January 8, 2020
Thank you to the nearly 100 people who attended my
State of the Commonwealth Breakfast last week.
In this Issue
  • Commentary: General Assembly Session 2020 Underway
  • Bulletin Board
  • What Can I Do?
  • Check your Calendar 

General Assembly Session 2020 Underway
Last Sunday I made my annual winter trek south to Richmond for the General Assembly session. My two-hour trip is not far enough to get me to sunny weather, but it is far enough for me to be in some hot debates. I stay in a hotel with such proximity to my office that my daily commute is just a walk of a couple of minutes. Going south in the winter may be a vacation for some, but for the next 60 days it is the most intense period of work that one can imagine. Fortunately, I get home most weekends for a brief reprieve.

This trip south has been one filled with great anticipation. For the first time in two decades I am not in the minority! I chair a committee now, the Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee, that will be acting on many environmental bills. I can expect that bills I introduce will get a fair hearing and most of them will pass. My colleagues and I reflect the population of the Commonwealth more than any previous General Assembly session ever. Not only do we have more women in the legislature, but we have the first ever woman Speaker of the House!

Being a member of the majority party brings enormous responsibility. As the party “in power,” we must exercise our duties in ways that are judicious and fair. There is no time for political pay-back. We must shift from campaigning mode to governing mode. Although it may be tempting to do otherwise, we must conduct ourselves in ways towards the minority party members that would be the way we want to be treated in the distant future when we may find ourselves the minority again. Yes, the golden rule should apply even in the legislature.

How exciting it is to realize that in a few short months we will be able to add Virginia to the list of states that have ratified the Equal Rights Amendment even if we are the last needed for ratification. We will strengthen our existing antidiscrimination laws and add to them. We will make our communities safer from gun violence. We will add essential funding increases to our educational and human service programs. We will make critical decisions on protecting our environment and responding to climate change. And more. When all this work is done we have a governor who has pledged to sign our bills into law!

Last Saturday’s public hearing by the Fairfax General Assembly delegation reminded us that there is not total accord on what we will be doing. About half the audience of around 300 people in attendance seemed to be there to shout down those with whom they disagreed. Their efforts to show support for what they define as their second amendment rights was to violate the first amendment rights of others. The lack of civility in public discourse across the country has found its way to Virginia. What a shame!

I am honored to be here, and I am going to do my best to fairly represent your interests. Make a trip south to see me and the legislative process over the next couple of months. To live-stream the legislative sessions, go to House of Delegates and to Senate . To follow the progress of bills, visit lis.virginia.gov
Delegate Plum Seeks Your Input into Priorities for the
2020 General Assembly Session
Volunteer Drivers Needed
Do you have two hours or more to give a week? The Shepherd’s Center of Oakton-Vienna (now serving Oakton, Vienna, Reston and Herndon) is recruiting volunteers in Reston and Herndon to become volunteer drivers for our FREE Medical and Companion Transportation of seniors to appointments. Do you have a loved one that is in need of social interaction? We offer programs and services that may be of interest. To learn more, contact us at 703.281.0538 for an application. For more information visit us at  www.scov.org. Since 1998 Shepherd’s Center of Oakton-Vienna has allevited isolation and loneliness in our communities through medical & companion transportation; friendly callers & visitors; veteran’s visitors program; education and social enrichment…and so much more. 
Reston Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 
January 18 – 20, 2020
This year’s 35th Annual Reston Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration is full of opportunities for everyone. It is an inspiring three-day event that includes special performances by the Reston Community Orchestra, community service projects, the Voices of Inspiration Program sponsored by the Reston Martin Luther King Jr. Church hosted by the Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation and a Keynote Speech by Bakari Sellers followed by a community luncheon. Full schedule is at MLK Celebration.
What can I do? Civic Involvement
Follow the Deliberations of the General Assembly
General Assembly sessions are live-streamed daily

Calendar of Events
Wednesday, January 8, 2020 General Assembly Session begins. Follow live on the General Assembly website ( House of Delegates and Senate).

Tuesday, January 14, 10:00 a.m., Gun Violence Awareness Vigil at National Rifle Association headquarters, 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax. The vigil commemorates the anniversary of the day 26 children and educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Please DO NOT park in the NRA's parking lot. There is plenty of free parking in the office building lot on Fairfax Ridge Drive across Waples Mill Road. Signs and flags will be provided.

Wednesday, January 15, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., Free seminar on The Art of Volunteering in Retirement, at Bailey’s Crossroads Community Shelter, 5914 Seminary Road, Falls Church. For more information call Shannon at 703-403-5360. To register now, visit The Art of Volunteering.

Saturday, January 18, 4:00 to 5:30 p.m., A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods, 2310 Colts Neck Road, Reston. The Reston Community Orchestra celebrates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through symphonic works, spirituals and songs inspired by his legacy. Read more at RCO Tribute to MLK.

Thursday, January 23, 10:00 a.m. to noon, Adventures In Learning Open House/Registration Day, at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax, Program Building, 2709 Hunter Mill Road, Oakton. Learn about the Shepherd's Center and our classes. If you are unable to attend the open house, you may print the registration form and mail it to us at any time during the term. More information is at www.scov.org/ail.

Wednesday, February 5, 7:30 p.m., CenterStage Cinema: Ethic Notions (18 years and older), at the CenterStage at RCC Hunters Woods, 2310 Colts Neck Road, Reston. Free. Ethnic Notions is Marlon Riggs' Emmy-winning documentary that takes viewers on a disturbing voyage through American history, tracing for the first time the deep-rooted stereotypes that have fueled prejudice against black people. Stay afterward for a lively conversation with Theater Alliance Artistic Director Raymond Caldwell. For more information, contact Paul Douglas Michnewicz, RCC Arts and Events Director, at 703-390-6167 or visit Ethnic Notions.

Monday, February 17, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Free Admission to Mount Vernon on President’s Day. George Washington's Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway. Details are at Mount Vernon.