Opinion —Week 4: Action, Efficiency, Results

Published 5:00 pm Friday, February 11, 2022

The House Republican Majority set out with a clear strategy for the 2022 legislative session: identify our objectives, work together to accomplish them, and get real results on the most pressing issues facing our Commonwealth. Looking at the sum of what we’ve accomplished for Virginians, it’s clear that our efforts are paying off.

ELECTION SECURITY

We’ve made huge strides when it comes to restoring election integrity for Virginians. For years, we’ve been sold the myth that securing our elections is somehow at odds with protecting voter rights, when – in fact – the two go hand in hand. Voting, at its core, is the act of making our voices heard in the political process. We must nurture that and protect it.

On Thursday, the House of Delegates passed H.B. 544, legislation that allows voters to instruct registrars to only give their ballot to someone who presents a photo ID. It’s a common-sense measure that makes elections safer, strengthens voter confidence, and restores trust in the most important institution in our constitutional republic.

SAFE SCHOOLS

We’ve overhauled existing law to make students and schools safer.

As it stands, school personnel are not required to report violent crimes, stalking, threats against personnel, or sexual crimes to law enforcement. H.B. 4, legislation I Co-Sponsored, changes that by restoring mandatory reporting for especially menacing crimes, while maintaining discretion for school officials when it comes to reporting relatively minor offenses.

This is a game-changer when it comes to protecting our most vulnerable citizens in an environment where safety should never be a concern.

Another way we are enhancing Virginia schools is by welcoming parents back into the classrooms. That’s why I Co-Sponsored H.B. 1126 which declares the parent of any student enrolled in a public elementary or secondary school in the Commonwealth the right to obtain and review any educational material and curriculum utilized in any classroom or course of study. Parents voted in record breaking numbers trusting Republicans to get schools back on track. I will always fight for parents to have a say in their child’s education. We should be teaching our students how to think, not what to think.

Mecklenburg County is building a new middle and high school, making the county eligible for $500 million from the General Funds of the Commonwealth of Virginia for grants to school divisions for school construction related costs. Therefore, I am proud to carry Budget Amendment #30 for Mecklenburg County Public Schools that clarifies that infrastructure, operations per pupil funds and school construction grants may be used to pay for debt services on projects that have been initiated but not yet complete.

OPPORTUNITY FOR EVERYONE

Virginia’s students are some of the bests in the United States. They’re our hope for the future, and they all deserve the opportunity to get an education that prepares them to do great things.

H.B.127, legislation I Co-Sponsored, creates opportunity for all Virginia students by strengthening middle school curricula and by restoring a race-blind admissions process to some of our strongest schools: our nationally renowned Governor’s schools.

This is about embracing equality and lifting every child up. They deserve that.

A BETTER DISTRICT,

A BETTER VIRGINIA

I am the Chief Patron on H.B. 435 which passed the Virginia House of Delegates with a 52-48 party line vote. This bill will change parole hearings from one to three years, allowing families of heinous acts to have some peace and closure. Cleaning up the Virginia Parole Board was a promise Republicans campaigned on. We will continue to win by keeping our promises. I am proud to work with our Governor as he keeps his promises for a safe and secure Virginia.

HOME SWEET HOME

On Thursday, I was happy to see local government officials in Richmond attending VACO Day. Our office was proud to meet with Mecklenburg County Administrator, Wayne Carter and his Deputy County Administrator, Alex Gottschalk. Lunenburg County Administrator, Tracy Gee, Board of Supervisor Member, Mike Hankins, Victoria Town Manager Rodney Newton and his wife, Stacey Newton, Coordinator of Administrative Services for Lunenburg County Public Schools. Later that day, our office met with Nottoway County Administrator, Ted Costin and Assistant County Administrator, Katy Tomer, and Nottoway Board of Supervisor Members Sherman Vaughn and Helen Simmons.

Our office welcomes all members of our community to Richmond. I appreciate all the hard work our local government does and understand how important they are to serving the constituents they represent. Please continue to let me know how we can help in serving you.

Del. Tommy Wright can be reached via email at DelTWright@house.virginia.gov or (804) 698-1061.