Eight of the county’s 11 state representatives gathered in one room Sunday to hear from Loudouners before they head off for the General Assembly session.
Upwards of 35 people came out on a cold afternoon to tell those elected officials what they want to see get done in Richmond. Transportation and the environment factored heavily—even overlapping, such as when Kelsey Crane of the Sierra Club said a strong transit system means cleaner air and cleaner water.
Clean energy and other environmental concerns, like watershed protection, were represented strongly.
“When we harm our environment, we hard ourselves,” said 350 Loudoun co-chairwoman Amanda Tandy. “Therefore, environmental protection’s not altruistic, it is self-preservation.”
Other issues that came up more than once: providing a dedicated source of funding for Metro, allowing no-excuse absentee ballots and expanding voting rights, supporting education, improving protections against LGBT discrimination, and expanding Medicaid in Virginia.
“It is time to end the unnecessary suffering that is the result of years of delay in passing the Medicaid expansion,” said Patti Nelson, chairwoman of the Loudoun Chapter of the Service Employees International Union.
Opponents to the idea of planning for a new bridge across the Potomac River also made themselves known.
“We do not want to be another regional bypass, which is what would happen were that bridge constructed,” said June Lane. “It’s not good for the people who live here, or for the businesses who will be bypassed.”
The meeting was attended by Sens. Jennifer T. Wexton (D-33), Richard H. Black (R-13), and Barbara A. Favola (D-31); Dels. John J. Bell (D-87) and Kathleen Murphy (D-34); and delegates-elected Wendy Gooditis (D-10), David Reid (D-32), and Karrie Delaney (67).
“It is an interesting time to be a Virginian,” Tandy said.
The session opens a noon Wednesday. As of Monday, the database of pending legislation slated for review includes 528 House bills and 234 Senate bills.