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Agriculture is Virginia’s largest industry.  Yet many communities in the commonwealth do not have enough places to purchase healthy, affordable food as a wide variety of factors have led supermarkets to disinvest from lower-income areas across the commonwealth, creating a public health crisis. 

As we enter the last full week of committee meetings before crossover, the days at the General Assembly are getting longer. In this update, I report on my legislationi, the bills that have passed the Senate that I co-sponsored, and the call to action issued by African American women legislators, the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, and other leaders.

During the third week of the 2018 General Assembly Session, the Senate addressed a number of criminal justice reform measures. 

Week three of the 2018 General Assembly Session has ended, and February is right around the corner.

Teachers are the single most important factor in the quality of a child’s education. Unfortunately, Virginia is facing a severe and growing shortage of qualified teachers.  In some high-poverty divisions, the shortage is reaching crisis levels. The number of unfilled teacher positions across Virginia has increased by 40 percent over the past 10 years. In 2016, two months into the school year more than 1,000 fully funded positions remained vacant.

Last week was the first full week of the 2018 General Assembly Session, and things are moving quickly. This week, I provide an update on my legislation and the budget amendments I have sponsored. 

Last week, the 2018 Virginia General Assembly Session convened for 60 days.  It was a historic week!  In the House of Delegates, 19 new members as the Republican majority shrunk to 51-49.  We also said farewell to Governor Terry McAuliffe, who gave his final State of the Commonwealth on Wednesday night, highlighting the significant accomplishments of the past four years. And on Saturday, Ralph Northam was sworn in as the 73rd Governor of the Commonwealth, Justin Fairfax was sworn as the 40th Lieutenant Governor, and Mark Herring was sworn in for a second term as Attorney General. 

Against this historic backdrop, the General Assembly began work on thousands of bills and the state biennial budget.  

Last week, the 2018 Virginia General Assembly Session convened for 60 days.  It was a historic week!  In the House of Delegates, 19 new members were sworn in, and the Republican majority shrunk to 51-49. On Saturday, Ralph Northam was sworn in as the 73rd Governor of the Commonwealth, Justin Fairfax was sworn as the 40th Lieutenant Governor, and Mark Herring was sworn in for a second term as Attorney General.  
 
Against this historic backdrop, the General Assembly began work on thousands of bills and the state biennial budget. I look forward to providing an update on this an other issues over the next six weeks.
On Monday, Governor McAuliffe unveiled the two-year budget covering July 2018 through June 2020. 

You can read the Governor's remarks at the joint money committees meeting here. You can read the Richmond Times-Dispatch's article on the budget here.

Last month we saw a Democratic wave election in which Ralph Northam, Justin Fairfax, and Mark Herring were elected Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General, respectively, and Democrats in the House of Delegates climbed from 34 to 49!   
 
Majority control in the House is still up in the air, as four races go to recount.  In HD-94, Democrat Shelly Simonds trails Republican David Yancy by only 10 votes!  In HD-40, Donte Tanner trails Republican Tim Hugo by 106 votes.  And in HD-28, where 147 voters were given the wrong ballot, Democrat Josh Cole trails Republican Bob Thomas by only 82 votes.  Locally, in HD-68, Republican Manoli Loupassi requested a recount after conceding to Democrat Dawn Adams twice.  Dawn leads by 336 votes.  
 
In local upsets, Courtney Lynch was elected to serve as the Brookland representative on the Henrico County Board of Supervisors, flipping control of the Board to Democrats for the first time in decades.  In Chesterfield County, which voted for a Democratic Governor for the first time in over 50 years, Jenefer Hughes was elected to serve as Commissioner of the Revenue.
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