Virginia Senate District 31
The Senate of Virginia consists of 40 members. Each Senator is elected from a separate and distinct district for a term of four years. All Senators' terms begin and end at the same time. Every four years the Senate reorganizes after the general election in which are elected. For more information, visit https://virginiageneralassembly.gov.
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What do you believe is the top priority for your district, and what is your plan to address it?
What measures, if any, would you support to ensure the right to vote and election integrity?
Regarding fair redistricting, (1) Do you support the proposal for a Virginia Redistricting Commission and why? (2) If the Constitutional Amendment is adopted, what legislation would you support to implement the commission?
What solutions would you support to reduce the current level of gun violence in Virginia?
What are your two top priorities regarding Amazon's arrival in Arlington and the challenges and/or opportunities this presents for our region?
The top priority for my district is addressing the escalating cost of housing and the lack of affordable housing. I plan on introducing legislation to grant local governments the authority to require the creation of affordable housing units in projects achieving certain bonus density levels. I will also work with the business community and various stakeholder groups to identify a dedicated source of revenue to fund low-interest housing development loans. It strengthens our community and makes Northern Virginia a truly welcoming place if public servants and others who serve us can afford to live here.
Unfortunately, onerous requirements have been placed on the voting process that deter eligible voters from exercising their constitutional right to vote. These requirements need to be removed. I am also committed to establishing routine restoration of voting rights for ex-felons. Additionally, I will introduce legislation that makes voter registration automatic. My proposal would require State or local agencies to share information with area registrars when an individual interacts with that agency, unless the individual opts-out of the voter registration service. Finally, I am dedicated to assisting local jurisdictions transition to a process that includes a paper trail for the purposes of documenting votes that have been cast.
I strongly support a proposal to create a Virginia Redistricting Commission because this transformational change could enable lawmakers to serve in districts that are more politically mixed than the districts they currently represent. Under an independent redistricting scenario, lawmakers would face incentives to compromise rather than acquiesce to fears about facing extreme primary opponents. Opposition to Medicaid expansion and common-sense gun safety laws has been driven by fears of facing primary opponents in districts that are extremely gerrymandered to serve the interests of one political party.
If the Amendment is adopted, I would support legislation that ensures racial diversity on the Commission and an acknowledgment of the need to honor the Civil Rights Act and all of its requirements. It is also important that the Commission's work be subject to government sunshine laws, meaning all meetings and deliberations of the Commission would be open to the public.
I believe proposals that implement universal background checks and ban sales that are not subjected to background checks would help. There is no need for high-capacity magazines or silencers in a civilized society. It is also important to pass a "red flag" bill. This would allow a judge to remove a firearm from an individual who is deemed to be a danger to himself or others. Personally, I feel strongly about removing firearms from individuals who have twice been convicted of a misdemeanor assault of a household member. I have proposed this bill for several years and it has always been defeated in committee. In cases of domestic violence, women are 5 times more likely to die if firearms reside in the home.
Overall, Amazon's arrival is a significant plus for the region. However, it is imperative that Arlington and Alexandria adopt robust plans for creating and retaining affordable housing. The State of Virginia will make $15million available to the Northern Virginian region over 5 years to assist with increasing the supply of affordable housing. This incentive and other revenue streams need to be harnessed to help with the transition associated with Amazon. Moreover, workforce development programs will take on a new importance with the arrival of Amazon. Therefore, I will continue to push for implementation of a debt-free community college opportunity for those entering high-need workforce tracks. I introduced this proposal last year and am working with Governor Northam and others to make affordable higher education opportunities a reality.
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