My Top 10 Moments From 2017

2018 is almost here–only a few hours left! It’s been a great year, and I want to share some highlights with you.

1. General Assembly passes balanced budget
In February, the General Assembly passed an amended balanced budget that didn’t raise taxes. Our budget included much needed pay raises for law enforcement and public school teachers. It also included historic funding levels for K-12 education and 144 new FIS waivers for Virginians with disabilities.

2. Getting Reelected
I’m honored that you once again placed your trust in me as your representative to the House of Delegates. Thank you for your unwavering support!

3. All Things JMU
It was a great year for my alma mater, JMU, particularly in the world of football. JMU beat South Dakota State to win the FCS semifinals and will play North Dakota State in the NCAA Division I Championship on January 6, 2018 in Frisco, Texas. Go Dukes!

4. Groundbreaking of new Veterans Care Centers
2017 saw the groundbreaking of two new veterans care centers, one in Fauquier County and one in Virginia Beach. These new state-of-the-art facilities will join two existing facilities and will provide top notch care to our state’s aging veterans population. These facilities are expected to open in 2019.

5. Taking A Stand Against Sexual Assault
We’ve all been disgusted by the reports of sexual assault this year. Simply put, everyone deserves to be treated with respect. Click here to read my open letter to the Capitol Square community sharing why we owe it to each other to stop this kind of activity.

6. Colonial Heights Optimist Win BIB Tournament
For just the third time in 60 years, the Colonial Heights Optimist baseball team won the annual BIB Tournament! Optimist beat Williamsburg Revolution in the final game winning 8-7. I played on the Optimist team in my younger days, as did each of my four sons. Congratulations again on this impressive win!

7. Volunteer Hours
My office started a new team activity this year, volunteer hours. I’ve really enjoyed spending time with the many charitable groups in the 66th district, like the Chesterfield Food Bank, Harrowgate Elementary, and the Christmas Mother. Please let me know if you have any organization that needs some hardworking volunteers!

8. Independence Day
Independence Day never fails to bring out the best in our community. My team and I enjoyed placing over 8,000 flags in neighborhoods across the district as part of our nation’s celebration. I’m looking forward to continuing and expanding this practice next year.

9. Coats Disease Awareness Day
On August 17th, Virginians celebrated the first ever Coats Disease Awareness Day in state history. I was proud to carry HJ 750 that established this date to help raise awareness about this rare eye disease. It was great working with Jaxon, a Chesterfield County resident with Coats’ disease, and his mother Elke to pass this legislation. Click here to learn more about Coats disease.

10. Online Virginia Network
During 2017, I introduced HB 2262 establishing the Online Virginia Network to create more opportunities for non-traditional students and adult learners to complete their degrees. Online Virginia Network is a consortium of online classes from various state universities with one-stop shopping for scheduling, registering, advising and coursework. Over the summer, I was honored to be elected as chairman of the Online Virginia Network board. In this capacity, I’ll be laser focused at making college more modern, accessible, and affordable.