Press Releases

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) praised final passage in Congress of the Ashanti Alert Act, legislation that will create a new federal alert system for missing or endangered adults between the ages of 18-64. Currently, the U.S. does not have an alert system for missing adults. The bill now heads to President Trump’s desk for his signature.  

The Ashanti Alert Act is named after Ashanti Billie, the 19-year-old who was abducted in Norfolk, Va. on September 18, 2017. Her body was discovered in North Carolina 11 days after she was first reported missing. At the time of Ashanti’s abduction, she was too old for an Amber Alert and too young for a Silver Alert. The Ashanti Alert, like the other alert systems, would notify the public about missing or endangered adults, ages 18-64, through a national communications network to assist law enforcement in the search. 

“In the wake of an unspeakable tragedy, Meltony and Brandy Billie did something extraordinary: they channeled grief into a determination that other families would be spared the anguish of losing a loved one like they did Ashanti. Though no one can ever erase their pain, I hope it comforts them now to know that Ashanti’s death will not have been in vain,” said Sen. Warner. “Ashanti’s memory will carry on in the lives that will be saved through this new alert system.”

“If you knew Ashanti, then you knew that you had a friend. I have said often that she never met a stranger. Though it has been hard coping with her leaving me, her earthly father, I have great joy knowing that she is with her heavenly Father and one day we will see one another again. I am eternally grateful for her life—a life well lived—because through the Ashanti Alert Act lives will be saved,” said Meltony Billie, father of Ashanti Billie. “I thank my family for carrying me when I began to weaken, I want to thank Michael Muhammad, Kimberly Wimbish, Attorney Don Scott, Delegate Jay Jones and his team, Congressman Scott Taylor and his team, Senator Mark Warner and his team, and I dare not forget about the Hampton Roads Community, and everyone who has being praying for my family.”

“We are elated that this legislation has been enacted. Just because my daughter's life was tragically cut short, that doesn't mean that my time as a mother, her mother is over; far from it. This federal legislation, the Ashanti Alert Act, is the first step in my current journey without my daughter by my side. The Ashanti Alert will be a beacon of hope for those that have a loved one deemed as missing under questionable circumstances. Our dream is to bring as many as possible of those missing back home safely,” said Brandy Billie, mother of Ashanti Billie. “I feel that Ashanti has been an angel watching not only over me, but guiding all those that have helped us. From day one the local community in the Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach, Norfolk area have welcomed us as family and helped in our search for our daughter, and we say thank you. To our team Michael Muhammad, Don Scott and Kim Wimbish who have never left our side since day one, we say thank you. To all law enforcement and FBI personnel, we say thank you. To all the news outlets that have kept her story alive, we say thank you. To Delegate Jay Jones, Congressman Scott Taylor and Senator Mark Warner, we say thank you. Through the prayer, determination, and work of such a diverse village, the Ashanti Alert Act has come to be and will save lives.”

“This law will save lives. It closes a glaring gap in our present alert system. I’m proud to have worked with Senator Mark Warner on the Ashanti Alert Act and championed its quick passage through Congress.  This law will create a real-time alert system for missing adults, providing vital information to first responders and helping save lives,” said Blumenthal.  “Ashanti’s family should be commended for sharing her story, and turning their grief and loss into meaningful action.  Their strength and advocacy will help prevent other families from going through similar tragedies,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). Sen. Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, teamed up with Sen. Warner on this legislation after hearing from Ashanti’s cousin, Connecticut State Representative Patricia Billie Miller. 

“The NAACP is proud to support this crucial legislation, the Ashanti Alert Act,” said Mr. Hilary O. Shelton, the Director of the NAACP Washington Bureau and the Senior Vice President for Policy and Advocacy.  “We are grateful to Senator Warner and Congressman Taylor for taking the lead and filling in a gap in our Nation’s safety protections.  Upon implementation of this law, we will be expanding the Amber Alert system, which has proven to be an effective tool, to include a demographic that is currently missing from its protections, those between the ages of 18 and 65.”  

“We are grateful to Senator Warner for working with the FOP to improve this legislation to make Ashanti Alerts an effective tool for law enforcement and the public.  Without his leadership, I do not think this bill would have gotten through the Congress,” said Chuck Canterbury, National President, Fraternal Order of Police.

"Virginia led the way this past legislative session by implementing a law focused on enhancing a vital component of public safety - the Amber and Senior Alert systems," said Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran.  "Delegate Jay Jones spearheaded an effort to create an Amber Alert-like system for "critically missing" adults, upon hearing the heartbreaking story of a family whose 19 year old daughter went missing in the Norfolk area. Amber Alerts and Endangered Missing Child Media Alerts are for missing persons under the age 18; and Senior Alerts are issued for persons 60 years of age or older. This leaves a gap for adults between the ages of 18 and 60 years old. The 'Ashanti Alert', named after Ashanti Billie would address an important demographic of the population, and ensure that timely and efficient messaging is delivered to residents across Virginia to aid in search efforts. This law is a step in the right direction to ensuring a safer Commonwealth for all her residents."

“Senator Warner’s Ashanti Alert Act of 2018 will help ensure that law enforcement has the information necessary to swiftly recover missing persons and accurately inform the general public about breaking news of a missing or endangered adult,” said Bill Johnson, Executive Director, National Association of Police Organizations. “NAPO believes that the establishment of a stand-alone Ashanti Alert Network will help prevent horrible tragedies like case of Ashanti Billie.  We support the Ashanti Alert Act and thank Senator Warner for working with us on this important legislation.”

“The Ashanti Alert is long overdue,” said Camille Cooper, Director Government Affairs, The National Association to PROTECT Children. “For decades, emphasis has been on finding missing children, while missing endangered adults has largely been ignored. With increases in human trafficking, murder and intimate partner violence, it’s time that the national crisis of women disappearing and being subjected to violence is met with the urgency it deserves.”

In June, Gov. Northam signed into law legislation introduced by Del. Jay Jones creating a statewide Ashanti Alert system in Virginia. In September, the House of Representatives unanimously passed its version of the Ashanti Alert Act, which was introduced by outgoing Congressman Scott Taylor. After the House bill—in its original form—was blocked from passing in the Senate, Sen. Warner worked with his colleagues to make modifications to the bill to allow for its eventual passage by unanimous consent in that chamber. This version of the bill has now passed the House and will head to the President’s desk for signature.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced $16,557,883 million in federal grant funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for Head Start programs throughout Virginia.

“We’re pleased to announce funding through the Head Start program to support young children across Virginia,” the Senators said. “The Head Start program is important to ensuring that schools and organizations have the resources they need to support early childhood development.”

The following organizations will receive funding: 

·         Lynchburg Community Action Group Inc. will receive $3,344,772.

·         Eastern Shore AAA/CAA in Exmore will receive $1,932,019.

·         People Incorporated of Virginia in Abingdon will receive $4,449,701.

·         Buchanan County Head Start in Grundy will receive $1,463,253.

·         Clinch Valley Community Action, Inc. in Tazewell will receive $1,665,748.

