Press Releases

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced that the University of Lynchburg will receive $1,446,533 in federal funding from the National Science Foundation to increase the effectiveness of future STEM teachers in teaching students with learning or developmental disabilities at schools in Lynchburg City, Amherst County, Bedford County, and Campbell County.

“With national and local STEM teacher shortages, this funding could not come at a better time for our Commonwealth,” said the Senators. “We are thrilled that this project will help equip future STEM teachers with the training they need to teach students with disabilities, while also working to make sure that educators better reflect the diverse communities they serve.” 

The NSF grant will go towards funding a project led by the University of Lynchburg, in partnership with Central Virginia Community College, the nonprofit Beacon of Hope, and the Lynchburg City, Amherst County, Bedford County, and Campbell County school districts. The project will seek to recruit 22 undergraduate students majoring in STEM fields, such as biology, chemistry, physics, environmental science, or mathematics, and working to obtain their teacher certification. It will utilize experiential teaching opportunities to train these future STEM educators, who must be versed in specific educational techniques in order to properly serve students with learning or developmental disabilities. Additionally, the project will also focus on increasing teacher diversity and develop pathways for students at community colleges to transfer to the University of Lynchburg, where they can obtain their secondary teacher certification while pursuing a STEM degree. 

 

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) met with Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent J.D. Lee at Warner’s office in Washington, D.C.

In the meeting, Sen. Warner emphasized the need to pass the Restore Our Parks Act – bipartisan legislation to address the maintenance backlog at national parks across the country. New numbers from the National Park Service (NPS) show that the national backlog of deferred maintenance needs grew by more than $313 million last year – with a $100 million increase in Virginia alone. Deferred maintenance on the Blue Ridge Parkway increased by more than $46 million in 2018, bringing the total for the parkway to $508,077,342, including $212,702,891 in Virginia alone. The total overall cost of backlogged maintenance projects at NPS sites nationwide now reaches $11.9 billion. 

“The Blue Ridge Parkway has some of the most significant and pressing maintenance needs of any park property in Virginia,” said Sen. Warner. “Kicking the can down the road on needed repairs will lead to further deterioration of the Parkway and harm the many small towns and communities whose economies depend on it. Congress needs to finally make the proper investments in our national parks by passing the Restore Our Parks Act.”

According to the National Park Service, the Blue Ridge Parkway ranks #1 in visitor spending among Park Service properties. Parkway visitor spending supports 15,300 jobs and more than $1.3 Billion in economic output. Last year, 14.6 million Americans visited the Blue Ridge Parkway and the surrounding communities.

The Restore Our Parks Act has widespread support among legislators and conservation groups. It would reduce the maintenance backlog by establishing the “National Park Service Legacy Restoration Fund” and allocating existing revenues from onshore and offshore energy development. This funding would come from 50 percent of all revenues that are not otherwise allocated and deposited into the General Treasury, not exceeding $1.3 billion each year for the next five years. 

The latest data on Virginia’s national park deferred maintenance backlog as of 2018 is available here.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced $524,670 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for Centra Health, a regional nonprofit healthcare system based in Lynchburg. This funding will allow Centra Health to expand medication assisted treatment (MAT)  for patients struggling with addiction. 

“Substance abuse has had a devastating effect on our communities,” the Senators said.  “We hope this funding can help Centra Health offer life-saving treatment to patients struggling with addiction throughout central and southern Virginia.”

This funding was awarded through HHS’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT). CSAT’s mission is to promote community-based substance abuse treatment and recovery services for individuals and families in every community. CSAT provides national leadership to improve access, reduce barriers, and promote high-quality, effective treatment and recovery services.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced $1,914,251 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for the Free Clinic of the New River Valley in Christiansburg. This funding will allow the clinic to provide quality health care and dental services to individuals who cannot afford care or lack insurance.

“We’re pleased to announce federal funding to ensure the Free Clinic of the New River Valley can continue to offer valuable care to the community,” the Senators said. “The clinic helps ensure that uninsured and low-income patients can access the medical, dental, and preventative health services they need.”

