96th District, Virginia House of Delegates                                        January  18, 2019

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Richmond Office 
Pocahontas Building
Room E306 *NEW ROOM*
900 East Main Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: 804-698-1096
Fax: 804-786-6310
DelBPogge@house.virginia.gov
   
Legislative Aide
Amanda Batten
Amanda@brendapogge.com
Today marks the end of the first full week of this year's short General Assembly session. Despite the fact that House members were limited in the number of bills they were allowed to introduce, we still have thousands of pieces of legislation to review. To keep pace, we are maintaining a busy schedule of subcommittee and committee meetings. Bills are already being heard on the House (and Senate) floors, and next week promises to be even more hectic. As a reminder, floor sessions and committee meetings may be viewed online by clicking HERE.
Prioritizing teachers
One topic on which most Virginians can agree is the importance of retaining qualified teachers. As a mother of five and a grandmother of nine, I can personally attest to the important role teachers play in the lives of children. 

Unfortunately, teacher turnover in Virginia is shockingly high.  50% of teachers leave their initial school after four years. 22% do not return to their school after the first year. While this instability certainly does not help children, it speaks to a larger question: why are teachers leaving? 

This year I am carrying House Bill 2259, which requires local school boards to administer an exit questionnaire to departing teachers. This legislation expands an existing pilot program that was limited to five school divisions. Recruiting and retaining teachers is an important priority, and we need to understand exactly why teachers are leaving in such high numbers. Lack of resources? Leadership? Personal reasons? Compensation? Receiving feedback directly from teachers will facilitate greater stability within our educational system, thereby benefiting both teachers and students.

Virginia Loves Teachers License Plate
While we're on the subject of teachers, Delegate John McGuire has partnered with Louisa Public Schools to create a "Virginia Loves Teachers" license plate. In order to make this plate a reality, 450 people must sign up for the plate by January 31! The cost is $10, and you can sign up online here.
Working for the 96th District
By now, residents of the 96th House District are all-too-familiar with the construction associated with the widening of Interstate 64. While the expansion will bring long-term benefits, neighborhoods adjacent to the project face now face increased traffic noise and environmental challenges. The Queens Lake neighborhood in York County is especially affected. At the onset of the project, Queens Lake residents learned their neighborhood would not be protected by a sound barrier. Instead, they would be subject to a dramatic uptick in traffic noise stemming from the removal of trees in the median, installation of a wall on the other side of the interstate, and increased traffic flow. 

For nearly two years, I worked with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to make the case for a sound barrier. VDOT initially insisted the wall was unnecessary, but eventually conceded that the barrier was warranted. While most of the neighborhood will benefit from this protection, some Queens Lake homes remain exposed. To fund extension of the barrier in order to shield these families' homes, I have introduced a budget amendment during this legislative session. With a price tag of over $1 million, the amendment may meet with resistance, but I am committed to pushing for this necessary project.
2019 legislative survey
If you've not already done so, please take my 2019 legislative survey! Click HERE to take the survey.
This week in Richmond
Visitors this week included representatives from the following organizations:
  • VersAbility Resources
  • Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Virginia Chapter of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America
  • Voter Registrars Association
  • Y Street (Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth)

As always, please stop by my office if you are in Richmond. If you are unable to visit, please feel free to contact me via email at DelBPogge@house.virginia.gov or by phone at 804-698-1096. 

 

Enjoy your weekend!
  Signature  
Delegate Brenda Pogge

Paid for and Authorized by Brenda Pogge for Delegate