The Reach: January 19-25, 2023

2023 General Assembly Begins

Last Wednesday marked the beginning of the 2023 General Assembly legislative session in Richmond, which kicks off in a year where every seat in both chambers will be up for election in November – including many newly drawn districts – in addition to numerous local contests.

The 52-48 Republican majority in the House and the 22-18 Democratic majority in the Senate are already sparring off, with much news to report on in just the first week.

Campaign Targets Falls Church LGBTQ+ Services

KARL FRISCH, FAIRFAX COUNTY School Board member representing the Providence District, became the first candidate officially qualified for the ballot this November in an announcement last week. (Photo: Jessica Wallach)

Last Thursday Karl Frisch, who represents the Providence District on the Fairfax County School Board, announced his re-election bid, becoming the first candidate to officially qualify for the November ballot after turning in the requisite paperwork and signatures.

The race for the seat made headlines again this week after Jeff Hoffman, a hopeful opponent from the right, posted a recording to Twitter of him calling into the Falls Church based Inova Pride Clinic, which opened last year and provides culturallycompetent healthcare to our LGBTQ+ neighbors.

Hoffman pretended to be a parent of a transgender child, then suggested connections between the Clinic, Fairfax County Public Schools, and FCPS Pride.

“It is abhorrent when lies and deception are in politics,” said Robert Rigby, Jr., Co-President of FCPS Pride, “especially when it targets our most vulnerable.” FCPS Pride, a membership organization consisting of LGBTQ+ and allied FCPS employees, parents, and adult family members of students, is regularly invoked by right wing activists, likely in part due to the organization’s ability to mobilize counter-protests during years of attempts to pressure the school system to resist change.

Democrats Kill Bill To Repeal “Clean Cars” Law

In Richmond, Senate Democrats galvanized their narrow majority in opposition to a bill to repeal HB1965, a 2021 bill that amended the Code of Virginia to require 8 percent of automaker production to be electric or hybrid starting 2024 (then increase each year) and adopt California’s vehicle emissions standards.

“Despite some GOP legislators’ confusion over whether Virginia can develop its own emissions standards (it can’t), the Senate Democrats’ ‘brick wall’ held firm and rejected attempts to repeal the Virginia Clean Cars Act that will set us on a path to 100 percent zero-emissions new vehicle sales by 2035,” explained Cindy Cunningham, Chair of the Falls Church City Democratic Committee (FCCDC), “This is incredibly important for addressing our climate crisis, since over half of our CO2 emissions come from transportation.”