Tomorrow is our first day back for the 2020 General Assembly session, and I want to begin by thanking you. I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to serve as your Senator for four more years. It is an honor to represent the people of District 12, and I am so appreciative of your support. I am determined to continue solving problems with common sense initiatives these next four years.
I believe government should be efficient, accountable, and transparent. I have been working for the last three years to create access to data to make sure that our Commonwealth is all of those things. This year, we will develop the Data Analytics Commission to make sure that private information is kept private, but that data can be used to make informed decisions about improving services for Virginians.
Education is a priority issue for me this session. We need to be sure that our kids are learning what they need to succeed. SOLs measure a school’s performance, but not whether a child is making progress. I am proposing legislation that will ensure our kids are succeeding in school without having to take additional tests.
Kids learn in different ways and schools across the Commonwealth have different needs. We can meet these challenges with a Virginia Virtual Education Program. In some schools, that means math because we have a severe shortage of math teachers. In other schools, virtual education may make Mandarin available. Access to a robust virtual education program will give kids all over Virginia a chance for a better education. I have been trying for four years to get this set up in Virginia, and I believe this is the year.
Workforce development is also one of my focuses this session. I am going to continue to try and ensure that education after high school is interconnected, efficient, low-cost, and focused on helping our graduates find a great career.
Message received loud and clear over the last year campaigning - we have to lower the costs of health insurance, health care and prescriptions for Virginians. I am proposing several pieces of legislation to directly address the costs of healthcare.
There is much more that I am working on, but this is a quick summary of some of the big issues. I hope that you will follow what we are working on this session.