·         Augusta County School Board in Verona will receive $2,257,832.

·         Lee County School District in Jonesville will receive $1,444,558.

 

As Governors and Senators, Warner and Kaine have advocated for investments in early childhood education. Head Start programs promote school readiness for children under 5 years old from low-income families through health, education, family support, and social services.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced that the Department of Transportation is awarding the Port of Virginia $15,500,197 to increase terminal capacity at the Virginia Inland Port (VIP) in Front Royal. The Port of Virginia built the inland port 30 years ago to extend the reach of Virginia’s ports, help distribute commerce among both highways and railroads, and spur economic development for the entire region. The funding provided through the Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development (BUILD) Grant program, formerly known as the TIGER program, will be used to help optimize the flow of traffic inside the port gate through the addition of three long loading tracks, to lengthen existing loading tracks, to purchase two hybrid straddle carriers, and to construct a new highway bridge grade separation. The improvements will increase the Port’s capacity and its ability to safely handle the largest ships in the Atlantic.

“The Port of Virginia plays a critical role in the economy of the East Coast, and we’re proud to announce these dollars to ensure the entire system, both in Tidewater and in Front Royal, remains strong,” the Senators said. “The Virginia Inland Port moves goods and materials throughout the region, extending the economic benefits of the Port and helping to keep fewer trucks off of crowded roads like I-81. These funds will allow even more cargo to move through the facility, while also making much-needed safety improvements to support the hard working men and women at the Port.”

Warner and Kaine wrote to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao asking the Department to fund these improvements. As a direct result of the VIP facility opening in 1989, nearly 40 manufacturing and distribution centers have located in the region, creating roughly 8,000 direct and indirect jobs.

 

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) secured unanimous Senate passage of the Ashanti Alert Act, legislation that will create a new federal alert system for missing or endangered adults between the ages of 18-64. Currently, the U.S. does not have an alert system for missing adults.

The Ashanti Alert Act is named after Ashanti Billie, the 19-year-old who was abducted in Norfolk, Va. on September 18, 2017. Her body was discovered in North Carolina 11 days after she was first reported missing. At the time of Ashanti’s abduction, she was too old for an Amber Alert and too young for a Silver Alert. The Ashanti Alert, like the other alert systems, would notify the public about missing or endangered adults through radio and television broadcast systems to assist law enforcement in the search.

“Ashanti’s tragic death should not be in vain,” said Sen. Warner. “We must give law enforcement agencies and communities across the country the tools they need to locate missing adults and save more lives.” 

“I’m grateful to the family of Ashanti Billie for sharing her story with me and turning their grief and loss into meaningful action.  I’m proud to work with Senator Warner on this important legislation to create a real time alert system for missing adults, which will provide vital information to first responders and help save lives,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).  “I urge my House colleagues to pass this revised bill before the end of the year.” Sen. Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, teamed up with Sen. Warner on this legislation after hearing from Ashanti’s cousin, Connecticut State Representative Patricia Billie Miller.  

"Virginia led the way this past legislative session by implementing a law focused on enhancing a vital component of public safety - the Amber and Senior Alert systems," said Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran.  "Delegate Jay Jones spearheaded an effort to create an Amber Alert-like system for "critically missing" adults, upon hearing the heartbreaking story of a family whose 19 year old daughter went missing in the Norfolk area. Amber Alerts and Endangered Missing Child Media Alerts are for missing persons under the age 18; and Senior Alerts are issued for persons 60 years of age or older. This leaves a gap for adults between the ages of 18 and 60 years old. The 'Ashanti Alert', named after Ashanti Billie would address an important demographic of the population, and ensure that timely and efficient messaging is delivered to residents across Virginia to aid in search efforts. This law is a step in the right direction to ensuring a safer Commonwealth for all her residents."

“Senator Warner’s Ashanti Alert Act of 2018 will help ensure that law enforcement has the information necessary to swiftly recover missing persons and accurately inform the general public about breaking news of a missing or endangered adult,” said Bill Johnson, Executive Director, National Association of Police Organizations. “NAPO believes that the establishment of a stand-alone Ashanti Alert Network will help prevent horrible tragedies like case of Ashanti Billie.  We support the Ashanti Alert Act and thank Senator Warner for working with us on this important legislation.” 

“The NAACP is proud to support Senator Warner’s legislation, the Ashanti Alert Act,” said Mr. Hilary O. Shelton, the Director of the NAACP Washington Bureau and the Senior Vice President for Policy and Advocacy. “Upon implementation of this law, we will be expanding the Amber Alert system, which has proven to be an effective tool, to include a demographic that is currently missing from its protections, those between the ages of 18 and 65.”

“The Ashanti Alert is long overdue,” said Camille Cooper, Director Government Affairs, The National Association to PROTECT Children. “For decades, emphasis has been on finding missing children, while missing endangered adults has largely been ignored. With increases in human trafficking, murder and intimate partner violence, it’s time that the national crisis of women disappearing and being subjected to violence is met with the urgency it deserves.”

In June, Gov. Northam signed into law legislation introduced by Del. Jay Jones creating a statewide Ashanti Alert system in Virginia. In September, the House of Representatives unanimously passed its version of the Ashanti Alert Act, which was introduced by outgoing Congressman Scott Taylor.

Sen. Warner spoke on the Senate floor yesterday to urge his colleagues to work with him to ensure the Ashanti Alert Act becomes law after the House bill—in its original form—was blocked from passing. Sen. Warner worked with his colleagues to make modifications to the bill to allow for its eventual passage.  Tonight, at Sen. Warner’s request, the bill was discharged from the Senate Judiciary Committee, modified, and then passed by unanimous consent on the Senate floor. Following its passage in the Senate, the bill now heads back to the House.

 

The full text of the amended bill can be found here.

 

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WASHINGTON – Today, bipartisan legislation introduced by Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) to award four African American women scientists the Congressional Gold Medal for their work at NASA Langley passed the U.S. Senate with unanimous support. The bill would give this distinction to Katherine Johnson and Dr. Christine Darden and posthumously award the medals to Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. It serves to commend these women for their contributions to NASA’s success during the Space Race and highlight their broader impact on society – paving the way for women, especially women of color, in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The legislation now heads to the House of Representatives, where a companion bill has been introduced.

“These four remarkable women and their contributions to the success of the Space Race remained unacknowledged for far too long,” said the Senators. “We are thrilled that their achievements while at NASA Langley—particularly during a tough period of racial inequality—continue to be brought to light. This recognition will help carve their rightful place in history and inspire a new generation of diverse women to lead the way in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.”

The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian award in the U.S. It is awarded to those who have performed an achievement that has had an impact on American history and culture that is likely to be recognized in the recipient’s field for years to come.

