McEachin updates on post office, prisons
By A. Donald McEachin
This has been a busy September. Although my offices are still predominantly closed, I do have a couple of staffers in the office every day in Washington and staff in and out of our two district offices in Suffolk and Richmond. Please know we are working hard every day, and your calls and emails will be answered.
This month we concluded sign-ups for our 2020 Eco Heroes program, where elementary students sign up to perform some simple, but meaningful, environmental tasks, and are rewarded with a certificate and reception with me. It is a great way to involve some of my youngest constituents to teach them about the importance and responsibility of preserving our environment.
As of this writing, the court has extended the census date until Oct. 30. With that in mind, I held a call with faith leaders to ask them to remind their congregations to fill out the census. The census is how $675 billion dollars is allocated, and we need to get our fair share. Federal dollars pay for everything from school breakfasts to Medicaid to SNAP benefits.
I also had an extremely informative and moving roundtable on Black maternal mortality with three expert panelists. All of us learned a lot, such as how to assist and support expectant and new mothers. I am so grateful these professionals joined us. If you would like to watch a recording of this roundtable, it is available on my Facebook page.
With all the concerns that have been raised about mail issues, Congresswoman Spanberger and I toured the U.S. Postal Service Richmond Processing and Distribution Center and met with postal workers. We were reassured they feel prepared for the potential number of vote by mail ballots.
If you want to register your opinion about an issue or invite me or a member of my staff to a virtual or live event, please go my website, mceachin.house.gov, fill out the appropriate form and you will hear from us. My staff and I are eager to be attending events, in person or virtually, so please, let us know about what is happening in your community.
If you are having a problem with a federal agency, such as issues with passport, benefits or taxes, please contact my office. Go to mceachin.house.gov and you can initiate a case totally online. A constituent services representative will get back to you.
Please know, also, that your opinions on issues are very important to me. As we continue to work on legislation, and my colleagues and I discuss critical issues, I want to be serving you, meeting your needs, making life better and easier for you and your family.
In Washington, I have been working on several issues, a couple of which I will highlight here. Recently, I led a bipartisan letter, with Senators Warner and Kaine and Congressman Morgan Griffith, to the Federal Bureau of Prisons about the egregious conditions — the lack of personal protective equipment and the rampant spread of COVID-19 — in federal prisons here in Virginia. This letter follows one written nearly four months ago to which I had not yet received a response. Not only do these conditions put the individuals and staff in the prison at risk, but also they increase opportunity for community spread.
I was also pleased to cosponsor the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, a bipartisan bill that requires reasonable accommodations for pregnant women, if such accommodations do not unduly burden the employer. These can be reasonable changes such as providing a chair or allowing pregnant woman to have access to a water bottle. Pregnancy is a unique condition and we need to be supportive and helpful, so every pregnancy ends with a healthy mom and baby.
Congressman Donald McEachin represents Virginia’s 4th Congressional District.