Virginia Mercury- June 7th
The Virginia Redistricting Commission rejected an attempt Monday to at least try to hire nonpartisan lawyers, choosing instead to seek two sets of partisan attorneys to advise the new body as it redraws the state’s political districts later this year.
Opinion was split as the commission made the first major decision since its creation last winter, with Democratic-appointed citizen members overruled by most of the elected Democrats and all Republicans on the 16-person commission.
In a series of 10-4 votes, the commission decided against pursuing nonpartisan counsel, choosing to issue two requests for proposals meant to select one Democratic firm and one Republican firm. Greta Harris, a Democratic co-chair of the commission, would have been the fifth vote in favor of nonpartisan lawyers but she said she had to leave the meeting early to catch a flight.
Though the lawyers hired by the commission won’t be drawing district lines themselves, their advice could have a significant influence by shaping what the commission prioritizes and determining whether its decisions comply with all various laws meant to ensure a fair process. Citizen-led redistricting commissions in other states, including Arizona, have also chosen to hire two partisan firms as a way to avoid mistrust and infighting over the selection of a single firm.
Virginia Politics Insider-
May 21, 2021
'A Broken System'
Colleen Curran reports that the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed Virginia's child care crisis to the breaking point, underscoring two chronic problems seen throughout the United States: the high cost to parents and the low wages paid to staff.
In Virginia, Curran reports, the average annual cost to have a baby in day care is more than $14,500, according to Child Care Aware of America. For older children up to age 4, the cost is around $11,500, accounting for up to 47% of a single parent’s income.
As of 2019, child care workers received an average annual salary in Virginia of $22,797.
Providers are having trouble recruiting workers and the lack of options is fueling demand, hiking prices for parents.
“Child care is a broken system in a failed market," said Elliot Haspel, who works in education policy and research at the Robins Foundation. "Fundamentally, the business model of child care in America doesn’t work." READ MORE
I want to take a moment and talk to you about a bipartisan piece of legislation I just reintroduced to help spur economic growth in rural communities that have been hard-hit by the COVID-19 health and economic crisis.
The bipartisan legislation is called the Rural Jobs Act. The bill takes tools that are already creating jobs and focuses them on rural communities that can benefit the most by building on the success of an existing program known as the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC). The NMTC program has a proven track record of reviving local economies and creating needed jobs in low-income communities around the country.
While the NMTC has done a good job supporting economic growth, the truth is, this program can do more to support that growth in rural areas.
That’s where the Rural Jobs Act comes in.
By building on the success of the NMTC, our bipartisan legislation will set aside $500 million in NMTC investments for “Rural Job Zones” – low-income communities that have a population smaller than 50,000 inhabitants and are not adjacent to an urban area. Under this new definition, Rural Job Zones would be established in 342 out of the 435 congressional districts across the country, including communities in the following Virginia localities..... Greene...among many others in our area and across Virginia.
Too many communities across Virginia still face a shortage of opportunities, and COVID-19 added to that shortage. Under this bill, Virginia would have more qualified census tracts than almost any other state, providing greater investment opportunities to support and grow businesses and create jobs in rural communities across the Commonwealth.
If you want to share your thoughts about an issue that’s important to you, you can send me an email any time using the form on my Senate website. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter. I look forward to hearing from you.
Sincerely, Senator Mark Warner
At the Greene County Board of Supervisors meeting on April 27, County Administrator Mark Taylor announced significant progress on bringing broadband Internet to all of Greene County.
The county plans to participate in a project described in a Memorandum of Understanding between several entities, including Rappahannock Electric Cooperative. The project will begin with a feasibility study that will include Firefly Fiber Broadband, the company bringing final-mile service to customers of Central Virginia Electric Cooperative in Nelson County.
In an article in the Charlottesville Daily Progress, Allison Wrabel reported on the broadband initiative with a focus on Albemarle County.
Check this Covid-19 information page with all the details of how to navigate and register to get the vaccine through the Blue Ridge Health District or the multiple local pharmacies that are gearing up to give vaccines. And all the latest on where to wear a mask...or NOT!
If you're interested in poking around for some additional information, here is a good place to start....
Click here for ELECTIONS 2021
We need Folks to Stand Up for Democracy and Run in the following Elections...General Election will be November 2, 2021
Greene County Board of Supervisors: The terms of two of the five members’ seats end on December 31, 2021. After winning twice (2013 & 2017), Bill Martin (Stanardsville District), an Independent who votes with intelligence and non-partisan intent, will not be running again. It is crucial that his seat be filled with a level-headed, intelligent person who can help steer our county away from the right-wing agendas on important issues such as schools, reservoir, rezoning, budget, sheriff’s office, 2nd amendment, and much more! Also, Marie C. Durrer’s first term ends (Midway District) this year. She has not said if she will run again. She has been a reasonable moderate on the board.
Greene County Democrats Executive Committee: At the end of this calendar year, the terms of all the officers (chair, co-vice-chairs, secretary, and treasurer) expire. Most of the executive committee members would love for younger folks to take our places. Anyone who wants to take over the reins and run for any of these offices, please stand up now!
Greene County Democratic Committee Volunteers: We need all the help we can get to help with special initiatives, canvassing, contacting voters, voter registration, outreach to young folks, etc. Got any good ideas? Share them with us!
To discuss any of these offices, please contact: Mark Heinicke
They want to hear from YOU!
Whether you approve or disapprove of how your U.S. Senators and U.S. Congressman are voting, let them know what you think! They are elected to represent their constituents – that means YOU – and they care about their approval ratings.
It’ s Easy! If you’ve never phoned an elected official before, give it a try. It’s easy. You'll speak to an intern who will listen and check off some boxes. Tell them you are a constituent. You may have to give your name and address. You don’t have to be erudite or even well-versed in the intricacies of policy issues. If you are supportive, let them know – positive feedback is always appreciated! If you don’t agree, let them know.
Emailing is easy, too. Go to the official’s contact page and fill out a form. Most Senators and Congresspeople screen contacts and you’ll only be able to message them if you are a constituent. (However, the majority and minority leaders in both Houses can be contacted this way.)
Here's the Contact Information
Senator Tim Kaine (Democrat)
Phone: (202) 224-4024
Click here to email Kaine.
Senator Mark Warner (Democrat)
Click here to email Warner.
Congressman Bob Good (Republican)
Click here to email Good.
Click here to email President Biden and tell him what a GREAT JOB he is doing!!
From D21: S.1/H.R. 1, the For the People Act of 2021 S. 1/H.R. 1 is holistic legislation that recognizes that we have a series of fundamental problems in our democracy and provides solutions to them in one place.
The democracy reforms in the legislation address Washington political money corruption, voter suppression and disenfranchisement, extreme partisan gerrymandering, government ethics and self-dealing abuses, election security, and foreign interference in our elections.
Prompt enactment of this legislation is a must in light of what is now taking place in state legislatures around the country [to suppress voting].
The Filibuster Rule in the Senate:
From D21: See the details here.
The American Jobs Plan (Infrastructure Bill): Info straight from the White House
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