ENVIRONMENT

Flooding and Hurr...

Hampton Roads and Virginia Beach are at high risk of catastrophic flooding and hurricane threats. Virginia is where Louisiana was prior to Hurricane Katrina and we are woefully unprepared; the time for action is now. If we do nothing the economic devastation to our region would measure in the billions of dollars and potentially thousands of lives lost. That is why I'm continuing to champion legislation and initiatives to tackle both flooding and hurricane preparedness in Richmond
In 2017, I carried legislation regarding the National Flood Insurance Program that requires the Secretary of Natural Resources to issue a report by November 1, 2018, listing any locality not participating in the Community Rating System of the National Flood Insurance Program and recommending any legislation necessary to encourage participation, which would lower flood premiums for our homeowners. I'm proud that this legislation passed with bipartisan support and was signed into law.
Finally, I'm am championing the Hurricane and Flooding Risk Reduction Act of 2017. Rather than wait for the next storm, this legislation is aimed at organizing state government now, rather than after a catastrophic flooding event, to prepare and tackle the host of flooding issues we face in our region. This bill establishes the Commonwealth as a Nonfederal Sponsor of Hurricane and Flooding Risk Reduction Projects. The bill also establishes the Virginia Hurricane and Flooding Risk Reduction Authority, a Board of Directors for that Authority, and a Governor's Advisory Commission on Hurricane and Flooding Risk Reduction. This legislation is critical for Hampton Roads and Virginia Beach as flooding continues to impact our neighborhoods and quality of life.

PUBLIC SAFETY

Safe Neighborhood...

Public safety should always be a foremost priority of all elected officeholders. Keeping our schools, neighborhoods and communities safe from violent gangs and drug dealers is critical to building a safer, more prosperous Virginia Beach.
In 2016, Forbes released an article stating that more Americans have died from drug overdose than car crashes. The devastation Fentanyl, Heroin and opiate addiction has had on families in Hampton Roads, many of whom I know personally, is heartbreaking.
In the General Assembly, I have introduced legislation enhancing penalties for drug dealers, has been highlighted by WAVY-10 for my legislation requiring opiate prescriptions to become electronic to cut down on prescription drug abuse, and for advocating for increased state services to combat this problem impacting Virginia.
I was honored to serve as a Virginia Beach prosecutor (Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney), where I worked hand in hand with our brave officers in the law enforcement community to get criminals off our streets and in prison. During my time in the Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney, I handled over 600 criminal cases and worked tirelessly keep Virginia Beach families safe and secure from violent criminals. Most importantly, I understand that for the victims of violent crimes, making sure that their attacker is put in prison is just one step in the road of healing and recovery.
I am proud in the General Assembly to advance legislation to protect women and the most vulnerable by enhancing the penalties for stalkers, including serving as a co-patron on legislation that provides that a second offense of stalking committed within five years of a prior stalking conviction is punishable as a Class 6 felony.
Virginia Beach remains one of the safest cities of its size in the country and that is not by chance. It is due to the dedication of our brave men and women in law enforcement and the work of so many of my friends in the Virginia Beach Office of Commonwealth's Attorney. I'm proud to have the endorsement and support of so many in the law enforcement community and to continue to be their ally in Richmond.

JOBS

Relieving Burdens...

Our jobs agenda has one goal: make it easier for people to work. Our jobs policies aim to create a culture of opportunity where people can empower themselves and flourish in our society. This is accomplished through private job creation and entrepreneurship, healthcare reform, and modernizing education options.
That is why I'm proud to have support the business-driven initiative, GO Virginia, which facilitates greater collaboration between the business community, higher education, and local governments. The budget funds strategic and targeted investments in economic development, while promoting increased accountability and oversight in coordination with our legislative priorities. It also provides incentives for localities to work together to attract out-of-state businesses to their region. It is critical that our region work together to attract out of state jobs to our region.
I am a firm believer that a strong economy is built from the bottom-up, starting with our small business entrepreneurs who create two-thirds of all new jobs in our current economy. Unfortunately, bureaucratic red tape and over-regulation prevents too many small business owners from being able to survive and thrive. The current regulatory system is broken. Onerous permitting requirements have made it extremely difficult, expensive, and time-consuming to do business. Not all regulations are bad or should be done away with, however, they should be transparent, fair, and impose minimal financial burdens on businesses and families. I'm proud to have introduced legislation that would require every new regulation coming out of the state Department of Professional and Occupation Regulations to report within five years the impact that regulation is having on our small business entrepreneurs, whether it is redundant, and whether it is needed. We need to cut through red tape that is hindering our small business owners so they can hire and thrive in our emerging economy.

EDUCATION

Education - Makin...

I attended public elementary through high school in Virginia Beach and my own daughters attend Virginia Beach public schools. I know firsthand the importance of public education is in our communities and the impact of my numerous extraordinary public school teachers still resonates with me today. They are the reason that our educators are some of our greatest public servants.
While in Richmond, I supported a budget to increase funding for Virginia Beach public schools by over $45 million, keeping a campaign promise of fighting for increased funding for our local schools.
I'm proud to support funding in Richmond for pay raises for our hard working teachers, and sending $157 million of lottery funds back to local school divisions without any mandates on how the funds must be spent for maximum flexibility. Furthermore, this year's adopted budget exceeded the Governor's investment in K-12 education by $8 million.

Education is the key to the future wellbeing of the children of Hampton Roads and investing in education is really about investing in the future workforce that will power our 21st century economy. Like you, I want my own children to be able to graduate from our local public schools with a world class education.
Not all children in the Commonwealth today are as fortunate as I was growing up in Virginia Beach public schools. That is why I'm proud to have championed legislation aimed at those trapped in failing school districts that was passed with bipartisan support and signed into law by the Governor. My legislation allowed public charter school applications in at-risk school districts. Virginia Beach public schools are some of the best in the nation, but some Virginia school districts are falling farther behind in individual student growth. This legislation would only apply to those localities in which over 50% of the schools in the school district are classified by the federal government as Title I at risk schools. In these school districts, a charter school applicant can request that the State Board of Education review and remand to the local school board a denied application. This legislation does not remove the local school board's ultimate authority to grant or deny any charter school application. I'm proud to say this legislation was passed and signed into law with bipartisan support.