Friday, January 27, 2012

Delegate Mike Watson Newsletter


Visitors from New River Community College

(see below)






Contact Me


As always, we are here in Richmond to serve you. We want to hear what you think about the legislation pending before the House, or if there's anything we can do to help you.


My office can be reached at:


(804) 698-1093


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Letter from Mike


Dear Friends,


If there was any doubt that we were in the midst of Session last week, this week has shattered all illusions.  We’ve been working hard in subcommittees, full committees, and on the floor of the House to consider bills filed by my colleagues and advance legislation I have personally introduced.  It’s a rapid pace, but efficient and it has been refreshing to hear from so many back home.  I appreciate your comments and suggestions, and I will do my best to give the 93rd District a strong voice in Richmond.


This week, I was able to present a number of my bills to subcommittees and full committees.  One of these bills, House Bill 1144, will allow organizations such as Habitat for Humanity to not just build new houses, but to renovate existing ones.  It’s an opportunity to extend the generous works of the organization while addressing some of the blight and abandoned property concerns in the Commonwealth.  It received a 22 – 0 vote in the full committee and will now pass to the floor for a vote by the full House.  I’ve also presented bills for government efficiency and energy policy, both of which are working their way forward.


Perhaps more far-reaching than my Bills, I presented four budget amendments to the Appropriations Committee this week, and am hopeful that many, if not all, will find their way into the finalized budget.  The first was an investment in Jefferson Laboratories.  This Free Electron Laser (FEL) upgrade will expand capabilities of the equipment and provide Virginia’s Universities and other entities greater potential for research and bring “users” to our hotels, restaurants, tourist sites and more.  More importantly, it will enhance the possibility of spawning new Virginia businesses and work towards required upgrades to compete for a Department of Energy grant.  Even without the grant however, the long-term upgrades will increase research hours, generate more revenue, created jobs and provide more education opportunities for schools across the state. 


I also presented a budget amendment that would allocate additional funds to workforce development training at Virginia’s Community Colleges.  This fund goes directly towards non-credit course training to put Virginians back to work.  Simply put, it helps to provide the bridge between people looking for work and employers looking for certain job skills.  The final two budget amendments were for the College of William and Mary, both for needed construction efforts at our prized College.


I’ll have more bills to present next week as well as a few where I’m working with other legislators as a co-patron.  Some of their subjects include veterans, individual freedoms, tax reform and even fishing.  I look forward to telling you more next week.   


As always, if I can ever be of assistance, or if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at either, or call us in Richmond at (804) 698-1093.


Respectfully yours,






Special Session of General Assembly Held in

Colonial Williamsburg


The Virginia General Assembly will be holding a special session at the Capitol in Colonial Williamsburg tomorrow, January 28th.  Williamsburg served as the home to the General Assembly, formerly the House of Burgesses, which is the nation’s oldest legislative body in the United States.


The General Assembly typically holds a commemorative session in Williamsburg every four years.  This is the 25th such session to be held in Colonial Williamsburg.  President Gerald Ford, Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell, former U.S. Senator John Warner, and John D. Rockefeller Jr. have participated in the ceremony in years past.


Pastor Mark Morrow of Crosswalk Community Church will give the invocation.  James I. Robertson Jr., professor emeritus of history at Virginia Tech, will also address the body at this session.  Professor Robertson is the lead director at the Virginia Center for Civil War studies.


New River Community College Visits the Capitol


This week, among our many visitors were representatives from New River Community College.  


President, Dr. Jack Lewis and Dr. Mark Rowh along with students Shannon McGlumphy, S.J. Hubbard, Helen Cooley and Danny Hazelwood visited the Capitol to meet with us.


Mike, a graduate of New River Community College, was honored to be able to welcome administrators and students from his alma mater to the General Assembly.  These honored guests were greeted by the Speaker, and given a warm welcome by the full body of the House of Delegates.


Picture above*


House Republicans Announce K-12 Education Initiatives



House Republicans this week held a press conference to announce numerous K-12 education initiatives designed to improve education for lower income families.


“Last year our Caucus worked with Governor McDonnell investing in the future of Virginia’s higher education system.  Through structural improvements and targeted investments, we laid the groundwork to ensure Virginia’s public colleges and universities remain among the most competitive in the nation,” said Majority Leader Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights).  “This year, we will continue our efforts to improve Virginia’s education system, with particular emphasis paid to our public K-12 institutions.  Improving access, increasing accountability and encouraging innovative alternatives are key to improving our public schools,” he continued. 


One of the highlights of the initiatives was Delegate Jimmie Massie’s (R-Henrico) proposed HB 321 to allow corporations to sponsor education improvement for low income children.


“This bill would improve the education of thousands of Virginia’s most disadvantaged children, improve our public schools and save the Commonwealth’s taxpayers millions of dollars,” said Massie.



Contact me by

Phone: (804) 698-1093     Email: DelMWatson@house.virginia.go

Write: General Assembly Building P.O. Box 406; Richmond, Virginia 23218

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