The Hidden Figures Congressional Gold Medal Act will honor:

  • Katherine Johnson, who calculated trajectories for multiple NASA space missions including the first human spaceflight by an American, Alan Shepard’s Freedom 7 mission. She also calculated trajectories for John Glenn’s Friendship 7 mission to orbit the earth. During her time at NASA, she became the first woman recognized as an author of a report from the Flight Research Division.
  • Dorothy Vaughan, who led the West Area Computing unit for nine years, as the first African American supervisor at National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), which later became NASA. She later became an expert programmer in FORTRAN as a part of NASA’s Analysis and Computation Division.
  • Mary Jackson, who petitioned the City of Hampton to allow her to take graduate-level courses in math and physics at night at the all-white Hampton High School in order to become an engineer at NASA. She was the first female African-American engineer at the agency. Later in her career, she worked to improve the prospects of NASA’s female mathematicians, engineers, and scientists as Langley’s Federal Women’s Program Manager.
  • Dr. Christine Darden, who became an engineer at NASA 16 years after Mary Jackson. She worked to revolutionize aeronautic design, wrote over 50 articles on aeronautics design, and became the first African-American person of any gender to be promoted into the Senior Executive Service at Langley.

The lives and careers of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Christine Darden were featured in the book Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, by Margot Lee Shetterly. That book was adapted into the 2016 film Hidden Figures, which the Senators showed at a Capitol Hill screening for hundreds of Virginia students last year. In addition, Sens. Warner & Kaine honored Johnson, Vaughan, and Jackson by acknowledging their achievements in an official statement that was enshrined in the Congressional Record.

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WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $4,799,911 in federal funds to boost broadband access in Southwest Virginia and on the Eastern Shore. The funding, awarded through the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Community Connect Grant Program, will be used to construct and expand broadband access in rural and underserved communities. 

“Broadband access is vital to the economic success of the Commonwealth and the nation,” the Senators said. “These federal funds will help Virginia connect to the digital age while expanding access to healthcare, educational, and job opportunities.” 

The Scott County Telephone Cooperative will receive $3,000,000 to construct a fiber-to-the home broadband system that will provide internet access to 554 households and 20 businesses in Scott County, Virginia. A community center will also be established where residents will have free access to computers and WiFi. 

Eastern Shore Communications, LLC will receive $1,799,911 to construct a broadband fiber fixed-wireless high-speed network capable of servicing residents of Chincoteague, Wallops Island, Accomac, Exmore, Cape Charles, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, and Norfolk with speeds of at least 25 megabits downstream and 3 megabits upstream. 

Warner and Kaine have been strong supporters of expanding broadband access in Virginia as Governors and Senators. In February, Warner and Kaine joined a bipartisan group of colleagues to urge President Trump to include broadband in an infrastructure initiative.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine applauded Senate passage of the bipartisanAmerica’s Water Infrastructure Act. The final legislation included key projects for Virginia championed by Warner and Kaine, including authorization for a project to deepen and widen channels in and around Norfolk Harbor and to initiate new flood-resilience projects for Tangier Island and the broader Coastal Virginia region.

“From defending Virginia’s coastal communities against sea level rise, to funding key water infrastructure projects that boost our economic competitiveness, this bill is good for Virginia and good for our country,” the Senators said. “Throughout our travels on Virginia’s coast, we’ve heard from leaders concerned about the impacts of sea level rise and recurrent flooding, and this legislation builds on our efforts to respond to the urgent need to protect treasured pillars of Virginia’s economy. We’re pleased that our colleagues supported Virginia provisions we pushed for and we’re proud that we were able to find common ground to address challenges facing our communities.”    

Water infrastructure bills are often known as Water Resources Development Acts (WRDAs). America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, this year’s version of the bill, supports maritime infrastructure priorities such as dredging waterways and channels, protecting communities from flooding, and restoring key ecosystems like the Chesapeake Bay. The legislation will also help repair aging drinking water, wastewater, and irrigation systems. 

Virginia priorities that the Senators pushed for in the legislation include:

  • Norfolk Harbor and Channels Widening and Deepening—A provision that authorizes the deepening and widening of federal navigation channels in and around Norfolk Harbor—including the deepening of the main Norfolk Harbor Channel to 55 feet, the deepest draft currently authorized of any international port on the East Coast. This will allow the largest post-Panamax container ships to call on the Port of Virginia, bolstering its competitiveness with East Coast ports like New York/New Jersey and Savannah, GA. The deeper and wider channels will also support Navy and Coast Guard vessels and other commercial users of the port. This project is occurring in concert with other port infrastructure improvements, including the expansion of Norfolk International Terminals and Virginia International Gateway to provide a 40 percent increase in overall capacity; the modernization of the regional freight rail network; and the generational Craney Island Eastward Expansion that will add a new container terminal at the site of the Port of Virginia’s dredge fill facility. Last year, the Port of Virginia supported more than 4,000 jobs and $860 million in business investment in Virginia.
  • Provisions to allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to generate detailed plans for Tangier Island and Coastal Virginia that reduce risk from sea level rise and recurrent flooding in these areas.

    • The Tangier Island Study Authority will evaluate ecosystem restoration, flood risk management, and navigation options that reduce the island’s critical vulnerability to erosion and flood damage. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates that if immediate action is not taken, Tangier Island could be substantially uninhabitable within the next 50 years due to erosion, widely believed to be caused by sea level rise due to climate change. The island currently shrinks by 15 feet each year. 
    • The Coastal Virginia Water Resources Authority will look at options to reduce storm and flood damage and make coastal infrastructure and communities less vulnerable to flooding and shoreline erosion associated with sea level rise and climate change. This follows a previous study for the City of Norfolk.
  • A provision that grants conditional approval for the Norfolk Coastal Storm Risk Management project pending an evaluation from the Army Corps, known as the “Chief’s Report.” The conditional approval would allow the city to start preconstruction design and engineering of the project ahead of formal authorization needed by Congress at a later date. This project would address roughly $1.5 billion of flood control needs in the City of Norfolk. Norfolk was one of nine focus areas on the East Coast identified in an analysis of regional flood resilience needs following Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The Hampton Roads region faces a range of 1 ½ to as much as 7 feet in sea level rise by the year 2100.

Full text of the legislation can be found HERE.

 

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WASHINGTON— Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) wrote to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to offer assistance in protecting military facilities and personnel in Virginia ahead of Hurricane Florence. Virginia has a significant footprint for each of the branches of our nation’s military and is home to Naval Station Norfolk, the largest naval complex in the world. This week, the station warned its employees about the possibility of flooding and urged them not to leave their vehicles parked at the base during the storm.  

“As sea levels rise, these installations in particular have faced increased frequency and severity of flooding in recent years. Given the critical role that Hampton Roads military installations play in supporting our nation’s security, we ask that you keep us apprised of any assistance you may need to ensure the safety of servicemembers and their families, installations, and infrastructure, and to swiftly address any potential damage resulting from the storm. We look forward to working with you to ensure that the military is able to quickly recover following Hurricane Florence,” wrote the Senators in a letter to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

On September 8, 2018, Gov. Northam declared a state of emergency in Virginia in preparation for Hurricane Florence, which is projected to have a significant impact on the Commonwealth in the coming days. On Monday, Sens. Warner and Kaine led the Virginia congressional delegation in a letter calling on President Trump to support the Governor’s request to issue a federal emergency declaration ahead of the storm.

