January 22, 2018 Newsletter: Session Update- Week 2

Week 2 of the General Assembly Session began with meetings in our assigned committees. This year I will be serving on the Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee, Finance Committee and Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee. I look forward to working with other members on these important committees to pass practical solutions to everyday issues.

I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting with so many of you who have stopped by my Capitol office over the past 2 weeks. If you happen to be in the Richmond area during this year’s General Assembly Session please stop in and say hello.

If you would like to review the bills I have introduced this Session, click here.

It’s not too late! There is still time to take our annual Legislative Survey to voice your thoughts on many important issues. We greatly appreciate your thoughtful consideration of the questions and look forward to reading your responses.


In order for your responses to be recorded, please provide your full name and home address. All of your responses will remain anonymous and we will never share your answers or any identifying information. This step is solely to ensure that respondents are residents of the 59th Senate District.

Thank you in advance for your willingness to participate in our survey. My office is happy to provide paper surveys to anyone unable to participate in the survey online. If you have any questions or would like to request a survey by mail, please contact my Legislative Aide, Jenna, at 434-821-5929.

Last week when Speaker of the House Kirk Cox was sworn in, he delivered an inspiring speech on bipartisanship. Majority Leader Todd Gilbert followed that up this past Monday with a similar speech calling on both sides to work together to get things done.

However our new Governor, Ralph Northam, struck a very partisan tone in both his Inaugural Address as well as his first Address to the Joint Assembly on Monday night. He mentioned the word bipartisan just once in his remarks and emphasized many partisan issues on which we disagree. He certainly made a point to mention limiting the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens and implementing carbon caps. We don’t think those should be top priorities. I think the governor missed an opportunity to continue the theme of cooperation that the House is attempting to set as we start our work this year. It’s harder to be optimistic about the potential for our relationship with Governor Northam after his speech.

We’re going to have to stay focused on jobs and education and not getting wrapped up in the controversial partisan issues the Democrats seem insistent on passing. There’s a lot of work to be done over the next 55 days. My team and I are just getting started, and hopefully these first speeches by the Governor were the exception, not the new normal.

I am very disappointed by the failure of both parties in Washington to avert a government shutdown. This is another really good example of the difference between Washington and Richmond. A government shutdown represents the worst of Washington-style politics. It’s the result of years of failure by both parties to address our nation’s fiscal problems. Americans expect and deserve better.

I am proud that we do things differently in Virginia, always working to pass a balanced budget on time without government shutdowns. We understand that working together, we can solve problems. We balance our budget by setting priorities and making tough choices. We don’t duck the tough issues or kick the can down the road, we put our heads together and solve them.

This shutdown does highlight a stark difference between the two parties. Republicans are pushing to keep the government open to fully fund the Children's Health Insurance Program while Democrats are willing to shutdown the government to allow 700,000 people, who are here illegally, to stay in the country.

Last week I told you about our “Practical Solutions to Everyday Issues” agenda, prioritizing the real problems people talk about at home. If you ever have an everyday issue that you need a practical solution for, please never hesitate to call or email my office.

You can email me at [email protected] or call me at (804)698-1059.  You can also join the conversation on our social media page, www.facebook.com/DelegateMattFariss.

 I will be providing you weekly updates during the 2018 General Assembly Session and will be meeting with constituent groups after Session to report on the Session and take questions.

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