What we see in Washington today – partisan bickering, investigations, policy stalemates - is an example of where differences are highlighted, but indeed we should be looking at what we have in common, because I do believe there is more common ground than many of us realize. My focus as your Representative in Congress is to work on behalf of the people of the First District and address your top concerns, and I will continue to serve as a strong supporter and vocal advocate for these ideas and principles to make sure our priorities are being addressed in Congress and we make progress toward their completion.
Congress’ first duty is to ensure a strong military and robust national defense to protect the homeland. Through my role as the Ranking Member of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee on the House Armed Service Committee, I am a staunch advocate of many of the concepts proposed in the Battle Force 2045 plan. However, I do have concerns about the reorganization of our carrier force structure and the emphasis on unmanned and optionally manned platforms. I look forward to exploring these concerns further through discussions with Secretary Esper and Secretary of the Navy Braithwaite. It is clear that any major conflict with China is going to be in the Pacific theatre and our Naval fleet is going to be the tip of the spear. Our fleet must be able to distribute lethality, adapt in a complex environment, and have the survivability necessary to engage in a high-end conflict if deterrence and coordination with our regional allies doesn’t work —many aspects of this are highlighted in this Battle Force 2045 plan. Read more here.
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. As co-chair of the bipartisan House Rural Broadband Caucus, I am working tirelessly to close the digital divide for the people of our region, the Commonwealth, and the nation. In case you missed it, at the end of last month, I hosted a public Telephone Town Hall on Broadband with Governor Northam’s Chief Broadband Advisor Evan Feinman and constituents of the First District to answer questions related to broadband connectivity, services, and programs to help close the digital divide for rural Americans. Click here to listen to the full audio of the town hall.
I believe that economic growth and job creation is best supported by fewer, smarter regulations and policies that encourage a better trained and educated workforce. In 2019, 103,000 jobs were added in Virginia and our unemployment rate hit a historic low of 2.9%. As we recover from COVID-19, I am committed to restoring American jobs. The first step in achieving this goal is refining our education system to better equip the American worker to succeed in the workforce of tomorrow by increased support of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) educational opportunities and Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs. The Republican Study Committee (RSC), of which I am a member, has recently released a proposal filled with 100+ conservative and solutions-oriented ideas to take a fresh, innovative, and comprehensive approach to lift up and empower American workers. View the proposals here.
Finally, as a lifelong conservationist, I am committed to the conservation of our environment, wetlands and vast natural resources. Earlier this month, 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. Learn more here.
I am optimistic for our future as a nation – I believe that we will continue our economic success, our military effectiveness around the world, and the continued meaningful dialogue between members of our community to achieve real results. In addition to my priorities listed above, I will continue working to fix our crumbling roads and bridges, ensure veterans receive the benefits they deserve, cut the red tape hurting our businesses, lower the cost of health care, and secure our borders. With only a few weeks left in the year, I am ready to tackle these critical challenges facing the Commonwealth and the nation.