Quoted material below from Jackie Rivas, LWV Arlington (from October 2019 Virginia Voter)
“Virginia has an historic opportunity that we can’t let slip away. In the 2019 General Assembly, our legislators passed House Joint Resolution No. 615. HJR 615 is a constitutional amendment to create a citizen-led redistricting commission to draw the voting districts for the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Senate and the House of Delegates of the Virginia General Assembly in 2021, after the 2020 Census. This citizen-led redistricting commission would drag the map-drawing out of the smoke-filled back rooms of Richmond and expose it to the cleansing rays of the sun.”
Eight commissioners will be citizen members appointed by retired circuit court judges; two Delegates and two Senators from each party constitute the other eight. Meetings of the commission will be open to the public. It will hold public hearings across the Commonwealth to receive and consider citizen comments. Its records and documents will be considered public information.
The General Assembly passed the amendment to establish the commission 2019; we had an election on November 5, and now the amendment must be passed – verbatim, with nary a comma change – a second time by the General Assembly in 2020. The League and OneVirginia2021 hope to ensure that that happens. The amendment would be on the ballot on November 3, 2020. A separate enabling bill must also pass that determines how district lines will be drawn that specifically prohibits favoring or disfavoring a party or individual; that keeps intact communities of interest; compactness; other implementation requirements.
After census data is collected in 2020, it will be released in 2021 and redistricting will occur. We
are hopeful that a fairer process – a redistricting commission – will be in place by then for drawing
legislative districts. Make sure your representatives know that you want this to happen.
James City County — Incumbents
touted accomplishments and argued their experience made them
well-suited to continue service, while challengers called for change and
said they’re the best to make it happen during a candidates
meet-and-greet event Thursday.
candidates’ shared public appearance at the James City County
government complex came as the second of two candidate meet-and-greets
this month ahead of the Nov. 5 elections.
event featured brief remarks by each of the candidates vying for
Williamsburg-area offices and an opportunity for handshakes and
one-on-one discussions with audience members afterward.
Tommy Norment, R-James City County, touted his years of experience,
accomplishments and seniority in the Senate in his argument on why he
should be reelected.
has been in the Senate since 1992. He said he’s been a driving force in
containing the cost of public education and making Virginia a top state
for business while in the Senate. He carried the legislation that
recently delivered tax relief checks for Virginians. He noted he’s been
able to work himself up to powerful positions — he’s the senate majority
leader and co-chairman of the chamber’s finance committee — and has
built relationships on both sides of the aisle.
have been able to lead, I have been able to deliver, and I would
welcome your support and opportunity to continue to do that,” he said.
Herrin, the Republican candidate for the Roberts District seat on the
James City County Board of Supervisors, said the county had faltered in
business and job creation, affordable housing needs and oversight of
has spent a great deal of time and money developing a comprehensive plan
four years ago, and four years later we have failed to make much
progress on that plan,” Herrin said.
elected, Herrin would work to tackle those problems. He would work to
make the county more business friendly, and said job creation is a
priority. Herrin felt the county needs more affordable housing options
for residents and that more should be done to preserve rural and
Democratic incumbent, Supervisor John McGlennon, painted a different
picture of the county. He noted that in his tenure on the board, he’s
worked successfully to improve the county and would look to continue his
work if reelected.
”I’ve served on the Board of Supervisors for a while and I take great pride in what we’ve built,” he said.
noted the county earned AAA bond ratings from all three major national
rating agencies during his time in office. The county has also seen its
parks and recreational department thrive. McGlennon said the county
faces challenges related to population growth, but that he has a track
record of weighing rezoning requests and questions of development
He also cast
himself as an advocate for the community on the state level, too, saying
he worked to encourage the changes to the Historic Triangle sales tax
bill that excluded groceries from the tax.
Gormus, an Independent candidate for Williamsburg-James City County
sheriff, wants to emphasize community engagement if elected.
has a background in the community side of policing thanks to his time
as a school resource officer in James City County Police Department.
He said the sheriff’s office can do more than its current duties providing security in the courthouse and other tasks.
voiced an interest in community outreach such as a mentorship program,
and also felt the sheriff’s office should be more present at community
events and should make itself more available to support local police
departments in crisis situations.
“I feel like there’s so much more that our community deserves,” Gormus said.
David Hardin is also running for Williamsburg-James City County sheriff, and he said experience would be key to success.
