To the Constituents of the 19th House District:
Virginia’s General Assembly celebrated an extraordinary moment last weekend as we received our new Governor Glenn Youngkin, Lt. Governor Winsome Sears, and Attorney General Jason Miyares for their oaths of office at the Virginia Capitol. As the Governor shared in his inaugural speech, “the will of the people grants a license to serve – a temporary license extended with trust, with faith, and with expectations to deliver on promises made.” I’m proud that you’ve placed your trust in me to represent you here in Richmond.
That work began this week with Governor Youngkin issuing 11 “day one” executive actions, including #1 and #2 that address schooling. Executive Order 1 empowers our education system to teach students how to think for themselves and affirms that they should be taught our entire history, both good and bad. As the Executive Order states, “Virginia must renew its commitment to teaching our children the value of freedom of thought and diversity of ideas.” The desire to provide a well-rounded educational experience is something that our Governor emphasized during the election season, and I am pleased to see that his commitment is as strong as it was on the campaign trail.
Executive Order 2 embraces the idea that parents have the core responsibility for the upbringing and safety of their children. There comes a point where we must ask how much we’re willing to hamper and hamstring our children, who are at the lowest risk, to protect adults who can get vaccines and wear masks of their own accord. I’m not an attorney, but what I can say is that the author of the law has made it clear that the intent is for CDC guidelines to be followed to the maximum extent practicable for our students to remain in the classroom, where they learn best.
We are a nation of laws, and right now school boards across the Commonwealth have set their policy. As the court system works through the legalities, I ask that if you feel compelled to contact your school board, to please express your views in a respectful manner. We all have the same goal: to ensure the safety of our students, and to do everything we can to give them the resources they need to excel in the classroom. As Governor Youngkin said this past Friday, “In the meantime, I urge all parents to listen to their principal, and trust the legal process.”
In the Virginia House of Delegates, we’re working alongside the Governor to make certain that Virginia is the best place to live, work, and raise a family. The process of legislating has begun in earnest as committees and subcommittees have been assigned bills to consider and vote on. As Chairman of Transportation, I look forward to hearing bills that will advance our opportunities to grow and diversify our transportation system in a thoughtful and fiscally conservative manner. Budget amendments were due this past week, and as Vice Chairman of Appropriations I look forward to reviewing these proposals as they make their way through the subcommittee process.
This week, I had the pleasure of introducing the Virginia Sheriffs Association during Session. I am proud to say that all three of the Sheriffs who serve in the 19th House District were present and actively advocating on behalf of local law enforcement issues throughout the Commonwealth. I am grateful for their service and will continue working with my House Republican colleagues to ensure that our Sheriffs, and all law enforcement officials, have the resources they need to effectively perform their duties.
As always, if ever I may be of assistance to you and your family, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at DelTAustin@house.virginia.gov. You can also like my Facebook page to keep up to date with what I’m doing in Richmond.
Delegate Terry L. Austin
19th House District