I trust that you had a great summer and are settling into the fall schedule with school etc.. I've been working at my business and looking at issues and legislation for the upcoming 2017 session. This week, the American Conservative Union named me as one of 13 members of the House of Delegates to receive their "Award for Conservative Excellence" for the 2016 session.
There are several recent items that I feel are important and want to share them with you in this update. We received some Good news regarding the local economy, some Bad news on the state budget, and finally, some Ugly behavior by our Governor has even normally-liberal papers calling him to task!
While the national and Virginia economy still continue to struggle under Obamacare and excessive taxes and regulation, there is some good news in Loudoun County. In the last year, Loudoun recruited or retained 71 businesses, which collectively invested more than $2.3 billion in Loudoun. That’s the most investment earned by any county in Virginia, and it’s double the amount of investment earned by Loudoun last year, which had been economic development’s best year on record. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in June that Loudoun had the third highest employment increase in America at 6.3 percent. Loudoun Economic Development’s FY16 annual report is available online here.
Virginia Budget, Jobs and the Economy
We recently learned that Virginia faces a $1.5 billion revenue shortfall; this is bad news. The House Appropriations Committee explains the causes as, "1) average weekly wages have declined...; 2) an increase in the number of involuntary part-time workers; and, 3) a decrease in the average weekly hours worked." Sounds to me like the consequences of Obamacare. But McAuliffe's solution: “let’s expand Medicaid.”
The Governor spends a lot of time touting Virginia's current 3.7 percent unemployment rate. But Virginia's low unemployment rate is partly the result of our labor force participation rate hitting a 10-year low of 64.1 percent. Also, our economy is stagnant: throughout his time in the Governor's Mansion, annual economic growth has been below 1.5 percent. In 2014 we saw 0.2 percent economic growth, making us #48.
We will work to make some adjustments to ensure the budget balances. Some pay increases for teachers and others are automatically canceled. Meanwhile there is still waste that I would like to see cut. For instance, this year's budget, introduced by Gov. McAuliffe, included a $50 million bailout to his buddies at MWAA. In a Transportation Committee hearing, MWAA CEO Jack Potter placed the blame for MWAA's financial problems largely on Congressional actions, but when I questioned Potter if he had asked the federal government for financial help, he answered "No," he had not. So here we are, with Obama/ McAuliffe's stagnant economy bringing us a budget shortfall, and our hard-working teachers are missing out on $134 million in pay increases, while McAuliffe's cronies at MWAA get $50 million in our tax dollars as a temporary band-aid.
Angry Gov. Attacks Supreme Court Justices
Governor McAuliffe takes the ugly cake. After the Supreme Court ruled his blanket restoration of rights to over 200,000 felons was unconstitutional, the Governor threw such a fit the media had to call him on it; you can read excerpts from several news outlets here.
Preparing for 2017 Session
I am very busy working on our bills for the 2017 session, as well as attending events all across the district. In recent weeks we have met to discuss potential legislation including re-introducing Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, Education Savings Accounts, and juvenile justice reform. New legislation we're working on includes EpiPen and Naloxone availability, a Round Hill Town Charter update, and more.
With a constituent at Clarke County High School's "Back-toSchool Night"
I encourage you to keep in touch with me and my office. I value the feedback you provide as it helps me do my job representing you better. You can email me at DelDLaRock@house.virginia.gov or call me at 540-751-8364. You can also join the conversation via our social media on Facebook or Twitter.
Ronald Reagan Lecture Series family Constitution Day picnic, this afternoon 4-7pm in Sterling. Hamburgers, hot dogs, and drinks will be provided. Ken Cuccinelli will be in attendance, and there will also be an auction (both live and silent) to benefit RRLS.
Addicted to Hope Rally - Today, 4-8pm in front of Handley High School Bowl. Rally to save lives by coming together as a community to send a message to those struggling with addiction that we CARE, that we want you to get WELL, and that there is HOPE in recovery.
Clarke County GOP Fall Campaign Kickoff Today at 6pm at Veramar Vineyards in Berryville. Confirmed candidates and guests include: Rep. Comstock, Rep. Rob Whitman, Chm. Corey Stewart, Sen. Jill Vogel, Del. Rob Bell, John Adams, Chuck Smith, RPV Chair John Whitbeck, and yours truly. This is an excellent time to get one-on-one time with the candidates and your elected officials before the state races move into high gear.
Bluemont Fair - Sept. 17 and 18, 10am to 5pm Includes a 5K run, juried craft demonstrations, four stages of musical performances, appearances by local authors, the popular pickle and pie-tasting contest, an antiques and flea market, kids’ activities, homemade baked goods, pony rides, and an Indian village.
Wayside Farm, Fall Festival featuring Kirk Cousins Corn Maze, Berryville, Clarke County, Open on Saturdays, Sundays and Columbus Day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Sept. 17 - Oct. 30.
Great Country Farms, Apple Gala & Cider Fest, Bluemont, Loudoun County, open on September weekends.
Leesburg Animal Park, Pumpkin Village, Leesburg, Loudoun County, open daily Sept. 17 - Nov. 8.
Purcellville Historical Society Open House and Movie Night
Thursday, September 22nd, 7:00 p.m.
Old Purcellville Train Station, 200 N 21st St, Purcellville, VA
Lovettsville Oktoberfest Sept. 23-25 Lovettsville's annual event features special beer, food, and entertainment. Kinderfest has free activities, and include carnival games, sports games, pony rides, face painting, inflatables, and climbing wall.