Wittman's Weekly: January in Photos
I started the month with a meeting with Special Agent in Charge Ashan Benedict of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) to talk about the important work he does in our area to combat illegal activity. The ATF is committed to reducing violent crimes in our neighborhoods and I'm committed to supporting their efforts in Congress.
Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation Chief of Rail Michael McLaughlin came to my Washington, DC office to discuss key investment in rail development over the next decade in the Commonwealth. By investing in rail development in our region, one of the most heavily congested regions in the nation, we will drastically cut down on interstate traffic providing a reliable and effective transportation alternative. Improving our infrastructure in Virginia’s First District is one of my top priorities, and I look forward to working with Chief McLaughlin in the future.
I joined Program Executive Officer (PEO), Ships, Rear Admiral William Galinis, at the Surface Navy Association’s (SNA) 32nd Annual National Symposium in Crystal City, Virginia for a tour of the 80+ exhibits of defense industry leaders. During our tour of the Symposium, we saw exhibits from Huntington Ingalls Industries (based out of Newport News at Newport News Shipbuilding), Hepburn & Sons (a veteran-owned business in Manassas focused on cutting edge technology and advisory services), ManTech International (a defense contracting firm headquartered in Fairfax), and many, many more. As Ranking Member of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, I am dedicated to ensuring the fleet has the greatest capabilities to execute their critical missions around the world.
It was a pleasure to host Steven in my office in Washington to help him earn his Citizenship in the Nation Merit Badge for the Boy Scouts. Amongst other requirements, Steven was tasked with having a conversation with an elected official, and I was more than happy to talk with him about civic engagement and my role as his Member of Congress. I am always glad to see young people take an interest in our system of government.
I toured one of the most important defense, transportation, and economic hubs along the east coast, right here in the Commonwealth: The Port of Virginia and Coast Guard Base Portsmouth. I was joined on this tour by top Republicans from the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Representatives Gibbs, Graves, and Westerman, to learn more about the incredible work done at the Port of Virginia. During our tour, we embarked upon the USCGC Rollin Fritch, a fast-response cutter, watched an underway demonstration of the Maritime Security Response Team, and viewed the container yard and docks of the Port. I am so proud of the men and women of the USCG who call the Commonwealth home and the hardworking employees of the Port of Virginia who drive our economy.
I spoke at the 2020 Asian Festival at the Williamsburg Pottery in James City County to celebrate the Lunar New Year and the vibrant Asian culture that exists in our region. One of the things that makes our nation so great is the ability for folks to celebrate the numerous cultures and backgrounds that make up the fabric of American culture. It was an honor to be a part of this celebration, and I look forward to the New Year here in the First District.
I had the opportunity to join a group of my colleagues during at-sea operations in the Atlantic Ocean onboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). We experienced carrier aviation first-hand and met with Naval leadership who highlighted the unique capabilities and role of aircraft carriers to our national defense.
During our embark on “Ike,” we observed flight operations, interacted with Sailors from our respective districts, and received a briefing on overall carrier strike group capabilities, readiness, and operations. It was an honor to meet with the men and women of our Navy who keep us safe both at home and abroad, and it was great to talk with folks from right here in Virginia’s First District who are serving our nation.
I spoke at the National Wildlife Refuge Expo hosted by the Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement and the House Wildlife Refuge Caucus, of which I am a co-chair. I was proud to provide an update on my work in Congress to protect and promote refuges and wildlife throughout the nation. I will continue working in Washington to conserve our nation’s resources and refuges and continue to raise awareness so that Americans can visit, fish, hunt, and enjoy wildlife for generations to come.
It was a pleasure to visit with Acting Secretary of the Navy, Thomas Modly, to talk about my hopes, concerns, and goals for the future of the fleet as they execute their critical missions around the globe. I appreciated talking with the Secretary, and I look forward to working with him as we continue to fight for those who fight for us.