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My legislative week started early. It was a privilege to attend the graduation of Huntington Ingalls’ Apprentice School. There was a total of 184 graduates. The ceremony was held at Liberty Baptist Church in Hampton.
 
According to the press release from Huntington Ingalls, “eighty-eight apprentices completed an optional, advanced program, which includes coursework in subjects such as marine design, production planning, modeling and simulation, and marine engineering—culminating with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Seventy-nine apprentices earned honors, which combines academic and craft grades to determine overall performance. Fifteen graduates completed the program with a perfect 4.0 grade point average in the required academic curriculum. Nineteen graduates were recognized as Gold Athletic Award recipients for outstanding achievement in four consecutive years of Apprentice School collegiate athletics.”
 
To view the complete press release, click here
This week I have been signing and responding to everyone who completed and returned a pre-session survey to my office. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on the important issues facing our Commonwealth. The work that we do in the General Assembly affects all Virginians and as your voice in the House of Delegates, I value your input. 

If you did not receive a survey and would like to have your views and concerns recorded, please click here
The governor hosted a black history month celebration this week at the Governor’s Mansion. Among the crowd were the governor’s cabinet, legislators, staff, local actors and other community leaders from across the commonwealth. It was truly a great fellowship.
Halls and seats that were once lined and filled with lobbyist and visitors, are now empty. This is a sure sign that session is almost over. One more week until sine die.
The 10th Annual Capitol Square Basketball Game was held this week at VCU’s Siegal Center. Hosted by the VCU Massey Cancer Center Advisory Board, this is a fundraiser opportunity to raise funds for lifesaving cancer research. Each year, the governor’s office plays against the lobbyist, and the House of Delegates plays against the Senate. This year, the governor’s office and the delegates were victorious. Governor Northam and Lt. Governor Fairfax broke a sweat trying to bring home the trophy with their team.
Delegate Hugo submitted HJ430 commending Sergeant Carroll Braxton. As a pioneer in our African American history, it was an honor to pose for a picture with him.

Master Gunnery Sergeant Carroll Braxton, USMC, Ret., served the United States honorably during World War II as member of the historic Montford Point Marines. He was assigned to the all-African American 51st Defense Battalion, then returned to Montford Point as a drill instructor. He deployed overseas in 1945, serving in Saipan, Okinawa, and Hawaii. Sergeant Braxton joined the United States Marine Reserves and served on active duty during the Korean War at Camp Lejeune. After 33 years of distinguished military service, he retired from the Marines in 1979. Master Gunnery Sergeant Carroll Braxton was recognized and awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President Barack Obama along with all Montford Point Marines, between 1942 and 1949.
This week the Democratic Caucus held a press conference on gun reforms. Thirty bills pertaining to gun laws were introduced this session, but ALL of them were killed in subcommittee or not given a hearing at all.

I spoke on the topic of arming our teachers. It has become obvious that we must do more to secure our schools, but after speaking with teachers throughout the region, the one thing I’ve been told that will not work is arming our teachers. Teachers first instinct is to protect children, not engage in a shootout that would place more children in danger. It would make our classrooms less safe. Classrooms would become armed fortresses instead of a place to learn and explore.

Will teachers carry guns in holsters, or would every classroom have a gun locker? Would teachers be held liable for their actions or decisions? What’s the risk of a troubled person attempting to disarm a teacher, and use his or her weapon? Who would pay for the billions of dollars it would take to pay for guns, ammunition, and training, when so many schools currently lack nurses, guidance counselors, school resource officers, and have a multitude of other needs?
 
These are just a few questions we must answer BEFORE we think of arming teachers.
Susan Gaston (Gaston Group) and Paul Olsen (Seawall Coalition) came to speak about sea level rise and flooding. They advocate for solutions to sea level rise and flooding and support members with a national network for best practices and policy. The Seawall Coalition focuses on: investing in infrastructure and natural solutions that boost the economy and protect property values, use smart planning to keep communities safe and save taxpayer dollars, build back stronger to protect communities from flooding, and ensure readiness 365 days a year.
 
Bill Thomas of Hampton University spoke on the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute. They propose an appropriation of $50 million that can be achieved by accessing funds that the General Assembly provided in FY2018 via the higher education bond financing fund.
All the best, 

Delegate Jeion (ja-WAN) Ward
Authorized by J Ward for Delegate
Copyright © 2018 Jeion Ward for Delegate, All rights reserved.


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