Skip to Content

Weekly Updates

Wittman’s Weekly: Summer 2020 in Photos

To say this year has been unprecedented is an understatement. It is safe to say that there is not a single person in the United States whose life has not been impacted in some way by the Coronavirus or the economic impacts resulting from the global pandemic. Like many people, from March through May, I severely limited my travel across Virginia’s First District in order to limit the spread of COVID-19, but I was still able to meet with folks virtually or through socially distanced interaction to hear from them on what they needed to aid in the recovery efforts and to provide updates from Washington. In addition to these meetings, I have been sending and continue to send out daily updates with vital information and resources you need to get through these difficult times. 

As travel restrictions were lifted and Virginia entered Phase Three economic reopening, I took the opportunity to meet with people who had been most impacted by the Coronavirus and others throughout our community, all while still safely socially distanced and following the most up-to-date CDC regulations and guidance. Please, if you or your family needs any assistance through these times, please do not hesitate to contact my office today, we are standing by to help.

I want to share with you a few photo highlights of my visits with folks across our region as we all work to recover from what this year has sent our way:

At the end of April, I was honored to participate in the Gloucester area food distribution with area churches. Over 15 churches came together to pack and deliver bags of non-perishables to those that were home-bound. We started our morning with a prayer and began to pack bags of food to take to those who were unable to or should not be out of the house in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. In addition to the food, included in the bags was health information with important phone numbers and a word of encouragement. The fight against COVID-19 is won by communities coming together to help each other.

In early May, I participated in the Dar Al-Noor Islamic Center food distribution in Manassas, a program they hosted each night to serve hot meals during the month of Ramadan. The free, hot food distribution was open to all in the Prince William County community, done drive-through style, to help those who have been impacted by the Coronavirus and to celebrate the Holy month. Now more than ever, our communities are coming together in support of each other. The only way we will get through these trying and difficult times is by coming together as one nation. I was honored to participate in Dal Al-Noor’s outreach and fellowship program, and I appreciate the work being done by all faith communities as we trust in God to see us through these times.

In June, I hosted a virtual Fireside Chat with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and local government leaders, tribal leaders, and key Virginia broadband stakeholders to discuss the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) work on rural broadband buildout, the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), and what the FCC is doing during to help communities during the Coronavirus pandemic.

My leadership on the issue of rural broadband dates back more than 20 years, and in Congress I have led key initiatives to expand broadband access through programs such as the First District Broadband Task Force and as a Co-Chair of the House Rural Broadband Caucus. The Coronavirus pandemic has emphasized the need for high-speed broadband to rural America, with students accessing educational material online, patients seeking medical care via reliable telehealth, and millions of Americans working from home. Throughout the pandemic response, the FCC has initiated many key initiatives to help Americans cope.

I was invited to participate in the Community Peace Walk in June with the Potomac Shores community in Dumfries to honor the memories of Ahmad Arbury, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and many others, as well as to show our support for the community. We can and must do better to ensure equality, equity, and equal treatment for all. We must extinguish underlying racism in our society, and we do that by taking the time to listen, understand, and respect each other. It is my hope that we can continue to address these atrocities with positive actions. Everyone from the local, state, and national levels must work together to achieve positive change in our communities.

I hosted the first meeting of my First District Unity in Diversity Council in Fredericksburg on June 12, and since then I have hosted several additional meetings across our region to find positive action items to help our nation heal and accomplish positive results for our communities. Positive change starts with positive action and that is why I have created this Council. My Unity in Diversity Council brings together religious, community, health, and business leaders from our minority communities to offer solutions and action items to address economic, societal, and educational inequities in our region. Thank you to all who have participated in these meetings and I look forward to our continued work together. I pledge to help solve problems in our communities with positive actions and work to be part of the solution.