He has that experience as the office’s chief deputy and already has some familiarity with the duties of the office’s top job.
a Republican, said law enforcement out in the community is handled well
enough already by local police departments. He cast himself as a
driving force behind the force’s accreditation and would work to
maintain that if elected.
“We will continue to serve the citizens in our community,” he said.
Mitchell, a Democratic contender for Williamsburg-James City County
sheriff, would work to do more community outreach and provide greater
transparency if elected.
military policeman noted his leadership experience, both in small units
and precincts. He said more training for deputies would be a focus if
“I’m certain that we can, and that we will, do better,” Mitchell said.
Danny Diggs wants to continue to serve as boss of York-Poquoson
Sheriff’s Office. He pointed to his years of experience in the job and
accomplishments in that time as to why he should continue to be sheriff.
Diggs, a Republican, was elected sheriff in 1999.
said that though York County’s population is up, crime is down, and
that the community seems happy with how things are going. He said he has
worked hard to maintain the agency’s accreditation and noted the
variety of community outreach programs the agency offers.
“I enjoy serving as your sheriff and my deputies want to me to continue serving as sheriff,” Diggs said.
Williams, who has experience in various roles as a Newport News police
officer, wants to bring what he described as a culture change to the
York-Poquoson sheriff’s office, one firmly rooted in community policing.
If elected, Williams would
work to make deputies more of a presence in the community beyond doing
the work of law enforcement. He said he would bring the public more
fully into conversations about the agency’s future.
“I want to change the culture to a proactive, community-policing law enforcement agency,” Williams said.
League of Women Voters of the Williamsburg Area and the Greater
Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance sponsored the event.
candidates participated in an informal meet-and-greet at Williamsburg
Regional Library before meeting attendees later on. (Madeline
By Madeline Monroe
WILLIAMSBURG — Local
candidates talked policy and cracked jokes at a meet-and-greet with
voters Wednesday evening at Williamsburg Regional Library.
candidates running for state and local offices spoke to a group of
about 100 people at the first of two events sponsored by the League of
Women Voters of the Williamsburg Area and Greater Williamsburg Tourism
and Chamber Alliance Business Council.
The night started with candidates introducing themselves before discussing policy.
Senate District Democratic candidate Herb Jones said his opponent had
not taken care of resident’s healthcare needs, particularly for
firefighters and first responders with cancer. For 96th House of
Delegates District Democratic candidate Mark Downey, his experience as a
physician led him to believe that mental health care services should be
“When I first started my practice, about 10% of my practice was mental health care,” he said. “Now it’s about 30%.”
his record on Medicaid expansion, 93rd House of Delegates Democratic
incumbent Mike Mullin praised Medicaid’s new enrollment of 330,000
low-income Virginians as an accomplishment.
“It’s making sure that almost 3,000 people here in the 93rd district have access to a doctor,” he said.
talking with small business owners, 96th district Republican candidate
Amanda Batten said they have trouble finding affordable health care for
As she knocked
on doors to talk with constituents, Batten said she also learned that
taxes which did not provide a perceived return on investment, such as
the tourism tax, were viewed unfavorably.
“The widening of Interstate 64 is something where folks feel like they are receiving that return (from taxes),” she said.
93rd House of Delegates district Republican candidate Heather Cordasco,
she said her goal is to make Virginia more business friendly and less
taxing on constituents if elected.
must make sure that we keep our rainy day fund funded when times are
good so that we can meet our promises and our responsibilities without
immediately going to raise taxes,” she said.
On the topic of education, ensuring access to early childhood education should be a priority, Downey said.
people have a good foundation, then they’re less likely to drop out of
school and more likely to attain higher education levels and be more
successful adults,” he said.
Mullin’s statement, he focused on raising pay for teachers. While he
helped pass a 5% pay raise for teachers this year, he said legislators
need to keep going. “We need to continue to at least get to the national
average and hopefully exceed it.”
advocate of common-sense gun reform, Mullin mentioned his
co-sponsorship of universal background checks. Downey said addressing
the link between mental health and gun deaths from suicide should also
be a priority through red-flag laws. For Jones, nothing has been done to
reduce gun violence in Virginia.
“Nothing has happened since Virginia Tech, and we had another incident (in Virginia Beach) this year.”
