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McAuliffe headed to Micron in Manassas to sign FOIA bill

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Gov. Terry McAuliffe will be in Manassas on Friday to sign into a law a piece of legistlation dealing with the Freedom of Information Act

SB645, the exempt records concerning critical infrastructure information bill, introduced by freshman Sen. Jeremy McPike defines what exactly is “critical infrastructure” information.

The bill comes after several state agencies have asked major corporations, to include railroads, utility companies, and cyber security providers for information about how it plans to respond to national security threats or attacks.

Those organizations have been less than forthcoming when it comes to providing that information, a McPike spokeswoman said, because of fears the secure information would appear on a public website, and that information falling, ultimately, into the wrong hands.

McAuliffe is expected to sign the bill into law at 12:30 p.m. Friday during a visit to Micron Technologies, located at 9600 Godwin Drive in Manassas.

Manassas & Manassas Park Democrats announce nomination process for 2016 local elections

The Manassas and Manassas Park Cities Democratic Committee (MMPCDC) has scheduled assembled caucuses to nominate Democratic candidates for Manassas and Manassas Park races in the November 8, 2016 General Election.

Specifically, the MMPCDC seeks to nominate Democratic candidates for mayor and city council in each city and for Manassas City treasurer (subject to a special election for that office being placed on the November 8 ballot). In each city, three city council seats and one mayoral seat are up for election this November.

Candidates who seek the Democratic Party nomination for any of those offices must submit a completed Declaration of Candidacy form and a $250 filing fee to the MMPCDC by Friday, May 27 at 5 pm. Complete details–including the Call to Caucus, the Declaration of Candidacy form, and the Caucus Rules-are posted on the MMPCDC website, manassascitydemocrats.com.

If more than one candidate for any elected office should properly file for the Democratic nomination by the May 27th deadline, an assembled caucus will be held to select the nominee. The caucuses for Manassas City nominations are scheduled for Monday, June 6, 7:00 pm, at Manassas City Hall, 9027 Center St, in the first floor Council Chambers.

The caucuses for Manassas Park nominations are scheduled for Wednesday, June 8, 7:00 pm, at the Manassas Park Police Station, 329 Manassas Dr, in the 1st floor conference room. For both sets of caucuses, the doors will open at 6:30 pm for check-in and close promptly at 7:00 pm. Voting will be open to all registered voters from the respective city who sign a standard Democratic declaration form and arrive for voting before 7:00 pm.

If the number of qualified candidates who file for a race by the May 27 deadline does not exceed the number of available seats, the Chair may declare those candidates to be the Party’s nominees and cancel the respective nominating Caucus. If there are no contested races for any seat, the Chair may cancel the Caucus entirely. A notice of all such caucus cancellations will be posted on the MMPCDC website by May 27 at 7:30 pm. For more information, call 571-358-9893 or visit http://www.manassascitydemocrats.com/?p=1258.

News
Stewart running for governor, taking cues from Trump

stewart, prince william, supervisor

Corey Stewart is running for governor in 2017.

He’s positioning himself as a Donald Trump-like candidate who will say whatever he wants, who means what he says, and, if elected, does what he means. Stewart since December has led the effort in Virginia to get Trump elected, serving as his statewide campaign coordinator — crisscrossing the state campaigning for the billionaire.

Many have said Stewart aligned himself with Trump to be a better-looking candidate, as the ideal conservative for an eventual run for the state’s highest office. They were correct. (more…)

News
Reynolds wants to improve Dumfries transportation

Helen Reynolds is running to keep her seat on the Dumfries Town Council. 
 
Reynolds says transportation is an important issue for the town. 

Find your polling place

 
Dumfries residents will head to the polls May 3, 2016 to elect new members to the Town Council.
 
We sent a questionnaire to Reynolds, and all other candidates seeking office in Dumfries. Her responses are below: 
 

(more…)

News
Earlene Clinton on Quantico: ‘There is no effective communication system here’

Earlene Clinton seeks to keep her seat on the Quantico Town Council. 
 
She says the town needs more events, and is in need of a better communication system for the residents. 