I was proud to participate in the Back the Blue Rally in Fredericksburg in June to show my support for law enforcement professionals across our communities. I am a firm supporter of our police and believe that we must increase funding for training and community engagement. That is why I have supported the JUSTICE Act, a bill designed to give our law enforcement professionals more tools in their toolbox to handle the situations they encounter each and every day. Thank you to all who showed up to #BacktheBlue.                                                                                                                                            

At the start of July, I joined my colleagues in Washington to debate the FY21 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in the House Armed Services Committee. As Ranking Member of the Seapower and Projection Forces subcommittee, I will continue to support measures that enhance our undersea strike capabilities, recapitalize our sealift and airlift capabilities, and provide necessary congressional oversight. Many of the provisions in the FY21NDAA support hardworking Virginians across the Commonwealth as they work to support our nation’s warfighters and the systems and programs they use to execute their missions around the globe. We are in a strong place, and while there are provisions that will need to be worked through in Conference Committee, I look forward to a strong FY21NDAA.

In August, I safely visited several locations across our region to hear from hardworking Americans about the issues that matter most to you during our economic recovery and provide updates on my work in Washington to help you. I visited a few locations in the Manassas and Woodbridge area: Zeiders Enterprises, Inc., is a veteran-owned government contractor providing human services solutions to support Military and Veteran communities. Interstate Batteries of Northern Virginia in Woodbridge is keeping our nation’s trucks, ambulances, and service vehicles running as they deliver the goods, PPE, and services we need throughout the ongoing pandemic. Thanks to Anthony and everyone who hosted me, and thank you for keeping our nation running.

I next safely visited with folks in the Fredericksburg and Stafford area with a stopover at the GRIMM Quantico Cyber Hub and ManTech International Corporation. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, both firms have continued their vital work to protect the cyber security of our region and nation, and I was glad to see their continued advancements to support the folks who call this area home. I finished the day with a visit to the new (dedicated on July 7th) Stafford County Fire Station 14 to meet with Fire Chief Joseph Cardello. It was great to meet with the incredible public servants at Station 14, and I cannot say thank you enough for your service to our community, especially through these difficult times.

I was honored in August to present Army veteran Bill Cline with the Bronze Star with V device for his heroic actions serving our nation in Vietnam. I am glad our office was able to help in the awarding of this medal, and I want to say on behalf of a grateful nation: thank you.

In our world of virtual meetings, I had the pleasure of talking virtually with the Fredericksburg Chamber about the economic impact of COVID-19 in our region and the implications of Chinese trade relations with our nation, state, and region. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, I have been meeting with folks and organizations virtually to provide them with vital updates and to hear from them on how I can help in my role in Congress. As our nation continues down the road to recovery, I am working for you to ensure that our community is set up for success long-term.

Recently, our region has endured an additional hardship on top of the difficulties arising from COVID-19: our area has been affected by powerful storms that have destroyed homes and businesses. Even still, the spirit of folks in the First District is strong, and we will be able to recover. In August, I stopped by several locations in Gloucester and Lancaster Counties to hear from folks who were directly impacted by these events. I was able to provide them with information like the below guidance from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management on what to do after a storm has affected our area and ways to prepare for the next event. I will continue working for you and all of Virginia’s First District as we recover from these storms and the COVID-19 pandemic.

I had the pleasure to address the socially distanced Fredericksburg Regional Chamber First Responders Appreciation Breakfast this month to recognize the incredible service and sacrifice of our first responders who serve our communities each and every day. During the Coronavirus pandemic, our first responders have had to face new and immense challenges from PPE shortages, to new response procedures, to caring for folks who are most at risk for contracting this virus. I want to say thank you to all our nation’s first responders for your incredible service and sacrifice. 

Just last week I visited the Westmoreland County Museum to see their exhibit on the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage, which we celebrated on the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the 19th Amendment into the Constitution, August 26. Not only do they have a great display in the old Courthouse, they have an innovative sidewalk display along Courthouse Square. Stop by to learn more about these groundbreaking women and this period of our nation’s history.


I want to say thank you again to everyone who has hosted me this summer, it has been a remarkable year, and throughout it all I have met some remarkable people who I am proud to represent in Washington. I look forward to continuing my work for you in Congress, and will continue to safely meet with folks across our region as we recover from the impacts of COVID-19 to learn more how I can help you and your family.