Local Commentary

Senator Whipple’s Richmond Report


The week of the 4th of July ought to be a quiet week, but once my visiting family members leave on Tuesday, it’s back to work for me.

On Wednesday I go to Richmond for a meeting with one or more conferees from the House of Delegates about the Congressional redistricting. You may remember that the House adopted the plan preferred by the Congressional delegation (composed of 8 Republicans; 3 Democrats) while the Senate adopted a plan that provides for one minority-majority district and one minority opportunity district (about 40% African American). Since African-Americans make up 20% of Virginia’s population it seems only fair that there is an opportunity for them to elect two members of Congress of their choice. I am not predicting a quick resolution of this issue.

Later that day I go to Virginia Beach for a meeting of the Health and Human Services subcommittee of the Senate Finance committee on Thursday. Chaired by Senator Edd Houck, this is a hard-working group that meets several times a year outside of the regular session. This meeting will be devoted to a review of Medicaid managed care programs and an overview of home and community based waiver programs including taking a walking tour of some of these community programs.

We will then travel to the Southeastern Virginia Training Center. We will have a tour of the facility and then get a report on construction at SVTC and in the surrounding communities. The Center is being “rightsized” to serve about half of the population it has in the past, while new group homes are being constructed in the region to accommodate clients who can be served in that setting, enabling them to be closer to their families.

The meeting will end about 2 p.m. giving me just enough time to race back (at the speed limit, of course) to Northern Virginia so I can go to the meeting of the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission that night.

On Friday it’s back to Richmond to conduct interviews for the Chesapeake Bay Commission to hire the Virginia staff member of the Commission. This Commission is made up of legislators and executive branch representatives from the 3 states of Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. A busy but lean agency, the Commission has an Executive Director, an administrator, and one staff person in each of the three states. Staff members, among other duties, assist the legislative members in preparing legislation and gaining its passage. This past session, for example, fertilizer legislation supported by the commission was introduced in each of the three states with passage of a good bill in Virginia that limits phosphorus in lawn fertilizer. We have a number of well-qualified applicants for the position and will be interviewing several of them.

I just didn’t want you to think I don’t have anything to do!


Senator Whipple represents the 31st District in the Virginia State Senate. She may be e-mailed at district31@senate.virginia.gov