The full text of the letter can be found here and below:

The Honorable James N. Mattis
Secretary of Defense
U.S. Department of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301

Dear Secretary Mattis,

As Hurricane Florence strengthens in the Atlantic on its projected path toward the East Coast, we write to offer our assistance and support as  the Department of Defense takes the appropriate steps to ensure the safety of its personnel and infrastructure in Virginia. Our state hosts significant footprints for each of the branches of our nation’s military, and is home to the largest naval complex in the world, Naval Station Norfolk.

In preparation for the storm, the Commonwealth of Virginia has declared a state of emergency, and has requested Federal support in dealing with potential emergency response. Additionally, we understand that the Navy has ordered Sortie Condition Alpha, meaning ships from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek and Naval Station Norfolk will be getting underway to avoid the worst of the storm. We are grateful for the steps the Department of Defense has taken so far.

As sea levels rise, these installations in particular have faced increased frequency and severity of flooding in recent years. Given the critical role that Hampton Roads military installations play in supporting our nation’s security, we ask that you keep us apprised of any assistance you may need to ensure the safety of servicemembers and their families, installations, and infrastructure, and to swiftly address any potential damage resulting from the storm.

We look forward to working with you to ensure that the military is able to quickly recover following Hurricane Florence. Thank you again for your preparation on this critical effort.

Sincerely,

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WASHINGTON— U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced that nine Virginia airports will receive a total of $10,669,159 in federal funding from the Department of Transportation (DOT).

“We are pleased to announce these funds that will allow Virginia airports to make the necessary improvements to ensure safer travel to and from the Commonwealth,” the Senators said. “This federal funding will not only help to revitalize our airports, but will also help boost tourism across Virginia.”

Airports and project amounts are listed below:

  • Norfolk International Airport—$5,974,019. These funds will go towards rehabilitating Concourse A and to help construct a 5,000 square foot general aviation customs inspection facility.
  • Tappahannock-Essex Airport—$274,050. These funds will go towards an environmental study to evaluate any potential environmental impacts related to the proposed extension of the parallel taxiway and a non-aeronautical development area identified on the airport's layout plan.
  • New Kent County Airport—$991,901. These funds will help to rehabilitate 24,000 square yards of the existing terminal apron pavement.
  • Washington Dulles International Airport—$492,188. These funds will go towards acquiring 75 Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) squitter units for airport ground vehicles to improve surface situational awareness and safety. ADS–B is a surveillance technology in which an aircraft determines its position via satellite navigation and periodically broadcasts it, enabling it to be tracked.
  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport— $492,188. These funds will go towards acquiring 75 Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) squitter units for airport ground vehicles to improve surface situational awareness and safety. ADS–B is a surveillance technology in which an aircraft determines its position via satellite navigation and periodically broadcasts it, enabling it to be tracked.
  • Louisa County/Freeman Field Airport—$346,500. These funds will help the construction of perimeter fences to deter unauthorized persons and vehicles from entering onto the airfield, thereby increasing airport safety.
  • Ingalls Field Airport (Bath County, VA)$81,000. These funds will help to construct a 360 square foot hangar building to assist the airport in being revenue-generating and in turn self-sustaining. Funds will also go towards construction of a similarly sized snow removal equipment building that will help extend the life of the equipment by protecting it from adverse weather conditions.
  • Luray Caverns Airport—$184,230. These funds will go towards the construction of a 12,500 square yard terminal apron to provide aircraft parking.
  • Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional/Woodrum Field Airport—$1,833,083. These funds will go towards the implementation of additional security enhancements.

The funding was awarded through the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program within DOT. The program supports infrastructure improvement projects at airports across the country, including runways, taxiways, aprons, terminals, aircraft rescue and firefighting vehicles, and snow removal equipment. Sens. Warner and Kaine have long fought for funding for Virginia’s airports and pushed back against the Trump Administration’s suggested budget cuts to DOT to ensure that critical upgrades like these can happen. The Senate is expected to consider a long-term FAA reauthorization measure in the coming weeks.

 

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WASHINGTON— U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced that Hampton Roads Transit will receive a total of $2,290,000 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

“This federal funding ensures that Hampton Roads can invest in newer and more energy-efficient public buses,” the Senators said. “These upgrades will help modernize the public bus fleet and reduce our carbon footprint while improving the reliability of the public transit network for a region that is in critical need of new transportation investments.” 

The funding was awarded through the U.S. DOT Federal Transit Administration’s Low or No Emission Program (Low-No). The federal funding assists state and local governments in purchasing or leasing zero-emission and low-emission transit buses and supporting facilities for recharging, refueling and maintaining their fleet. In the Senate, Sens. Warner and Kaine continue to advocate for funding to improve transportation and mass transit priorities. In 2015, Sens. Warner and Kaine voted in favor of the FAST ACT, a bipartisan House-Senate agreement that funds national transit and highway projects over five years. In August 2018, Sens. Warner and Kaine voted in support of a spending package that provides $26.6 billion in discretionary spending for U.S. DOT for FY2019. The spending bill will now go to conference where it will be reconciled with a version passed by the House of Representatives.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine released the following statement after the U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed G. Zachary Terwilliger to fill the vacancy of U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia: 

“We are pleased that our colleagues agreed Zachary Terwilliger is well-qualified to serve as the next U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia,” the Senators said. “Mr. Terwilliger has ample experience in the Eastern District, and we’re glad he will be able to continue his good work in Virginia.”

Terwilliger previously served in the U.S. Department of Justice as Associate Deputy Attorney General and Chief of Staff in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General. 

Warner and Kaine recommended Terwilliger to the White House for nomination to the position after a panel of attorneys from across the Commonwealth—selected by Warner and Kaine—evaluated candidates and determined Terwilliger was highly qualified for the position. The Eastern District of Virginia has offices in Alexandria, Richmond, Newport News, and Norfolk.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine praised Marine Hydraulics International, Inc. in Norfolk for receiving $505,617 in federal funding to purchase rolling stock, forklifts, quay wall, and support operations.

“We are pleased that with this federal funding Marine Hydraulics will be able to purchase new equipment that can support their day-to-day operations and help the world’s largest naval station right here in Norfolk maintain the world-class fleet that keeps our country safe,” the Senators said.

The funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD)’s Small Shipyard Grant Program. This grant program helps support shipyards as they modernize operations, invest in emerging technologies, and improve efficiency. In a letter to the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Warner and Kaine called for strong funding to support the Small Shipyard Grant Program.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) issued the following statement on the passing of former Mayor Bill Ward, the longest serving mayor of the City of Chesapeake:

“I am saddened to hear that my friend Bill Ward has passed away. Bill had the distinction of being the longest-serving mayor in Chesapeake history, helping it become the city that it is today. As the city’s first – and so far only – African-American mayor, his election also helped open the door to the promise of more diverse representation in the region.

“Bill remained deeply involved in his community after leaving elected office, teaching at Norfolk State University for 27 years and working with local organizations to help protect the history of this city and provide mentorship and support to local high school students. His service to our community was a clear testament to his commitment to Chesapeake and the region. 

