Summer is well on its way and Labor Day is just a little more than a month away. The public school year will begin on September 6. Our colleges and universities begin their academic year even earlier To prepare for the opening of school Virginia will host a sales tax holiday over the first weekend in August. Consumers may purchase qualifying clothing, footwear and school supplies along with Energy Star and WaterSense products. The tax-free weekend also applies to hurricane emergency preparedness items. Please note that new legislation combined the previous three sales tax holiday weekends into one. Visit www.dicksaslaw.com for the links to the Department of Taxation that identify qualifying products. It is also a good time to prepare your storm kits. Hurricane season runs through the beginning of November.
I was delighted to learn that Tim Kaine has been selected as the running mate to Hillary Clinton. I have served with Tim when he was Lieutenant Governor as well as Governor. He brings impeccable honesty and compassion to the ticket. Make no mistake about it, Tim Kaine has the knowledge, wisdom and understanding of the issues that make a difference in our lives. Have you ever seen a more experienced, qualified team for president and vice president?
By stark contrast, there is negativism, along with a gloom and doom diatribe spewing from the other ticket. How can any one individual in this democratic nation, purport to be the only one to fix the problems he’s identified? My wife and I recently returned from a European vacation. We visited Auschwitz, once again rehearing the chilling facts of that massacre. History bears witness to another individual in the 1940s who vowed to make his nation great again. We know the outcomes of that hateful rhetoric. We also visited Nice, France just days after the terrorist attack. Alienating allies is not appropriate at any time. But what great American would promote that concept as we fight daily to stem the violence and carnage of terrorism?
In July, we experienced great tragedy as a nation with the shootings of those who have chosen to serve and protect our society. These senseless attacks followed the carnage in Orlando at the end of June. Once again, the gun debate raged on Capitol Hill but fell on deaf ears. In the Commonwealth it continues to be a battle ground issue during every session of the General Assembly. In 2016, over 90 bills pertaining to guns were introduced.
Very often I hear from outraged constituents after shootings in our country. I respect the constitution and the 2nd amendment. I deplore the need for civilians owning assault weapons. Make no mistake about it, there is only one use for an assault rifle – and that is not to go hunting. From the opening day of the 2016 Session, many of my colleagues and I worked tirelessly to dispatch numerous destructive measures. Fortunately, our Governor used his veto power to halt some of the bills that sailed through the Republican majority in both chambers.
I could easily go on. But I must tell you after my experience in Europe and the ongoing gun violence in the country, it greatly disturbs me to hear a presidential candidate rail on with so many divisive and reckless statements. I hope you will join me in educating those people that seem to think we need to trash talk our government. Our country is the leader of the free world on this planet. Experience, temperament and sound reason should be the traits elected officials bring when asking for your vote.
July has been a very busy month. In a few days I will be attending the National Conference of State Legislatures annual summit. This is an event that is worth attending for many reasons. In addition to meeting with other elected officials, the program content is invaluable.
And finally, I wanted to encourage our 8th graders interested in being a Senate page to go on line (capclass.virgniageneralassembly.gov) and check out the revised program that is available for the 2017 Session of the General Assembly. I will be appointing one academically strong student, who lives in the 35th district with at least one parent that is a registered voter. The selection process includes an essay, recommendations and permission from the student’s school and an interview with me.
Senator Saslaw represents the 35th District in the Virginia State Senate. He may be emailed at [email protected]