Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Virginia Legislators Discuss Issues at Hand Ahead of Legislative Session

Elected members of the Virginia General Assembly met at the Williamsburg Regional Library on Jan. 6 for a Legislative Forum hosted by the Williamsburg Chamber of Commerce. (WYDaily/Ben Mackin)

WILLIAMSBURG — Six Virginia legislators from both both houses of the General Assembly met for the 2022 Legislative Forum at the Williamsburg Regional Library on Thursday morning, Jan. 6.

The panel of elected officials included:

  • Sen. Tommy Norment (R-Dist. 3)
  • Sen. Mamie Locke (D-Dist. 2)
  • Sen. Monty Mason (D-Dist. 1)
  • Del. Mike Mullin (D-Dist. 93)
  • Del. Amanda Batten (R-Dist. 96)
  • Delegate-Elect A.C. Cordoza (R-Dist. 91)

The event is hosted every year by the Greater Williamsburg Chamber of Commerce as a means to advocate for legislative priorities set out by members of the Chamber.

There was a convivial tone to the one-hour forum as panel members were asked a series of questions based on written questions from the audience.

As a member of the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission, Mason weighed in heavily on the recently completed widening project of Interstate 64.

“What we just completed on 64 was transformational,” Mason told the assembled crowd of around 60 people. “If you have traveled around the peninsula recently you can see it. It has changed people’s lives.”

He noted that the success of the project is a result of the different localities withing Hampton Roads coming together.

Another topic broached by the Chamber was educational initiatives that will better prepare students to enter the workforce.

Batten said that she is expecting the session to yield legislation in relation to schools particularly charter schools. She then noted that charter schools was an issue that Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin supported while on the campaign trail.

In regards to workforce initiative with schools, Batten said she was working on legislation that calls for flexibile curriculum depending on a schools location and other factors.

“It will set up an opportunity classroom and allow teachers to use an out of the box curriculum style,” Batten said describing her bill. “Teachers would still have to adhere to academic standards that we have in Virginia. But say you were in the valley of southwest Virginia, you would have a curriculum that was focused on agriculture. Here in the Hampton Roads areas you might have something that deals with the healthcare industry or maybe I.T. issues.”

This year’s forum was the first to be held in-person since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think this is an important annual event that we do,” said Chamber CEO Terry Banez. “It lets people here directly from their delegation.”

For more information on the Greater Williamsburg Chamber of Commerce or on any of its programs including the forum, go to the chamber website.

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