Empty walls where family photos and district maps once resided and hallways filled with boxes of memories and mementos from sessions past describe the final week of the 2017 General Assembly session. The current General Assembly building will be replaced, however, the move to our temporary office building has not hindered us from finalizing legislation.
The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus held a press conference earlier in the week, and I provided an update on the amended budget. Highlights of the budget include the re-establishment of lottery proceeds and their distribution to schools. This provision will direct an additional $191 million back to localities, and raise teachers’ salaries by two percent. Virginia’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), such as Norfolk State University and Virginia State University will not experience budget reductions. The 140 members of the General Assembly are hopeful that their collaborative efforts directed towards finalizing the budget reflect the values, interests, and needs of the citizens of the Commonwealth.
On Monday, February 20, Speaker of the House William Howell announced that he would be stepping down and not seeking re-election. The retirement of a Speaker in Virginia is a rare occurrence and we all wished him well and expressed our appreciation for his service to the Commonwealth.
I had the opportunity to commend Speaker Howell for his leadership throughout his fourteen-year tenure and I have included my remarks in the video bellow:
The Prince William County Human Rights Commission Student Leadership Council visited my office on Monday, February 20. They did a tremendous job of sharing the concerns of student organizations. I thanked them for taking the time to visit with me and my staff. Visiting with groups of students and constituents is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a Delegate, and as their elected representative, I am always pleased to host local groups from our community. I am encouraged by the caliber and amount of civic engagement that we have witnessed over the course of this legislative session.
I am impressed by the number of concerned citizens who have devoted time to visit the Capitol and meet with us. I encourage everyone to continue to share their concerns and remain active in the political process.
Thank you all for your input. Please contact me via e-mail at email@example.com or call my District Office at 703.785.2224 if you would like to schedule a meeting.
Delegate Luke E. Torian