Find your polling place

Quantico residents will head to the polls May 3, 2016 to elect new members to the Town Council, and Mayor.
 
We sent a questionnaire to Clinton, and all other candidates seeking office in Quantico. Her responses are below: 

(more…)

News
The 6 things Quist reviews before making a decision for Occoquan

Elizabeth “Liz” Quist seeks to keep her seat as Mayor of Occoquan in the May 3, 2016 General Election.

Quist won the seat in 2014 running unopposed. She replaced Earnie Porta who last fall went on to mount an unsuccessful campaign for Occoquan District Supervisor on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors. 

Quist served as Vice Mayor prior to serving as Mayor on the Occoquan Town Council.

Find your polling place

We sent Quist a candidate survey as part of our Project: Election series. Here are her responses: (more…)

News
Drakes’ big issue in Occoquan is manageable growth

Jim Drakes, 52, is an incumbent on the Occoquan Town Council, and he’s running in the May 3, 2016 General Election to keep his seat. 

The Northeast Pennsylvania native says he’s enjoyed his time in the riverfront town, and that the Occoquan River should be utilized more so than it is already.

Find your polling place

We sent Drakes and all candidates running for office in Occoquan for the General Election a survey as part of our annual Project: Election coverage. Here are Drakes’ responses:  (more…)

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Torres: Occoquan needs more events, more traffic safety enforcement

Jonathan Torres, 32, is running to become the next Mayor of the Town of Occoquan. 

He’s running against incumbent Mayor Liz Quist.

Find your polling place

Torres said traffic is an issue in the tiny riverfront town. And so is taxes and businesses, according to the candidate. 

Potomac Local sent a questionnaire to Torres as part of our annual Project:Election series for the upcoming May 3, 2016 towns elections in Prince William County. Here are his responses: (more…)

News
Chris Morris says Haymarket Town Park a priority

Chris Morris hopes to keep his seat on the Haymarket Town Council.

Voters elected him back in 2014. They will head to the polls again on May 3, 2016, for a General Election for Haymarket Town Council. Morris is one of eight candidates seeking a seat on Town Council, including incumbent Mayor David Leake.

Find your polling place

We sent a candidate questionnaire to the incumbent Morris and posted his responses below. (more…)

News
Brewer: Dumfries needs to finish infrastructure projects, stimulate tax relief

Charles Brewer is running to keep his seat on the Dumfries Town Council.

He is one of five candidates seeking a seat on the Town Council. Voters will head to the polls May 3, 2016 to cast their votes.

Find your polling place

We sent a questionnaire to the incumbent and he responded with the following statements: (more…)

News
Manassas Democrats to caucus for convention delegates

The Manassas and Manassas Park Cities Democratic Committee (MMPCDC) has scheduled assembled caucuses on Monday, April 18, at 7:30 pm to elect delegates and alternates from both cities to the Virginia 10th Congressional District and State Democratic Party Conventions. Caucus participation–including eligiblity to run for election as a delegate or alternate–is open to all registered voters in the respective cities of Manassas and Manassas Park who sign a standard Democratic declaration form. (more…)

News
Lovejoy reelection bid focused on Manassas City’s economy

Ian Lovejoy was born to a working class family in rural Appalachia. He became one of the first members of his family to attend college, at Concord University in southern West Virginia, where he graduated summa cum laude.  

Lovejoy spent summers working as a camp counselor and youth mentor, invaluable experiences that helped shape his life forever.  Lovejoy became Concord University’s first Rhodes Scholar Nominee.  He later graduated from Virginia Tech Graduate School,, ultimately teaching at Radford University before entering the private sector.

While possessing a background in research and data analysis, Lovejoy found his true professional calling in positions of organizational leadership–in particular serving seniors.  Lovejoy was Director of Operations of WSR Solutions, a national medical equipment company.
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Government ID’s for all Virginia residents

In August of 2014, I organized a Hispanic Town Hall Meeting in Hybla Valley.  I spent the first hour going over issues with constituents.

Then, I asked attendees for feedback – what was their #1 issue?  Lack of government identification.  Attendees said that they and their friends and family were weary of obtaining ID’s from Maryland or not having them at all.

