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Weekly Updates

Wittman's Weekly: September in Photos (and Videos)


It is hard to believe that we are now just three months from the end of 2020. To say this year has been unprecedented would be an understatement. Throughout these times, though, Virginians have proved their resolve and resiliency as we work together to get through the economic and health impacts of the Coronavirus. 

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.

Throughout the month of September, I had the opportunity to safely meet with folks across our region to hear from them on issues that matter most on our road to recovery. I have been working for you in Washington on key issues like expanding broadband, strengthening our national defense, and protecting our environment just to name a few.

Check out these photo and video highlights from this month below:

I started the month of September with the honor of presenting my remarks in the permanent Congressional Record on behalf of First District to public servant Dr. Richard S. Williams, MD, MPH. Dr. Williams is the District Director of the Three Rivers Health District and Acting District Director of the Eastern Shore Health District for Virginia Department of Health and has gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure Virginians are protected and receive the most up to date information during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Throughout the Coronavirus outbreak and response, Dr. Williams has been a valued resource to both my efforts to keep Virginians informed, as well as to the people he serves in the Three Rivers Health District. He served as an expert on four district-wide public telephone town halls to thousands of my constituents, answering questions on the outbreak, testing, and preventative actions. He also participated in over a dozen calls to provide an update on Virginia's response to the pandemic to local officials from areas across the Commonwealth. He was critical to getting information to my constituents when information and transparency was in high demand. Through one of the most uncertain times in recent history, his professionalism, preparedness, and even temperament put Virginians at ease. 

I hosted my second virtual broadband Fireside Chat with FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr to discuss the FCC’s efforts on telehealth, expanding rural broadband, the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), and the importance of public/private partnerships (P3s). The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the need for high-speed broadband and has pushed the importance of telehealth capabilities to the forefront. This chat was an excellent way to hear directly from local government leaders, tribal leader, and VA broadband stakeholders about their connectivity struggles.

I want to thank Commissioner Carr for participating in the Fireside Chat and his work on expanding telehealth, bridging the digital divide, and securing a stable and safe telecommunications workforce. I look forward to continuing to work with Commissioner Carr and the FCC to ensure broadband access for all Virginians.

I was incredibly honored to receive the Vincent T. Hirsch Award from the Navy League last month in recognition of my dedication to the American Maritime Industry. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s the world can be an unpredictable and dangerous place. Thanks to the service of our maritime forces, however, we can rest well knowing that the best and brightest are serving on the seas under our nation’s flag. 

I want to say thank you to the dedicated professionals of our Merchant Mariners, Maritime Industry Professionals, and those at the Navy League, and I assure you that I will continue to advocate for the American Maritime Industry in Washington.

In remembrance of the 19th anniversary of the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks on our nation, I was grateful to be with American Legion Post 90 and the Hanover County Sheriff's Department in Beaverdam as we remembered those we lost on 9/11 and the incredible first responders who sacrifice for us each day. I also had the opportunity to recognize the HCSD for their outstanding service to our community each and every day. Thank you to Post 90, and thanks to all who serve our communities.

It was great to join the Heritage Foundation for a virtual panel discussion to discuss the state of the US Navy’s public shipyards, the challenges facing our shipbuilders, and how I am working in Congress to overcome these obstacles. I discussed what I believe to be the three main factors facing our shipyards: increasing capacity, updating working conditions, and identifying and addressing root causes for unplanned work. Thank you to Heritage for hosting me, and I will continue working in Congress to address these issues facing our national defense industry.

As our nation deals with the continued effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are doing their utmost to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus by utilizing telework, distance learning, and telehealth capabilities. That is why I hosted a broadband-specific Telephone Town Hall call with Governor Northam’s Chief Broadband Advisor Evan Feinman to allow me the opportunity to hear directly from individuals in our region on the issues they have faced during the pandemic and provide updates on my work to help bridge the divide and increase access to quality, reliable broadband services. Click here to listen to the full audio of the town hall.

The new normal has left millions of rural Americans, who have inadequate or no connectivity to high-speed broadband, to feel abandoned as they are in desperate need of access to the digital economy. I want to thank Advisor Feinman for joining me on this call and for his insights on how we can work together at the federal, state, and local level to address these challenges and achieve results for Virginians.

Those who know me best know that I am a history buff. If you have been following along with my ‘My Hometown’ Video Series, you know that our region is home to some amazing historical sites and interesting landmarks. This series gives me the opportunity to share with you my love of history and many interesting facts about locations in our region. In the fifth and most recent installment of the series, I highlight the history of Northern Neck Bottling, a local staple for decades serving our region and at one point home to Northern Neck Ginger Ale. Click here to watch now.

While it technically fell on the First Day of October, I wanted to highlight in this roundup that on Thursday I was honored to lead the House passage of the landmark America's Conservation Enhancement (ACE) Act, arguably the most important piece of environmental legislation for the Chesapeake Bay, national wetlands, and fish habitats in the past twenty years.

The ACE Act is a once in a generation advancement to clean up the Chesapeake Bay and protect and conserve our natural environment across America. The Bay is a national treasure, and the ACE Act provides additional resources and extends critical conservation programs that preserve wetlands, reduce pollution and increase recreational opportunities in Virginia.

Watch my floor remarks here 

I want to say thank you again to everyone who has hosted me and met with me in September, 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.