This funding was awarded through HHS’s Health Resources & Services Administration Health Center Cluster Program. More than 27 million people in the U.S. rely on HRSA-funded health centers for affordable primary health care.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine celebrated that the bill to rename a Charlottesville post office as the “Captain Humayun Khan Post Office” was signed into law today. U .S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, a graduate of the University of Virginia, was born on September 9, 1976, and died on June 8, 2004, while in service to his country during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was killed by an improvised explosive device outside of his base in Baqubah, Iraq. His efforts that morning saved the lives of more than one hundred soldiers. 

“Captain Khan is revered not only in Charlottesville, but across the nation,” the Senators said. “With the dedication of this post office, we’re showing the Khan family that we’re forever grateful for his service and sacrifice for our country.”

The United States Postal Service (USPS) facility is located at 180 McCormick Road in Charlottesville, Virginia. The bill, introduced by Congressman Tom Garrett, cleared the House unanimously on November 29th and passed the Senate on December 12th. In early December, Warner and Kaine wrote to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, the Senate Committee that oversees USPS, voicing their support for renaming the post office.

 

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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 Warner and Tim Kaine announced $239,490.47 in federal funding to support organizations in Charlottesville and Roanoke in their efforts to alleviate substandard housing problems for low-income households. The funding was awarded through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of Rural Development’s Housing Preservation Grant Program.

“We’re pleased to announce funding to support repair and rehabilitation efforts for 75 households in Charlottesville, Roanoke, and Southwest Virginia. This funding will help make needed housing updates for low-income individuals and families,” the Senators said.

The following organizations will receive funding as follows:

  • The Thomas Jefferson Planning District in Charlottesville will receive $119,745.24 to alleviate substandard housing problems in the area. The funding will supplement and enhance planned rehabilitation efforts to assist 35 households.
  • Renovation Alliance in Roanoke will receive $119,745.23 to alleviate substandard housing problems for 40 very-low income households in the Counties of Roanoke, Botetourt, Craig, Floyd, and Franklin in Southwest Virginia.

 The USDA’s Housing Preservation Grant Program provides grants to organizations supporting the repair and rehabilitation of housing owned or occupied by low- and very-low income rural households.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced $366,788 in federal funding for Lynchburg, Amissville, and Fairfax Fire Departments through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The funding will be awarded through FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program.

“We’re proud to support funding to help local fire departments purchase equipment and support staff training, ensuring they are prepared to serve their communities,” the Senators said.

The following Virginia fire departments will receive funding under the AFG program: 

  • Lynchburg Fire and EMS will receive $217,905 to purchase personal safety and rescue bailout equipment including ropes, harnesses, carabiners, and pulleys.
  • Amissville Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company will receive $17,143 to purchase rapid intervention equipment.
  • The City of Fairfax Fire Department will receive $131,740 to support training.

The primary goal of FEMA’s AFG program is to enhance the safety of the public and firefighters by providing direct financial assistance to eligible fire departments, nonaffiliated Emergency Medical Services organizations and State Fire Training Academies for critically-needed resources.

 

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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, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced $150,000 in federal funding to help transform the 8,667 square foot space in the old Prices Fork Elementary School in Montgomery County into a local food enterprise center. The transformed space will include a commercial incubator kitchen, farm-to-table restaurant, a local craft brewery, a retail consignment market, and business incubation and support services.

“This revitalization is the result of a real partnership between local businesses and the community to invest in Prices Fork. We’re proud to support the project with federal funding that will help contribute to the food center’s success,” the Senators said.

This grant was awarded through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business Development Grants Program.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine praised the Town of Appomattox receiving $3,501,000 in federal funding to support improvements to the existing sewage treatment and collection system to avoid health hazards. The funding will replace and repair collection lines, rehabilitate manholes, construct a new wet well and new wastewater pump station, level sensors, and improve gas monitoring.

“We are pleased that Appomattox will receive funding to support the renewal of aging infrastructure. This funding will help alleviate sanitary hazards so we can protect the health of the community,” the Senators said.