At the beginning of last session, I was approached by Virginia New Majority and the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations (VACALAO) about working together to bring this issue forward.  I introduced Senate Bill 390 that would have allowed the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to issue a temporary driver’s visitor’s driver’s license to anyone who (1) resided in Virginia for one year, (2) had filed a Virginia tax return or been claimed as a dependent another Virginia tax return and (3) paid a $53 fee.  These licenses would be conspicuously marked with language stating “NOT FOR FEDERAL USE” so it is clear that they are not compliant with the Real ID Act. 

Similar legislation has now been passed in over twelve states: California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Illinois, Vermont, Connecticut, Maryland, District of Columbia, New Mexico, and Washington.  Other states are considering it.  Why is this legislation a good idea?

Reason #1 – Reducing Accidents 
New residents do not know the rules of the road.  According to the DMV, in other states where this has been implemented, over 80% of applicants fail the driving test and need to retake the test.  Having informed driver’s is good for everyone.  Data from California showed that people without driver’s licenses were three times more likely to cause a fatal accident.  The states with the longest record of providing licenses to all residents have experienced nearly a 100% larger drop in traffic fatalities than the nationwide average.  This legislation will save lives.

Reason #2 – Reducing Hit and Runs 
States adopting these measures have seen significant reductions in hit and run accidents.  Analyses by AAA have found that 41% of hit and run drivers lack a driver’s license and that unlicensed drivers are 66.36 times more likely to be hit and run drivers.  When people do not fear prosecution they stop and collisions are dealt with appropriately through our system.  

Reason #3 – Lower Virginia Insurance Premiums
More insured drivers means risk spread among more people, fewer accidents with uninsured drivers, and lower premiums for everyone. 

Reason #4 – Increase Interaction With Law Enforcement
Residents with government ID are much more likely to interact with law enforcement whether it’s for car accidents, domestic violence or to come forward as witnesses for other crimes.  Government ID means greater civic participation. 

Reason #5 – More Tax Revenue
There are an estimated 400,000 people who would benefit from this.  If 80% of estimated eligible Virginians sign up, Virginia will collect $1.7 million in new licensing fees per year.  If each new licensed driver claims $35,000 per year in taxable Virginia income, they would pay an additional $1,755 of state income taxes per person or a total of $561 million per year of new tax revenue.  If 200,000 new auto insurance policies are purchased for $1,000 per year, it will result in $225 million per year of new auto insurance premium tax revenue. 

Reason #6 – Provide All Virginians A High Quality of Life
Licenses allow people to enjoy a healthy quality of life.  Licenses mean being able to take children to soccer games, drive to work, get a bank account, or get to the doctor.  

The Way Forward
The legislation was supported by the McAuliffe Administration and the DMV has assembled a working group including representatives from law enforcement, the immigrant community, faith groups, driving safety groups, criminal defense, courts, chambers of commerce, taxation, human trafficking, and local governments to come up with consensus legislation.  

Hopefully, next year, this legislation will pass so that everyone living in Virginia can enjoy a healthy quality of life.  If you have any feedback, please send me a note at scott@scottsurovell.org.   

News
Controlling litter and blight a priority for Ellis

Theresa Coates Ellis is a native of Lancaster, Pennsylvania and has been lived in the City of Manassas since 1987.

Ellis is a graduate of George Mason University with a degree in Business Communication. She is the founder of Tackle Management Corp, a company that provides local businesses aid in regards to public relations services. Her strengths encompass a skill set of Management, Marketing, and Public Relations. Besides being known as a businesswoman, Ellis is a mother of seven children and is very active within the community.

Ellis currently serves as a member for the Manassas Regional Airport Commission, the MCPS Education Foundation Board, and the President-Elect for the Bull Run Rotary Club. Additionally, she is a Sponsor and Founder of the Community Connection Network (CCN) Manassas City Public School and is a George Mason University Community Speaker. (more…)

News
Jonathan Way supports structured tax incentives for city businesses

Jonathan L. Way seeks a new term as a Manassas City Council member.

