Virginia Senate Update - July 2016 - Glen Sturtevant

Virginia Senate Update - July 2016

Message from Glen

Dear Friend,

Fourth_of_July.png The summer season is upon us! I hope you are enjoying the beautiful weather and the additional time with family and friends. My family and I wish you a happy and safe Independence Day and holiday weekend! If you are looking for ways to celebrate the holiday, check out the Richmond Times-Dispatch's Fourth of July guide.

Whether you're enjoying fireworks at Dogwood Dell or cooking out with neighbors, I encourage you to check out the American Red Cross's informative safety tips available by clicking here! Safety tips include fireworks guidelines, grilling practices, beach safety, and sun protection.

Our office has been busy participating in community events and meeting with constituents about important issues. With the help of small business owners in Chesterfield, we had a successful small business roundtable discussion on ways to help local businesses grow and prosper. I also attended the American's for Prosperity Path to Prosperity Tour in Chesterfield, met constituents at ChamberRVA's SummerFest at Sunday Park, and met with grassroots volunteers for Congressman Dave Brat's Volunteer Day. For a full recap and pictures of our activities, check out the Recent Events section below!

Chesterfield_Investiture.jpgIncoming Chesterfield County Administrator Dr. Joseph Casey was sworn in on Friday, June 17 and will assume his role leading the county today, July 1. Dr. Casey is a dedicated public servant who is committed to working hard on behalf of all Chesterfield residents so that the county continues to be a world class community. 


On Monday, June 27, the Supreme Court unanimously vacated former Governor Bob McDonnell's convictions, stating that "the jury was not correctly instructed on the meaning of 'official act'."  In the decision, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “There is no doubt that this case is distasteful; it may be worse than that. But our concern is not with tawdry tales of Ferraris, Rolexes, and ball gowns. It is instead with the broader legal implications of the Government’s boundless interpretation of the federal bribery statute. A more limited interpretation of the term ‘official act’ leaves ample room for prosecuting corruption, while comporting with the text of the statute and the precedent of this Court.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6-27-16).  For more information on the decision, please click here.


Economic Outlook Using Unemployment and Underemployment

One of my main priorities in the Virginia Senate is working to create the conditions for the private sector to grow our economy and to ensure that the Commonwealth is in a strong position to attract new businesses. During the campaign, you may recall my discussion of the unacceptable and stagnant economic growth rate. The Commonwealth's economic growth rate has improved only marginally since the recession and we still have a long way to go repair and restore our economy. 

I continue to hear from constituents who are concerned about the economy. We often are told that our economy is rebounding, but many Virginians still don’t see it. While Governor McAuliffe cites low unemployment rates, many Virginians are still struggling to make ends meet and are not yet seeing the signs of economic growth in their lives. Governor McAuliffe, among others, frequently cites the “U3” unemployment rate, a very narrow interpretation of unemployment that provides a limited snapshot of the job market. 

A more insightful assessment of our economy is the Bureau of Labor and Statistics’ "U6" measurement of unemployment and underemployment. This is a fuller analysis of our labor market, and includes those who are unemployed and actively looking for a job, working part-time instead of full-time to make ends meet, and those who have given up or been discouraged from continuing to seek employment. The "U6" measure of unemployment is still extraordinarily high in Virginia at 9.7%. The Washington Post recently had an informative article about how high underemployment harms our economy and masks societal hardships with seemingly low unemployment. Click here to view this article. 

Virginia's high underemployment needs to be addressed so that everyday Virginians can see the benefits of a strong economy in their lives. We need to make Virginia more competitive with neighboring states and in the global marketplace, reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses, and keep our taxes and fees low. It's time for us to get serious about smart tax and regulatory reform to grow our economy and create more, good paying jobs in our community.


Update on Felon Executive Order

Since news of Governor McAuliffe's Executive Order to unilaterally and automatically restore certain rights for felons, Virginia prosecutors and the media have continued to uncover more negative consequences of the Governor's action. 

By removing transparency, public input, and the legislature from the process, mistakes have been made and continue to be uncovered almost weekly. To be sure, many non-violent offenders who have paid their debts to society and their victims and have demonstrated contrition for their crimes deserve the opportunity at a second chance, but we must be careful to restore rights in a way that is legal, responsible, and that is respectful of the victims of the crimes committed. Governor McAuliffe's action that lumped all offenders together—including sex offenders, human traffickers, and killers—regardless of the type of crime committed, has serious implications. 

We now know that many felons still in prison have had their rights restored. The Washington Post found that 132 sex offenders civilly committed in Nottoway County had their rights restored even though they've been deemed too dangerous to be released from confinement. In Botetourt County, the Commonwealth's Attorney found three violent gang members in federal prison had had their rights restored (Roanoke Times, 6-4-16). Governor McAuliffe's response to these controversial mistakes is concerning as well – he took rights away with the stroke of the pen just as quickly as he had granted them.  From the beginning, this has been a troubling use of government power

The Virginia Supreme Court will hold a special session to hear the legal challenge to the Governor’s Executor Order on July 19.


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Brandermill Fourth of July Celebration – Monday, July 4th at 10:00 AM. The parade will begin at Swift Creek Middle School and end at Sunday Park. Following the parade will be a celebration with music, food, face painters, and more. A fireworks display is scheduled for 9:15 PM.

Independence Day Celebrations & Fireworks at the Diamond – Monday, July 4th from 5:30 PM to 10:30 PM at 3001 N. Boulevard, Richmond, Virginia, 23230. Come out to The Diamond to celebrate Independence Day with the biggest fireworks show around. Tickets are $8-$12.

Brandermill Fourth of July Race – Monday, July 4th at 7:30 AM. The 7.4k race will take start from the Clover Hill High School parking lot at 13301 Kelly Green Lane. The proceeds will go to the Connor’s Heroes, a local charity that helps children and their families while they receive cancer treatment. $35 for adults, $30 for youth.

