Swamp legislation and Mobile McEachin

Published 10:39 pm Friday, February 7, 2020

By Congressman A. Donald McEachin

This month, my staff will be hosting a Mobile McEachin, where constituents can receive assistance with issues with federal agencies. You are always welcome to come to our office in Suffolk, 131 N. Saratoga St., Suite B, Suffolk) but Mobile McEachin provides another opportunity for folks who may not be able to come in during our office hours. On Feb. 10, a staffer will be at the Rivercrest Community Center, 1001 River Walk Parkway, Chesapeake, at 7:30 p.m.

This month, I am working on legislation to assess the feasibility of designating the Great Dismal Swamp a National Heritage site. The Great Dismal Swamp is composed of more than 112,000 acres of forested wetlands. At the beginning of the last century, this unique ecosystem was deforested almost out of existence from logging and other industries. With creation of the refuge, the Great Dismal Swamp has recovered and provides refuge for a range of trees and plants, and animals as varied as black bears, bobcats, otters and weasels. More than 200 species of birds call the Great Dismal Swamp home. In addition, within the swamp area, Lake Drummond is one of only two natural lakes in Virginia. It provides recreational opportunities for residents and tourists, helping the local economies thrive. We need to protect a unique treasure like the Great Dismal Swamp, and a National Heritage site designation would assist in that.

Email newsletter signup

In Congress, I also am introducing legislation to improve the accountability and oversight of existing offshore drilling facilities. I am not a supporter of offshore drilling, believing that the accident risk and attendant danger for workers, for marine life and for coastal communities is too great. However, for the present, offshore drilling continues, so we must ensure greater oversight to minimize the risk of devastating accidents such as Deepwater Horizon in 2010, which killed 11 workers and spilled four million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

My office and I are eager to be active and involved in the community. Please let us know about any events in which we can participate and be helpful. The nature of Congress is that I spend significant time in Washington, D.C., but when possible, I want to be in the district, meeting and interacting with residents. You can  request my attendance or invite a staff member by filling out this form: mceachin.house.gov/contact/request-appearance.

I am also pleased to continue helping my constituents with federal issues. Tax season is now upon us, and I know many of you, like me, are starting to think about preparing your taxes and making sure you do not miss the April 15 deadline to file. If you choose to use a professional preparer, please make sure to check their qualifications and history and ask in advance about any fees. To speed up the process, ask them to eFile and, if possible, request direct deposit for your refund. Please also consider the below helpful information before filing:

  • Active duty military members can prepare and file using brand name tax preparation software for free. This is a service provided by the IRS to thank our men and women in uniform.
  • The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program offers free tax help to people who made $56,000 or less in 2019, persons with disabilities, and limited English-speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to those who qualify.
  • The Tax Counseling for the Elderly program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors.

As always, if you have an issue or a problem with a federal agency, such as a missing tax return, needing a visa or passport, unreceived benefits or issues with mail delivery, my office is happy to help. Just go to my website, mceachin.house.gov, to get started. We are also happy to record your opinion on any news topic.

Congressman Donald McEachin represents Virginia’s 4th Congressional District.