Tommy Wright: T is for Trust, not Talk
Published 11:35 am Friday, February 17, 2023
Crossover has come and gone, and I am keeping my promise to work hard for my district. If trusted with the People’s House this election year, Republicans will work for safer communities, better schools, and a more prosperous Virginia.
One consistent theme we hear from Virginians is that the trust they have in our Commonwealth’s government has eroded significantly in recent years.
Specifically, changes to criminal justice laws, election rules, and a series of ill-advised executive orders regarding COVID from former Governor Northam have caused Virginians to doubt that the government they elected truly has their best interests at heart.
Trust is like grass: it grows by the inch and dies by the yard. Nonetheless, Republicans are working to restore trust.
House Republicans passed HB 2171 which blocks future governors from interfering with worship services during an emergency.
Republicans have passed bills like HB 2169 that moves the Commonwealth back toward the original idea of “Truth in Sentencing,” the action in the 1990s that ended parole.
Republicans worked to roll back several of the changes Democrats made to open the prison doors and shines a light on how decisions at the Parole Board are made.
We’ve also passed bills that will give Virginians more confidence in our electoral system by passing HB 1444 that requires photo ID to vote, tightening rules for absentee voting, early voting, and drop boxes.
House Republicans also passed legislation which addresses late night absentee “vote dumps” that make people question the validity of election results.
Our Commonwealth can’t function if people don’t trust the process. We’re working day and night to fix that.
LET’S BUDGET (HB 1400)
The House budget is fiscally responsible, structurally balanced, and reflect the priorities of the Virginians who sent us to Richmond.
Not a single school system will see a negative impact from the Department of Education’s math error.
Our budget includes the Governor’s most significant tax cuts, including cuts for every Virginian who pays taxes in the form of an expanded standard deduction and lower rates.
Teacher pay increases will go up to 7 percent in Fiscal Year 2024, and the budget includes nearly $31 million to hire reading specialists, and another $7 million to hire math specialists.
State employees get a 2 percent raise, taking last year’s raises up to 5-7 percent.
This budget provides for additional funding for school resource officers, and other school security.
We keep our promise to Virginians to build safer communities by funding more police, and creating new efforts to fight gang violence, organized retail theft, and expanding the proven efforts of Operation Ceasefire.
It lays the groundwork for new economic development by setting aside hundreds of millions of dollars for new site development, and it funds the most significant overhaul of our workforce development efforts in a generation.
MONEY FOR HOME
I was honored to work with Longwood University on a budget amendment requesting $10,000 from the general fund to support the Lake Country Distance Education Center. Longwood’s Institute for Teaching Through Technology and Innovative Practice (ITTIP) provides technology and administrative support for the Center, furthering its mission to provide STEM outreach to teachers, students, and the community, with a focus on the 25 counties that are part of the Southside Virginia Regional Technology Consortium.
I also advocated for Southside Virginia Community College with an amendment that splits funding provided to Southside Virginia Community College between the Estes Center (Chase City Campus) and the Advanced Knowledge Center (South Hill Campus)
Cumberland County will be included in the budget with an amendment which provides $111,334 from the general fund the second year to Cumberland County to support construction of the Cumberland Courthouse – Bear Creek Lake State Park Connector Trail. These funds would provide matching funds for a $218,000 grant provided by the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission.
Del. Tommy Wright can be reached via email at DelTWright@House.Virginia.gov or (804) 698-1061.