Chesterfield Fourth of July Celebration – Monday, July 4th at Chesterfield County Fairgrounds, 10300 Courthouse Road. The gates open at 5:00 PM with fireworks at dark. There is limited parking and the roads to the fairgrounds will be closed at 8:30 PM. The event includes a play area for children, food vendors, and special entertainment. Free and open to the public.

Powhatan Farmer’s Market – Every Thursday from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM at the Flatrock Village Shopping Center, 2470 Anderson Hwy (Rt 60). Enjoy the Powhatan Farmer’s Market, which offers fresh produce, baked goods, seafood, poultry, herbs, soaps, flowers, and more!

Bob the Builder visits the Children’s Museum of Virginia – Saturday July 16th at 10:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM, and 2:00 PM at 2626 W Broad St, Richmond, VA 23220. The Children’s Museum kicks off their Summer Series with Bob the Builder as he takes a break from building to meet with children and families! Free with museum admission.

Village Vibes – Friday, July 17th from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM at Powhatan Volunteer Rescue Squad grounds, 3920 Marion Harland Lane.  Come out and enjoy a part of the Powhatan Chamber of Commerce Summer Concert Series, Village Vibes, with a special performance by a classic rock country band, The Illibillys. Free and open to the public.

National Parks Adventure showing in the Dome – Daily from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM until August 31st at the Science Museum of Virginia, 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. Explore and experience America’s wilderness through a virtual off trail journey of the nation’s national parks in the Museum’s dome theater. Tickets are $11 for adults, $10 for children and seniors.

Showing Stars in the Dome – Daily from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM until August 31st at the Science Museum of Virginia, 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. Tickets are $11 for adults, $10 for children and seniors.

Barefoot Puppets at Powhatan County Library – Thursday, June 30th at 6:00 PM at 2270 Mann Rd, Powhatan, VA 23139.

Rockin’ at Independence Concert Series – Thursday, June 30th from 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM at 600 Founders Bridge Boulevard, Midlothian. Come out to Independence Golf Club’s concert series and listen to a performance by Jackson Ward while enjoying food and beverages that are available to purchase. Free admission.

The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall – July 14th to July 17th from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM at Blessed Sacrament Huguenot Catholic School’s Barham-Sowers Field, 2501 Academy Road, Powhatan. The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall is making a visit to Powhatan. Come out to honor the 58,195 service members whose names are listed on the wall. At 6:00 PM on July 14th a ceremony will be held, hosted by retired Marine Corps Major Clyde Childress.


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I enjoyed discussing important reforms essential for economic growth with constituents at the Americans for Prosperity's Path to Prosperity tour in Chesterfield.

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Thanks to the Albemarle Republican Committee for hosting Ed Gillespie, Delegate Steve Landes, and me at their monthly meeting!

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Congressman Dave Brat had a big turnout for Volunteer Day at his campaign headquarters! I was happy to support my friend Dave and talk with grassroots volunteers!

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I had an informative meeting at the Faison Center learning about individualized programs for children and adults!

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Supervisor Leslie Haley, from Chesterfield's Midlothian District, hosted an informative community meeting for constituents and stakeholders on the use of facilities at Robious Landing Park. Our office was excited to see so many passionate student athletes interested in Chesterfield parks and recreation!

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We had a productive round table discussion in Chesterfield with small business owners to discuss ways to help small businesses flourish.

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ChamberRVA's Summerfest was a blast! Thanks to all those who came out!

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We had fun at the Greek Festival, a Richmond Tradition for 41 years!

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In the News

Commonwealth of Virginia

"Hundreds of new laws set to take effect Friday" - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6-26-16

"McAuliffe taps Haymore to succeed Jones as Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade" - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6-23-16

"Sex offenders who are still locked up may have won right to vote again in VA"
 - The Washington Post, 6-15-16

"Editorial: More questions about McAuliffe's order on felons" - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6-16-16

"McAuliffe administration prepped activists for felon voting order that surprised election officials" - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6-25-16

"Editorial: Conservatives: Not psycho after all" - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6-11-16

"Kaine says 'Don't believe the hype' about his vice presidential chances" - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6-26-16

Chesterfield

"Chesterfield County: 4th Fastest Job-Growth of Counties in the U.S.A." - Chesterfield Business News, 6-9-16

"At swearing-in, Chesterfield's new administrator pledges to hold himself to high standards" - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6-17-16

"James Lane sworn in as superintendent" - Chesterfield Observer, 6-29-16

"Local firm unlocks new HQ" - Richmond BizSense, 6-23-16

"Lost in the Village: As Wegmans reshuffles traffic, Sycamore Square struggles to fit in" - Chesterfield Observer, 6-15-16

"Grimaldi’s tests its appetite for Richmond" - Richmond BizSense, 6-21-16

"Brandermill tosses cold water on sports park: Community seeks to delay adventure park off Genito" - Chesterfield Observer, 6-25-16


Powhatan

"Flat Rock celebrates with Mini-Relay for Life" - Powhatan Today, 6-24-16

"Community christens food pantry" - Powhatan Today, 6-17-16

Richmond

"Positivity shines as state athletes compete in Special Olympics" - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6-11-16

"Marker unveiling commemorates 'Richmond 34'" - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6-28-16

"Richmond's once-neglected police memorial moved to Byrd Park" - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6-24-16

"$12M Science Museum addition taking shape"
 - Richmond BizSense, 6-20-16

"New restaurant in the works in Woodland Heights" - Richmond BizSense, 6-24-16

"Richmond gets a Lyft" - Richmond BizSense, 6-24-16


General Interest


"Where the Middle Class Is Shrinking" - New York Times, 5-12-16