Legislative session begins

Published 10:04 pm Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Virginia General Assembly will convene this Wednesday for a 60-day session in which they will consider the biennial budget as well as many other important issues.

Suffolk has eight different lawmakers representing parts of it in the two houses of the state legislature. The districts range from covering huge chunks of the city to only one precinct, and the legislators themselves this year include a freshman as well as several political veterans.

This patchwork of people and precincts can make it confusing to figure out whom to call when Suffolkians have a concern about state government, but it’s relatively easy to get involved, with internet access.

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Effective state government depends on citizen involvement. These delegates and senators need to hear from you, so make sure that they do. You can visit virginiageneralassembly.gov to find out who your legislator is, read about some of the work they are doing in Richmond and learn how to contact them.

If you live in Suffolk, you’re represented by a delegate and a senator from this list:

  • Delegate Emily Brewer (R-64)
  • Delegate Cliff Hayes (D-77)
  • Delegate Matthew James (D-80)
  • Delegate Chris Jones (R-76)
  • Sen. John Cosgrove (R-14)
  • Sen. Louise Lucas (D-18)
  • Sen. Montgomery Mason (D-1)
  • Sen. Thomas Norment (R-3)

Each of these people will be voting on important issues. The incoming governor has advanced a list of legislative priorities including Medicaid expansion, universal background checks for gun purchases, no-excuse absentee voting and raising the threshold for felony larceny from $200 to $1,000.

Legislators also make crucial decisions every year about education funding, economic development initiatives, statewide transportation priorities, environmental issues and more.

Their work will affect everyone in the state, so everyone should have a say. Write, call and email your legislators and let them know what you think about their performance.

We wish our legislators a productive session that benefits all Suffolk residents and all Virginians.