He’s been a City Councilman for nine years and currently serves as the Vice Mayor. Not to mention, Way has been a city representative on three regional government boards and on the Virginia Railway Express and Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission bus system.

He is a graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy with a Bachelors of Science  in Marine Transportation and has a Masters in Science in Industrial Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Way is also a member of the NRA, the Grace United Methodist Church, and was previously a Rotary Club officer for 5 years.

Way is on the ballot for the Republican Primary Election on May 21 at Metz Middle School in Manassas.

Potomac Local sent a questionnaire to Way and he sent us the responses below: (more…)

Good news: Virginia has a state budget

I am typing these words of good news on the night of Friday, March 11th, on the floor of the Virginia House of Delegates in Richmond. We just adjourned the 2016 legislative session of the Virginia General Assembly with approval of a bipartisan two-year Virginia state budget. The good news: The budget is balanced, cautious, sensible, and doesn’t increase taxes or fees.

As a member of the 22-member House Appropriations Committee (HAC), I have been engaged since December with crafting the budget, along with two other Prince William County legislators, Del. Scott M. Lingamfelter (R-31st) and Del. Luke M. Torian (D-52nd). I serve on three HAC subcommittee (Public Safety, Transportation, and Higher Education), so I had a hand in developing these three parts of the budget.

Here in bullet fashion are the highlights of the budget we approved Friday night:

– It was passed by large margins in a spirit of bipartisan cooperation in both houses of the General Assembly.

– It was completed early, permitting the General Assembly to adjourn one day early, saving taxpayers $25,000.

– It is balanced, fair, and cautious. Unlike the federal government, we build the budget like you build your family budget, with common sense and without gimmicks.

– It doesn’t increase taxes or fees.

– It represents a spending decrease of 5% over the last 10 years, when adjusted for population and inflation.

– It funds the core functions of state government from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2018.

– It eliminates state liabilities, reduces borrowing, and makes one-time investments rather than long-term spending commitments.

– It funds investments in economic development to grow businesses and create jobs.

– It invests $73M more for K-12 public education than Gov. McAuliffe proposed, for a total of $900M.

– It includes $36M for Cost to Compete for school employees in Northern Virginia (a budget amendment that I co-patroned with several of my PWC colleagues).

– It includes $100K for the VaSTAR (Virginia Student Training and Refurbishment Program) computer rehab program administered by PWC Schools (a budget amendment for which I was Chief Patron).

– It invests $78M more for higher education than Gov. McAuliffe proposed.

– It includes $114M for operations and maintenance at colleges and universities and $48M for undergraduate financial aid to hold the line on tuition increases.

– It includes a 2% teacher pay raise, a 2% pay raise for state-supported local employees, and a 3% pay raise for state employees and state police.

– It deposits $605M in the state rainy day fund to raise the balance to $845M in two years as a hedge against the unforeseen.

– It funds the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) at 100% of the Board-certified rate (two years early). It repays VRS $189.5M owed from a funding deferral in 2010 (six years early).  

While this is a lot of information, it’s not all-inclusive, so go to the state budget website for details: https://budget.lis.virginia.gov/amendments/2016/1

No budget is perfect in every respect. This budget is no different in that regard, but the bipartisan, bicameral way in which it was approved says that it is a sound spending plan. We have a second crack at improving it next January when we can offer amendments during the 2017 legislative session of the General Assembly. In the meantime, I sincerely thank our neighbors for the privilege of working on their behalf in crafting the state budget.

I’ll be back home with Ruth and on the job in Prince William County the week of March 14th, and I look forward to getting back to the rigors of community life. Although the General Assembly session has ended, my duty to you has not. If I may assist you or your family in any way, please don’t hesitate to call or email.

I’m easily reached at DelRAnderson@house.virginia.gov or at our legislative district office (571-264-9983). My legislative aide, Ryan Galloway, is at RGalloway@house.virginia.gov. If your need is urgent and can’t wait until the next business day, please call my Woodbridge home at 703-730-1380. We’re here for you.

Many thanks for the privilege of serving you and your family at home and in Richmond!

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