of Education and First Lady Anne Holton. I was delighted to meet some of our excellent teachers from Chesterfield County. Chesterfield County was well-represented by School Board candidate Traci Franssen and Clerk of Court candidate Amanda Pohl (not in photo).
Connecting With My Office