“My deepest sympathies go out to his wife of nearly 60 years, Rose, and the rest of his family, friends, and colleagues. His strong sense of duty and service will be dearly missed.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced a $2.5 million dollar loan for Eastern Shore Rural Health System, Inc. to open a new health care facility in Eastville, Virginia offering affordable medical and dental care. The new center will replace the aging Bayview and Franktown Community Health Center with a facility that offers expanded operating hours, more lab services, increased access to dental care, and opportunity to incorporate telemedicine in their practice. 

“We are pleased to support efforts to launch a new health care facility on the Eastern Shore to help meet the shortage of medical and dental care in the area and encourage more health care providers to expand coverage to the region,” the Senators said.

The funding is awarded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Office of Rural Development. Additional funding for the health care facility comes from Eastern Shore Rural Health System Inc., as well as private corporations and foundations.

 

###

WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) released a statement after Congress approved the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA):

 “I’m glad that the Senate was able to work in a bipartisan way to improve national security, support our service members, and strengthen defense readiness.  

“Since the Administration has failed to listen to warnings from their own top intelligence officials about the dangers posed by Chinese telecom company ZTE, this legislation includes a bipartisan amendment – which I co-sponsored – to automatically reinstate trade restrictions on ZTE once this bill is signed into law. Importantly, this legislation would also ensure that neither ZTE nor Huawei will be eligible for government contracts in the future. To further prioritize our national security, I also supported the inclusion of a bipartisan CFIUS bill similar to what we passed in the Banking Committee to ensure that foreign investments in the U.S. do not pose a national security risk. I strongly encourage the Administration to consider the strong bipartisan support for these measures in the Senate before taking any hasty actions. Additionally, this bill urges the Secretaries of State and Defense to dedicate all necessary resources to complete its strategy to counter and deter future cyber aggression by Russia.”  

“This bill also funds several critical priorities important to Virginia’s shipbuilding footprint, including the procurement of two Virginia-class submarines. In addition, this bill pushes further action to make long-overdue investments in our nation’s public shipyards, authorizes more than $260 million towards 14 military construction projects across the Commonwealth, and includes a 2.6 percent raise for members of the armed forces. The NDAA also includes important reforms to modernize our antiquated security clearance system and to reduce the 700,000 person background investigation backlog. Although this bill is far from perfect, I commend my colleagues for passing this critical defense package,” said Sen. Warner.  

Included in the NDAA are three provisions championed by Sen. Warner to address the security clearance backlog:

  • A provision requiring the Director of National Intelligence to improve information sharing regarding government and contract employees;
  • A provision requiring the Director of National Intelligence to provide a report on a clearance-in-person concept to accommodate a more modern mobile workforce;
  • And a provision creating a “rocket” clearance for mission-critical positions that can be processed in 15 days for SECRET and 45 days for TOP SECRET.

In addition, the bill includes a bipartisan amendment sponsored by Sen. Warner and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) that would improve access to cybersecurity scholarships for students at minority-serving institutions. With mounting demand across every industry for trained cyber workers, it’s particularly important that we invest now in developing a diverse cyber workforce. 

Added Sen. Warner, “In order to address the nation’s increased cyber threats from foreign adversaries, this amendment will ensure the nation that the U.S. builds a strong and diverse pipeline of future talent to lead the nation’s strategy in the field of cybersecurity.” 

“Norfolk State University is pleased to support this bipartisan proposal to recruit a more diverse pool of students to pursue cyber education,” said Dr. Melvin T. Stith, Interim President of Norfolk State University. “Strong cyber training and knowledge is essential for preparing students to compete and thrive in a 21st century economy. This effort by Senator Warner is a welcome boost to Norfolk State University's ongoing efforts to produce a talented and representative cyber workforce.” 

The amendment is similar to provision offered by Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA) that was included in the House-passed version of the NDAA. The text of the amendment can be found here.

 

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WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $43,246,753 in federal funding to support affordable housing development across Virginia. The funding, which will go to 26 municipalities across the Commonwealth, has been awarded through the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Public Housing Capital Fund.

“Families all across the Commonwealth should have access to safe and affordable housing,” the Senators said. “We are pleased that these federal dollars will help support the health and safety of Virginia communities.”

President Trump’s FY 2019 budget eliminates funding for the Public Housing Capital Fund. The Capital Fund provides critical federal dollars to Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) in Virginia for the development, financing, and modernization of public housing developments and for managementimprovements. In March, Sens. Warner and Kaine voted in favor of the omnibus bill that provides more than $2.75 billion in funding to the Capital Fund program.

 

The selected Virginia housing authorities and funding amounts are listed below:

 

Virginia Housing Authority Recipient

City

Amount

Portsmouth Redev. & Housing Authority

PORTSMOUTH

$2,184,978.00

Bristol Redevelopment & Housing Authority

BRISTOL

$803,731.00

Newport News Redev. & Housing Authority

NEWPORT NEWS

$4,021,967.00

Alexandria Redev. & Housing Authority

ALEXANDRIA

$1,957,491.00

Hopewell Redevelopment & Housing Authority

HOPEWELL

$800,481.00

Norfolk Redevelopment & Housing Authority

NORFOLK

$8,576,413.00

Richmond Redev. & Housing Authority

RICHMOND

$10,911,250.00

Danville Redevelopment & Housing Authority

DANVILLE

$1,056,943.00

Roanoke Redevelopment & Housing Authority

ROANOKE

$3,265,133.00

Chesapeake Redev. & Housing Authority

CHESAPEAKE

$1,037,894.00

Lynchburg Redev. & Housing Authority

LYNCHBURG

$820,492.00

Norton Redevelopment & Housing Authority

NORTON

$460,027.00

Charlottesville Redev. & Housing Authority

CHARLOTTESVILLE

$832,974.00

Hampton Redevelopment & Housing Authority

HAMPTON

$1,306,266.00

Franklin Redev. & Housing Authority

FRANKLIN

$147,828.00

Petersburg Redev. & Housing Authority

PETERSBURG

$1,025,085.00

Wytheville Redev. & Housing Authority

WYTHEVILLE

$462,256.00

Waynesboro Redev. & Housing Authority

WAYNESBORO

$390,498.00

Wise County Redev. & Housing Authority

COEBURN

$409,332.00

Suffolk Redev. & Housing Authority

SUFFOLK

$1,024,358.00

Williamsburg Redev. & Housing Authority

WILLIAMSBURG

$258,697.00

Cumberland Plateau Reg. Housing Authority

LEBANANON

$548,009.00

Marion Redevelopment & Housing Authority

MARION

$536,689.00

Scott County Redev. & Housing Authority

DUFFIELD

$210,200.00

Abingdon Redev. & Housing Authority

ABINGDON

$63,093.00

Lee County Redev. & Housing Authority

JONESVILLE

$134,668.00

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced $9,442,626 million in federal grant funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for Head Start programs throughout Virginia.

