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Weekly Updates

Wittman’s Weekly: Why I Serve

My dad served in World War II and I credit him for my passion for public service. He instilled in me the importance of putting service to others above self, and that still drives me to work on your behalf every day. One of the greatest honors of my life is to serve you as your Representative in the First District. I still make the two hour drive into Washington from my little town of Montross each day Congress is in session because I believe the best ideas don’t come from Washington, but from the people of the First District, and I believe it is important to maintain those connections. Coming home to the First District every day allows me to continually hear from my constituents, it keeps me focused on what really matters, and allows me to stay connected to the places, the history, and the people who call this place home too.

I always want to hear and connect with residents of the First District, whether it be through telephone town halls, forums of all kinds, business visits, or just running into folks at the hardware store. During the COVID-19 pandemic, our ways of interacting have changed drastically, but I have still made it a point to host informative phone calls, safe in-person visits, and personal meetings with folks across our region to hear directly from you.

What I hear from folks is that we need to take care of our small businesses and hardworking Virginians, support our men and women in uniform, ensure our Veterans are receiving the benefits they have earned, better prepare our children for the future, and expand access to high-speed internet in the unserved areas of our region.

And we are making real progress on these issues. 

I have called on my colleagues in Congress to move on providing additional relief to Americans who need it most. I have joined a discharge petition to release millions of dollars in aid to small businesses and I will continue to call on my fellow Members in Congress to do the same and more. I supported the Paycheck Protection Program, CARES Act, EIDL loans, Economic Impact Payments and much more to provide direct and much needed relief to millions of Americans throughout the pandemic.

Recently, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced Battle Force 2045, a new plan to expand and modernize our fleet to outpace our competitors and adversaries. 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—many aspects of this are highlighted in this Battle Force 2045 plan. Additionally, many of the specifics on how we will meet the challenges of the future, which I have been advocating for years, are in this plan. I look forward to working with Secretary Esper and the DoD in my role on the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee to make these a reality in the coming years. 

This year I have continued my work to improve access to broadband services for all Virginians, building upon the work I have undertaken over the past decade. I firmly believe that we will see more done in the next two years than we have in the past ten, and much of that is due to the progress I have made working with stakeholders, elected officials, and members of the Administration over the past several years. I will continue to support localities as they apply for grants and work with providers to allow our localities to fully capitalize on the technology of the 21st Century. 

I called on the administration to extend the vital summer meals program for students across the country through the end of next summer to ensure that students and families in need don’t have to worry about where their next meals are coming from during these trying times. Thanks to my efforts, the USDA has extended these programs through Summer 2021. 

I currently have a bill before the House aimed at relieving congestion on our roadways, providing greater capacity for commuter and freight rail traffic. The Long Bridge Act of 2020 will allow for the construction of a new Long Bridge across the Potomac which increases rail capacity throughout the mid-Atlantic region. In conjunction with this bill, I advocated for a successful USDOT grant application from the Port of Virginia to increase their rail terminal capacity to get a greater number of trucks off the roadways while boosting our region’s economy.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, folks of the First District have proven their resiliency. We have proven our ability to care for one another, to utilize the resources we need to manage these times, to ask for help when we need it and provide help when we can. It is this spirit that will see us through.

It is with this same spirit that I have been working and will continue to work for you.

Working to better the First District is something I take pride in and what drives me to get results in Congress. I will always put the First District first and my top priority will always be service to the people who call this place home. It is an honor to serve you and Virginia's First District in the People's House.