Busy serving our community in Richmond

Published 10:06 am Thursday, February 11, 2016

With no snow in sight and the groundhog predicting an early spring, things were looking up — and very busy — in Richmond last week. But, the week’s biggest news occurred closer to home.

The announcement that Fort Pickett has been selected as the sight for the Foreign Affairs Security Training Center is fantastic news for Nottoway County and the entire region.

The announcement means jobs now as the facility is prepared and a revitalized and repurposed Fort Pickett for years to come.

This is also an important development for our nation’s long-term security. Those assigned to foreign details representing the United States in capitals around the world have become targets for terrorists.

This facility will train more than 8,000 people annually and is intended to provide the training necessary to protect our embassies and missions around the world. The security of those representing America overseas will depend on the training they receive at Fort Pickett.  That is a heady responsibility.

The selection of Fort Pickett was the result of a tremendous effort by a lot of people.

U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, U.S. Reps. Randy Forbes and Robert Hurt, the governor’s office, and the local community all deserve a share of the credit. Fort Pickett was the right choice, but making sure that others saw it was the right choice required a lot of work.

Back in Richmond, the work of the Virginia General Assembly continues at a pretty fast pace. As I noted in last week’s column, an agreement had been reached with Gov. Terry McAuliffe to restore the concealed-carry rights of Virginians traveling out-of-state.

Attorney General Mark Herring had summarily revoked Virginia’s reciprocity agreements for concealed-carry permit holders with 25 states. Under the agreement, which will require the approval of legislation, the concealed-carry permits will be valid in all 50 states.

The Firearms Subcommittee I chair approved the legislation, House Bill 1163, that will restore the reciprocity agreements by a 4-to-1 vote.

I am a co-sponsor of the bill, which is being carried by Del. Michael Webert of Fauquier. The House Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee accepted my subcommittee’s recommendation to approve the bill by a vote of 15-7. It is now before the entire House.

Warmer temperatures brought more visitors this week. Cumberland Public Schools were out in force, as Ashley Long, Vince Kesner, Chip Jones, and Amy Griffith all stopped by.

The Hay family from Mecklenburg County; Lindsay Reames from Amelia County and visiting with Farm Bureau, and Barry Isenhour paid us a visit. We also saw Greg Eanes from VFW Post 7819 and American Legion Post 50.  Julia and Don McInturf of Mecklenburg and Jerry Conner of Columbia, came to our offices.

Nottoway’s Terry Royall, representing the Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys, Forrest Sanford from Colonial Farm Credit, and Sharon Huff from Amelia with Village Bank Mortgage came to the Capitol, as well.

We had a good-size group from Chase City Elementary School this week, led by Brandi Allen and Eunice Winn.

We got to see John Johnson, Janie Pennington, Hannah Johnson, Leslie Smith, Claire Allen, and Henry and Shelly Smith.

Del. Tommy Wright represents Lunenburg County in the House and is a resident of the county. He can be contacted at deltwright@house.virginia.gov.