“We are thrilled to announce funding through Head Start to ensure young children in Virginia have the resources they need,” the Senators said. “We strongly believe in efforts to support early childhood development that can promote  kids’ readiness for school and beyond.”

The following localities and organizations will receive funding:

  • Child Development Resources Inc. in Williamsburg will receive $1,558,265.
  • Fauquier Community Action Committee Inc. in Warrenton will receive $1,152,617.
  • Northern Virginia Family Service in Oakton will receive $5,324,853.
  • Prince William County Public Schools will receive $1,406,891.

As Governors and Senators, Warner and Kaine have advocated for investments in early childhood education. Head Start programs promote school readiness for children under 5 years old from low-income families through health, education, and social services.

 

###

WARNER & KAINE ANNOUNCE $94.8 MILLION IN GRANTS FOR HOUSING & INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS ACROSS VIRGINIA

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced $94,819,202 in federal funding to help Virginia communities with housing and infrastructure projects. The funding, which will go to more than 30 locations across Virginia, will be awarded through the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG), Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA), HOME, and Housing Trust Fund (HTF) programs. 

“We are pleased to announce funding that will help provide many Virginia families with the safe and affordable housing they need,” the Senators said. “These grants will help strengthen the well-being of communities throughout our Commonwealth.” 

President Trump’s FY 2019 budget proposes eliminating the Community Development Block Grant, HOME, and Housing Trust Fund programs. The budget also proposes cutting ESG by 5.6% and cutting HOPWA by 12%. Warner and Kaine have opposed President Trump’s budget cuts to Virginia priorities and will continue fighting for this important HUD funding in Congress. 

The $94,819,202 in funding will be awarded through HUD grants as follows:

 

Recipient

CDBG18

HOME18

ESG18

HOPWA18

HTF18

Total

Alexandria

$941,853

$536,873

$0

$0

$0

$1,478,726

Blacksburg

$482,932

$672,718

$0

$0

$0

$1,155,650

Bristol

$254,487

$0

$0

$0

$0

$254,487

Charlottesville

$408,417

$624,013

$0

$0

$0

$1,032,430

Chesapeake

$1,182,627

$550,827

$0

$0

$0

$1,733,454

Christiansburg

$111,703

$0

$0

$0

$0

$111,703

Colonial Heights

$94,495

$0

$0

$0

$0

$94,495

Danville

$865,416

$270,868

$0

$0

$0

$1,136,284

Fredericksburg

$186,790

$0

$0

$0

$0

$186,790

Hampton

$1,156,814

$557,513

$0

$0

$0

$1,714,327

Harrisonburg

$559,588

$0

$0

$0

$0

$559,588

Hopewell

$177,848

$0

$0

$0

$0

$177,848

Lynchburg

$733,913

$438,772

$0

$0

$0

$1,172,685

Newport News

$1,257,434

$786,711

$0

$0

$0

$2,044,145

Norfolk

$4,323,842

$1,278,608

$351,181

$0

$0

$5,953,631

Petersburg

$624,601

$0

$0

$0

$0

$624,601

Portsmouth

$1,557,075

$452,783

$0

$0

$0

$2,009,858

Radford

$165,992

$0

$0

$0

$0

$165,992

Richmond

$4,442,476

$1,500,301

$366,794

$1,050,009

$0

$7,359,580

Roanoke

$1,732,287

$606,064

$139,611

$0

$0

$2,477,962

Suffolk

$466,234

$377,689

$0

$0

$0

$843,923

Virginia Beach

$2,000,832

$1,122,655

$164,230

$1,524,127

$0

$4,811,844

Waynesboro 

$193,586

$0

$0

$0

$0

$193,586

Winchester

$231,081

$615,483

$0

$0

$0

$846,564

Arlington County

$1,363,320

$762,215

$0

$0

$0

$2,125,535

Chesterfield County

$1,390,089

$558,425

$0

$0

$0

$1,948,514

Fairfax County

$5,574,509

$2,103,044

$447,834

$0

$0

$8,125,387

Henrico County

$1,692,829

$897,341

$138,560

$0

$0

$2,728,730

Loudoun County

$1,334,299

$0

$0

$0

$0

$1,334,299

Prince William County

$2,504,696

$919,946

$201,653

$0

$0

$3,626,295

Funds for Virginia to administer to lower population areas

$18,289,253

$10,094,628

$2,771,457

$962,389

$4,672,562

$36,790,289

Total

$56,301,318

$25,727,477

$4,581,320

$3,536,525

$4,672,562

$94,819,202

 

 

Additional details on each program from HUD:

 

The Community Development Block (CDBG) Grants program provides annual grants to states and local units of government to develop viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment, and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for low- and moderate-income persons.

 

The HOME program helps to expand the supply of decent, affordable housing to low- and very low-income families by providing grants to states and local governments to fund housing programs that meet local needs and priorities.

 

The Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) program provides funding to engage homeless individuals and families living on the street; improve the number, quality, and operations of emergency shelters for homeless individuals and families; provide essential services to shelter residents, rapidly re-house homeless individuals, and families, and prevent families and individuals from becoming homeless. 

 

The Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program provides housing assistance and related supportive services to local units of government, states and non-profit organizations for projects that benefit low-income persons medically diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and their families.

 

The Housing Trust Fund (HTF) is a new affordable housing production program that will complement existing Federal, State and local efforts to increase and preserve the supply of decent, safe, and sanitary affordable housing for extremely low- and very low-income households, including homeless families.

 

###

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced $61 million in funding for the construction of two 120-bed veterans homes in Virginia, $30 million for a state veterans home in Virginia Beach and $31 million for a state veterans home in Vint Hill. This funding, which is part of a $685 million package for state veterans homes across the country, can be used for repairs, renovation, or new construction. Warner and Kaine helped to secure these dollars as part of the government funding bill that passed last month.  

“Virginia’s veterans have made tremendous sacrifices to fight for our nation. Now, we need to fight for them and help ensure they have the resources they need to lead successful lives after they complete their service,” the Senators said. “We are proud to have helped secure funding to improve veterans’ long-term care needs in Virginia, and we will continue to do all we can in the Senate to support veterans.” 

Warner and Kaine both have long records of advocating for the nation’s veterans through the appropriations process and legislation they have championed to improve veterans’ job training and access to health care. 

 

###

 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen has led a bipartisan letter with his colleagues to the Senate Agriculture Committee urging the inclusion of his legislation, the Chesapeake Bay Farm Bill Enhancements Act, in this year’s Farm Bill. This bill would dramatically increase the amount of funds available to Bay-area farmers to aid in conservation and anti-pollution efforts.

The Senators write, “As the Senate Agriculture Committee considers the upcoming Farm Bill, we urge you to consider inclusion of the Chesapeake Bay Farm Bill Enhancements Act. The bill makes a number of changes to the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) through additional funding, enhancing critical conservation areas, and boosting technological assistance.”

They note that “the bill has broad, bipartisan support from the Governors of Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and the Mayor of Washington, D.C.” in addition to “over 70 different organizations such as the Chesapeake Bay Commission, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and the Choose Clean Water Coalition.”