County’s 1st District Board of Supervisors candidates discussed their
backgrounds and spoke on local issues relating to education, inclusion,
the economy, safety and York’s progress in those areas.
six-term Republican incumbent Walt Zaremba is Democratic candidate
Dalila Johnson. After graduating high school in Colombia, South America,
she came to the United States and enlisted in the U.S. Navy before
working in banking.
“What we do here for the next couple of years, 10 years, is going to affect all of us,” she said.
another veteran, Zaremba thanked Johnson for her service and noted his
extensive service in the U.S. Army before he earned his law degree in
1992. Zaremba pointed to York’s achievements in education and safety and
the county’s low tax rate during his tenure as supervisor.
still have spirit and desire and love for York County citizens to be
their Board of Supervisor (representative) again,” he said.
Later in the evening, candidates mingled with citizens to discuss issues they cared about.
who voiced support for creating pathways for alternative education,
said that at the meet-and-greet she had some conversations about her
role in workforce development.
“I had someone come up to meet and didn’t know I was the one who brought Manufacturing Day to the county (schools),” she said.
asked by a retired college professor if there was any one thing that he
could fix, Jones responded that he would address issues in education.
“I think early childhood education is key.”
approached Johnson about an idea she had shared to help make her
district less isolated by creating a citizens’ council, she said, which
would gather community leaders to solve problems alongside supervisors
and make informing members of her district easier.
Ballots for this election vary based on your voting location, so it’s important to research your ballot before you go to the polls so you are prepared. The official place to check your ballot is on the elections website for your county or town.
Ballots for James City County and York County are included below. Find York County’s ballots on their site.
The League of Women Voters of the Williamsburg Area and the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance Business Council invite the public to “Candidate Meet-and-Greets” for these candidates (listed alphabetically) in contested races.
Wednesday, October 16, 7 pm, Williamsburg Regional Library, Scotland Street
Virginia Senate, District 3: Herb Jones (Dem)
Virginia House of Delegates, District 93: Heather Cordasco (Rep) and (Mike Mullin (Dem)
Virginia House of Delegates, District 96: Amanda Batten (Rep) and Dr. Mark Downey (Dem)
Thursday, October 17, 7 pm, James City County Board of Supervisors Building F, Mounts Bay Road
Virginia Senate, District 3: Tommy Norment (Rep)
James City County Board of Supervisors, Roberts District: Trevor Herrin (Rep) and John McGlennon (Dem)
Sheriff: Sean Gormus (Ind), David Hardin (Rep) and Gerald Mitchell (Dem)
The first portion of the “Meet & Greet” will give each candidate an opportunity to provide a 3-5 minute statement about their qualifications, goals, priorities, issues of importance and other personal content. Ground rules: the audience will be asked to refrain from applauding or demonstrating support or nonsupport of all candidates during this segment. No campaign materials, buttons, signs, etc. will be allowed inside the building.
Following these statements, members of the public in the audience will have an informal and casual opportunity to speak with the individual candidates.
The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization that never supports or opposes any political party or candidate.
LWV-Williamsburg Area Fall Reception is today, September 19 at 4:30 p.m. at Legacy Hall in New Town. Speaker: Chris Piper, Virginia Department of Elections Commissioner. Hear the latest on election integrity in Virginia. Our program BEGINS promptly at 4:30 p.m., so please arrive a bit early. Wine & Cheese Reception will follow. No cost. New and interested members welcome. If you are coming, don’t forget to RSVP by clicking here.
Excerpted from a Voter Express article by Carol Noggle, Voter Protection Officer, State League of Virginia
Yes, it was a “wild” General Assembly session, as one newspaper headline stated. All sorts of unanticipated drama involving constitutional officers, but the legislative process continued with the LWV-VA and others in attendance. Observers could see during floor sessions some differences in the House and Senate culture, protocol and decorum, including somedebate obstruction. “Will the Gentleman yield?” “No, I will not yield.” Each side of House attempted to “hijack the rules.” Frequent Point of Personal Privilege (PPP) statements were very “pointed” from both sides on various bills including those regarding firearms in churches, ERA ratification, limiting the power of the Governor, changes to long-standing Rules, teaching Bible literature in the schools, and even on which June Tuesday to have the Primary elections. The House, with many subcommittees, affects the disposition of bills differently than the Senate. The House subcommittees have been described as “powerful gatekeepers” because a successful bill in the full Senate will fail in a House subcommittee that has only seven members.
