Local Commentary

Congressman Beyer’s News Commentary: Election Day & Virginia’s Highway Bill

beyer-onlinemugWe voted last Tuesday and, regardless of your party affiliation, I hope you took part. The percentage of residents who voted in last year’s midterm elections fell to 36 percent, a low not seen since WWII. Even in Falls Church, which usually has the strongest voter turnout in the Commonwealth, participation Tuesday was roughly 33 percent. Please visit elections.virginia.gov to find out what you need to do to register to vote in next year’s presidential election.

One interesting – and troubling – aspect of Tuesday’s election was that every single incumbent in the General Assembly, House and Senate, won reelection. 122 out of 122! The only newcomers in Richmond will be those who ran for open seats. This is an incredible display of incumbent protection, the result of years of finely tailored gerrymandering. Some day soon, this must stop.

Last week in Congress we passed a bipartisan highway infrastructure bill for the first time in six years. Earlier, Rep. Chris Van Hollen and I had introduced legislation to return authority to state and local governments to regulate the towing industry. I was able to get this included as an amendment to the Highway Bill. Many in the towing industry play a valuable role in local transportation, but the bad actors tarnish everyone’s reputation. I am proud that my amendment will allow local government to do more to protect citizens from unscrupulous towing practices.

I will discuss these and many other topics on a telephone town hall on Monday, November 16. To participate, please call in to (877) 229-8493 (PIN: 114941) next Monday night at 5:45 p.m.

The most pressing public policy issue we face today and the existential crisis of our generation is climate change. Failing to take action to address this problem is not a solution – the consequences will only worsen. During my campaign, I was a strong proponent of reducing carbon emissions. One of my first actions upon taking office was to cosponsor the Healthy Climate and Family Security Act of 2015 which would cap carbon pollution and draw down harmful CO2 emissions.

On Thursday November 19, I will host a forum on climate change at the Arlington campus of George Mason University at 7 p.m. I hope you will go to my website, beyer.house.gov, to register to attend.

We will have four distinguished panelists that evening with varied expertise on climate change. They include representatives from the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change, the Environmental Protection Agency, George Mason University, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Please join me for this important discussion on the greatest threat we face.