The Senators close the letter stating, “We look forward to continuing to work with you to ensure that our regional Bay economy continues to thrive and that all Americans can enjoy this treasure for generations to come.”

Senator Van Hollen was joined in sending the letter by Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Bob Casey (D-Pa.).

Senator Van Hollen introduced the bipartisan Chesapeake Bay Farm Bill Enhancements Act of 2017 in November 2017. This legislation increases mandatory funding available to the Bay, strengthens the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCCP), and provides more opportunities for effective conservation efforts. It builds on the historic funding that Senator Van Hollen obtained in the 2008 Farm Bill to help farmers and protect the Bay.

 

The text of the letter can be found here and below. 

 

Dear Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow:

As the Senate Agriculture Committee considers the upcoming Farm Bill, we urge you to consider inclusion of the Chesapeake Bay Farm Bill Enhancements Act.

The bill makes a number of changes to the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) through additional funding, enhancing critical conservation areas, and boosting technical assistance. These provisions are necessary to ensure that CCA partnerships are consistent with national, regional and state priorities and generate outcomes that address critical resource concerns, such as the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. They will also address issues experienced by stakeholders in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

The bill has broad, bipartisan support from the Governors of Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and the Mayor of Washington D.C.  Furthermore, over 70 different organizations such as the Chesapeake Bay Commission, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and the Choose Clean Water Coalition support the bill.  Identical legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives.

Thank you for your attention to and consideration of this important request. We look forward to continuing to work with you to ensure that our regional Bay economy continues to thrive and that all Americans can enjoy this treasure for generations to come.

Sincerely,

###

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine sent a letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis sharing Virginia’s concern over the risks of offshore drilling on military assets in Hampton Roads. In the letter, Warner and Kaine raise concerns about how drilling would affect military activities in Hampton Roads, given the region’s deep national security footprint. They also ask if the Department has conducted a comprehensive study assessing the specific challenges the proposed five-year drilling plan may create for military activities in the region. They highlight that Hampton Roads is home to the largest naval installation in the world, Naval Station Norfolk, and has more than a dozen other DOD installations across all service branches.

“We are concerned that allowing offshore drilling in this area would create new challenges for the region’s DOD installations and the activities taking places on and around these waters. In late 2015, we were briefed by DOD on a new map that showed three types of areas impacted: 1) areas that definitively would conflict with military activities, 2) areas that could accommodate drilling with certain stipulations, and 3) areas that are all clear. According to that brief, the Virginia OCS has more acres that meet the first two categories than the third,” the Senators wrote.

Kaine and Warner have also raised concerns about the threat of offshore drilling on the environment and tourism and have called on President Trump to listen to local voices in Virginia and exempt the Commonwealth from this proposal, as the Administration has done in Florida. Kaine has traveled to Virginia Beach and the Eastern Shore to meet with local elected officials and military personnel, as well as industry and community leaders, to talk about their concerns over the Administration’s proposal to expand offshore drilling.

 

A copy of the letter is available here and below:

April 19, 2018

 

The Honorable James Mattis

Secretary of Defense

1300 Defense Pentagon

Washington, D.C. 20301-1300

 

Dear Secretary Mattis:

 

We write to share our concerns regarding the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s Draft Proposed Program to authorize drilling leases on the mid-Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf offshore of Virginia.

Though we have shared our concerns with BOEM and the Interior Department, we would also like to share with you some particular concerns related to the Department of Defense. In particular, we would like to inquire whether you have conducted a comprehensive study assessing the specific challenges the new 5-year plan may create for military activities in the Hampton Roads region and the Virginia offshore.

As you know, the Virginia coastal region of Hampton Roads has a deep national security footprint. It is home to the largest naval installation in the world at Naval Station Norfolk and more than a dozen other DOD installations across all service branches. Along with tourism and international port commerce, national security is a longstanding pillar of the regional economy.

We are concerned that allowing offshore drilling in this area would create new challenges for the region’s DOD installations and the activities taking places on and around these waters. In late 2015, we were briefed by DOD on a new map that showed three types of areas impacted: 1) areas that definitively would conflict with military activities, 2) areas that could accommodate drilling with certain stipulations, and 3) areas that are all clear. According to that brief, the Virginia OCS has more acres that meet the first two categories than the third.

To further illustrate this point, we are enclosing a presentation from the former commanding officer of Naval Station Norfolk summarizing the complexities that offshore drilling rigs would create for military activities on the Virginia OCS. We would also note that Florida, a state with similar geography and a similar DOD footprint, was previously removed from the drilling lease schedule.

 

We have concern that drilling in the region would overall create unnecessary risks. We hope DOD will carefully scrutinize what allowing Virginia OCS drilling would mean for regional military assets.

Thank you for your consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Mark R. Warner                                                                                Tim Kaine

U.S. Senator                                                                                       U.S. Senator

 

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WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) expressed increased concern over how President Trump’s trade war would hurt Virginia’s soybean production, which is the Commonwealth’s number one cash crop. China’s Ministry of Commerce has recently announced they will begin proactively taxing Chinese companies that import some American agricultural products at 178.6% to discourage imports. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has confirmed that China is the Commonwealth’s biggest export market for agricultural goods and suggestedPresident Trump’s tariffs could hurt Virginia businesses and employees. Soybean production in Virginia accounts for roughly $187 million in economic output, which helps supports thousands of jobs in the Commonwealth. Amid escalating rhetoric by the Trump Administration, China announced that it is considering raising tariffs on soybeans, beef, and other critical agriculture commodities produced in Virginia.  

“Virginia’s soybean producers should not be held hostage to the uncertainty of President Trump’s trade games,” said Sen. Warner. “While China should be held accountable for its unfair trade practices, this should not be done at the expense of the hardworking soybean farmers in this country. President Trump needs to work with us to find the best way to resolve these disputes and avoid threatening an industry that creates thousands of new jobs and brings millions of dollars to rural communities in Virginia.”

“Clearly China is not taking President Trump’s threats lightly and we’re going to start feeling the pain of his rash actions. Our farmers deserve better than this,” said Sen. Kaine. “President Trump says he wants to create jobs and stimulate the economy yet his actions will have the opposite effect. His inflammatory, bullying tactics are going to hurt Virginians.”

“Exports are a vital source of income for Virginia’s farmers and here in the Commonwealth we have worked hard to open new markets around the world for our agriculture and forestry exporters. However, these efforts are jeopardized by threats of tariffs and trade wars at the national level,” said Bettina Ring, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry. “I hope that our trade negotiators will keep our hardworking farmers and agribusinesses front of mind when working with their Chinese counterparts to solve this trade dispute.”

“The Virginia Soybean Association is concerned with the potential of trade wars within the global marketplace, including China. International trade is vital for the economic viability of the soybean industry,” said Nick Moody, President of the Virginia Soybean Association. “Uncertainty in trade agreements directly affect the stability of markets and price, which is a major concern for producers in a business that is already largely dependent on weather. Our hope is for the administration to work with leaders in international markets to create solid solutions to these trade disputes, which will not continue to disrupt soybean markets.”