What actually happened? Of 93 election related bills, 24 passed; among them:
No-excuse absentee voting, though only for seven days.
Absentee polling places will stay open properly for voters who are in line at 7pm.
Preventing split precincts and establishing proper boundary lines advanced.
• Yet to be determined is whether or not voters will be considered “provisional” while waiting for verification of Social Security numbers.
Improved ballot order to list candidates before the ballot questions will
ensure that voters see the candidates first.
Recount procedures for tied elections were clarified.
What didn’t pass?
Requiring Voter Registration and information in Commonwealth high schools;
Restoration of voting rights and voter registration information in regional
jails; Extending the deadline for receipt of mail-in ballots;
Allowing the Photo ID of a student enrolled at an out- of-state university;
Extending the expiration time allowance for a DMV Photo ID;
Most gun safety legislation including a “Red Flag” or Extreme Risk Protective Order
• Ranked choice voting in local elections.
Environmental bills that passed included one on coal ash mitigation. Legislators prohibited any carbon dioxide cap-and-trade efforts by the Governor or a state agency. Regarding firearm safety, legislators rejected a “red flag” bill or Extreme Risk Protective Order (ERPO) and a bill related to allowing firearms in churches. One successful opioid-related bill expanded who can possess and administer naloxone or other opioid antagonist, after completing training. Below are articles relating on the successful passage of a bipartisan commission on redistricting and inaction on the ERA. The redistricting bill, aimed at limiting gerrymandering, needs additional steps to be added as an amendment to the Constitution.
Mary Schilling, President Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy.
While it’s easy to get discouraged these days, there have been some positive signs of responsible engagement in the challenging issues of the day. Our League consistently was well represented at the weekly Women’s Legislative Roundtables during General Assembly. Each week also included opportunities to meet with our Delegates and Senators to advocate on legislation on which the we have League positions.
The February/March Great Decisions lecture series was a huge success with outstanding speakers addressing eight of the thorniest and most critical issues in current foreign affairs. With approximately 270 in attendance each Tuesday morning, the signature program helps us reach out to the broader Williamsburg community.
William & Mary’s Students Demand Action group planned a full week of programs and events on gun violence prevention, culminating in a March to End Gun Violence at the Colonial Capitol Building on DoG Street on Saturday, March 23. The featured speaker at the rally was Rep. Elaine Luria, representing Virginia’s 2nd Congressional district. Our League Advocacy and Action program committee members have been hard at work examining Election Integrity issues and exploring initiatives in Civics Education in the public schools. As part of the Gun Violence Prevention initiative, Christine Payne has invited Lori Haas, Virginia Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence to speak on Monday, May 13 at 7 pm at Stryker Building. I urge you and interested friends to attend.
We are excited about the upcoming LWVVA Biennial Convention in Norfolk, May 17- 19. Our thanks to Anne Smith, vice president for programs on the State Board and a member of our own Board, for her masterful job in developing a substantive convention program. The speakers’ and session topics are timely: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Election Security and Integrity; Redistricting; Defending Democracy; Women’s Issues-Sexual Harassment. While these programs and events may seem modest, this is what democracy looks like. Remember, “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” You can make a difference.
Our votes affect health care policies, but what information are we missing to make solid decisions? The Virginia General Assembly just last year accepted the expanded Medicaid coverage offered by the Affordable Care Act; what is happening in our area to prepare for implementation, and how will this affect recipients of Medicaid and health care providers in our area? Come learn from an experienced panel of health care practitioners.
This event is on January 24, 2019, 7pm at the Williamsburg Library Theater.
• Jennifer Mellor, Ph.D, Professor of Economics and Public Policy, William and Mary
• Fran Castellow, President of Operations, Patient Advocate Foundation
• Dr. William J. Mann, Executive Medical Director, Old Towne Medical & Dental Center
• Donna Briggs, Regional Sales Manager, Optima Health
Local League president, Mary Schilling, says, “Since the Virginia General Assembly voted to expand Medicaid in their last session, Virginians have a particular interest in this topic, plus health care’s continuing high cost was the top issue for many voters in the 2018 midterm elections. Our elected officials also make decisions on health care costs, particularly in regard to Medicaid. We hope that our panel experts who know the situation firsthand can help us be better informed voters.”
There is no cost to attend. The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan, political organization that never endorses candidates or political parties at any level of government. Its mission statement encourages “active participation in government.”