According to VDACS, agriculture is Virginia’s largest private industry, with an economic impact of $70 billion annually that provides more than 334,000 jobs.The agriculture and forestry industries combined have a total economic impact of over $91 billion and provide more than 442,000 jobs in the Commonwealth. Every job in agriculture and forestry supports 1.7 jobs elsewhere in Virginia’s economy. Production agriculture alone employs 54,000 Virginians and accounts for more than $3.8 billion in economic output. Almost 10 percent of Virginia’s gross domestic product (GDP) is directly tied to agriculture and forestry.

Sens. Warner and Kaine previously raised concerns about how President Trump’s trade war with China could hurt Virginia businesses and employees, listing the set of products grown and made in Virginia that have been targeted by the Chinese for duties. They also wrote to the Administration last week warning that withdrawing from the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)—another significant source of agricultural exports for Virginia—would negatively impact Virginia’s agricultural industry.

 

Below is a detailed list of soybean producing areas in Virginia as of 2017. A comprehensive list can be found here

 

COUNTY

PRODUCTION (Bushels)

NORTHERN VA/VALLEY

 

Culpeper

524,000

Fauquier

642,000

Frederick

68,500

Loudoun

301,000

Madison

384,000

Page

25,400

Rockingham

405,000

Shenandoah

259,000

Other NOVA counties

314,100

 

 

CENTRAL VIRGINIA

 

Amelia

429,000

Bedford

20,300

Campbell

162,000

Caroline

1,056,000

Chesterfield

66,000

Cumberland

134,000

Goochland

183,000

Louisa

224,000

Orange

380,000

Prince Edward

48,400

Spotsylvania

180,000

Other Central Counties

1,413,300

 

 

EASTERN SHORE

 

Accomack

1,577,000

Charles City

434,000

Essex

971,000

Gloucester

284,000

King and Queen

718,000

King George

222,000

King William

740,000

Northampton

937,000

Northumberland

767,000

Richmond

779,000

Westmoreland

895,000

Other Eastern Counties

1,041,000

 

 

SOUTHSIDE

 

Charlotte

240,000

Halifax

299,000

Lunenburg

148,000

Nottoway

128,000

Pittsylvania

193,000

Other Southside Counties

253,000

 

 

HAMPTON ROADS

 

Brunswick

364,000

Dinwiddie

553,000

Greensville

353,000

Isle of Wight

728,000

Prince George

437,000

Southampton

992,000

Surry

592,000

Chesapeake

887,000

Suffolk City

898,000

Virginia Beach

454,000

Other HRVA Counties

1,459,000

 

 

TOTAL

25,960,000

###

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced $1,000,000 in federal funding from the National Science Foundation to support high-achieving students with demonstrated financial need as they pursue the cybersecurity program at Old Dominion University (ODU).

“Ensuring students have the support they need to pursue careers in cybersecurity is critical to building our federal workforce and defending the nation’s economic and national security,” the Senators said. “We are thrilled that ODU and the National Science Foundation are partnering to help make that a reality for more students.”  

The funding will provide up to 18 scholarships for students in the cybersecurity program as well as additional mentoring and program activities.

As Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Warner has been a strong voice for protecting the integrity of our election systems, introducing bipartisan legislation to bring accountability to online political ads and secure our elections. He is also the author of bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would provide states and local government funding to counter cyberattacks. As cofounder of the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus, Warner has been a leader in calling for the protection of consumers’ personal information and timely disclosure of data breaches, authoring legislation to hold credit reporting agencies accountable for such breaches.

Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, also co-chairs the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus and has become a leader in the Senate on policies to prepare students for careers in cybersecurity.  Last year, key provisions of Kaine’s DoD Cyber Scholarship Program Act of 2017, which would improve and expand an existing DoD scholarship program for students pursuing degrees in cybersecurity fields, were included in the committee-passed Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act. The DoD Cyber Scholarship Act creates a jobs pipeline from Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) to the Department of Defense.


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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine, Ranking Member on the Senate Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, and a member of the Seapower Subcommittee, and Mark Warner released the following statements after the Navy released a request for proposal (RFP) to Huntington Ingalls Industries in Newport News to inform a potential block buy of two Ford-class aircraft carriers:

“After years of advocating for the Navy to block-buy carriers, I welcome today's news that they are moving closer to making it a reality,”Kaine said. “Paired with our efforts to secure a two-year budget deal, we are finally making smart moves to provide much-needed long-term stability to the entire region, save taxpayer dollars, and strengthen our national defense. The Navy's announcement today is also a result of the tireless work by the men and women of Newport News Shipbuilding who produce the best ships in the world.” 

“I am pleased with the Navy’s decision to finally move forward in considering a block buy of two aircraft carriers, something I have been encouraging for some time,” Warner said. “This step would increase predictability and stability for our suppliers, including the men and women of the Newport News shipbuilding, as well as generate significant costs savings for U.S. taxpayers.  It is critical that the Navy have access to the next-generation of warships for the world’s challenges while also being responsible in how they procure and budget.”

As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Kaine has advocated for the block-buy of carriers to save costs and help the nation meet its military readiness goals. In December, Kaine led a letter with U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS), Warner, and 14 of their colleagues encouraging Secretary of Defense James Mattis to support the block-buy of two Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers in FY2019. 

 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced today that Virginia localities and organizations in Alexandria, Danville, Chesapeake and Harrisonburg will receive $2,301,433 in federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The grants will help these entities hire or retain service coordinators to assist public housing residents in finding jobs and educational opportunities, and achieving economic and housing independence.

“These funds will strengthen Virginia communities and improve quality of life for public housing residents,” said the Senators. “This investment will help residents obtain higher paying jobs so they can be self-sufficient and regain financial independence.”

The funding, provided through HUD’s Resident Opportunities and Self Sufficiency – Service Coordinators Program (ROSS-SC) helps grantees hire or retain "service coordinators" who work directly with residents to assess their needs and connect them with education, job training and placement programs, and/or computer and financial literacy services available in their community to promote self-sufficiency. 

A list of grant recipients and amounts is included below:

  • Can I Live, Inc. (Alexandria) - $940,033
  • Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority - $246,000
  • Cardinal Village Tenant Association, Inc. (Danville) - $231,000
  • Pleasant View Tenant Association, Inc. (Danville) - $231,000
  • Danville Redevelopment and Housing Authority - $231,000
  • Chesapeake Redevelopment & Housing Authority - $246,000
  • Harrisonburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority - $176,400

The purpose of HUD’s ROSS-SC program is to encourage innovative and locally driven strategies that link public housing assistance with public and private resources to enable HUD-assisted families to increase earned income; reduce or eliminate their need for welfare assistance; and promote economic independence and housing self-sufficiency. These grants provide funding to hire and retain Service Coordinators who will assess the needs of residents of conventional Public Housing or Indian housing and coordinate available resources in the community to meet those needs. In addition, ROSS-SC grants help improve living conditions for seniors, enabling them to age-in-place.

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