The sewage treatment and collection system in Appomattox serves 700 residential users and 70 businesses.

The funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Water & Waste Disposal Loan & Grant Program. Funding from this program is used to ensure clean and reliable drinking water systems, sanitary sewage and solid waste disposal, and storm water drainage for households and businesses in rural areas. 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and Congressman Bob Goodlatte announced $750,000 in federal funding to help the Roanoke Regional Airport Commission bring new non-stop service from Roanoke Regional Airport to Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas, Denver, Colorado, and/or Detroit, Michigan. The Commission can use the funds for a revenue guarantee, a marketing program, and fee waivers. This effort was a community collaboration where the Roanoke Regional Chamber and the Botetourt Chamber of Commerce worked with local businesses, who are frequent users of Roanoke Regional Airport, to secure pledges to match these funds. The Roanoke Regional Airport Commission led the process to secure the public sector funding. This funding will be formally announced at the Roanoke Regional Chamber today at 10:00 AM.

“Roanoke Regional Airport is vital to the economic health of the entire region and Virginia as a whole. We are proud to announce these grant dollars that will ensure the airport continues to offer flights that attract tourism and business and offer Virginians more travel options,” the Senators and Congressman said. “Congratulations to the Airport Commission and the local Chambers that worked so hard together to secure these funds.”    

“The Roanoke Regional Airport Commission is thrilled to have been awarded a Small Community Air Service Development Grant. We sincerely appreciate the support from the community and our stakeholders, including Sens. Kaine and Warner and Rep. Goodlatte. We are hopeful that given two and a half’s years of passenger growth, these funds will help secure additional service to Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver and/or Detroit. Air service is a critical component for economic development and we feel this is a significant step in the right direction,” Tim Bradshaw, Executive Director of the Roanoke Blacksburg Regional Airport, said.

“Better connectivity from ROA will open new markets throughout the country for existing businesses and help attract new investment in the Roanoke region. We are excited to see how this grant will improve service from ROA, and we appreciate the Roanoke Regional Airport Commission’s commitment to supporting our community’s needs and economic growth,” Joyce Waugh, Roanoke Regional Chamber President & CEO, said. 

“Collaborative efforts such as this support existing business travel needs, ensure our region remains attractive to new business, and create new economic opportunities.  We look forward to continuing to work with our regional partners and our elected representatives to bring more opportunity to rural areas in Virginia’s Blue Ridge,” Sheri Winesett, Botetourt Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, said. 

The funding was awarded through the Small Community Air Service Development Program (SCASDP) under the Department of Transportation. These funds help smaller communities address air service access and high fares. 

 

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WASHINGTON – During a Senate Finance Committee hearing with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) pressed for more answers on an Associated Press report alleging physical and psychological abuse of immigrant children at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center (SVJC) near Staunton, Va.

Immediately following press reports regarding SVJC, Sen. Warner joined Sen. Kaine in sending a letter to Acting Assistant Secretary Steven Wagner for the Administration for Children and Families under HHS, asking for clarification and additional information from the agency on the accusations against the facility’s personnel. They still have not received a response to that letter.

“Secretary Azar, today’s hearing is about drug pricing, but first I want to address – as my colleagues have – the ongoing crisis we are dealing with at our nation's border. The Department of Health and Human Services has contracted facilities to house thousands of unaccompanied minors – including one in my state, the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center near Staunton, Virginia – where there have been very disturbing reports of abuse and lawsuits filed as a result of those accusations. Sen. Kaine and I have sent your agency multiple letters requesting more information on the issue and my hope would be that we can get those responses and I’m anxious to know if you are able to comment on any of the accusations of the center in Staunton,” pressed Sen. Warner during the hearing. 

“With reports of minors being put in solitary confinement for 23 hours of a 24 hour day or being restrained in chairs – without any clothing and with bags over their heads – all practices that are inhumane and worthy of a great deal of review – and understanding that you will not be able to speak to specifics in regard to what happened in Staunton, what level of training does the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) put in place for guards at these contracted facilities? If in fact that it shows that these actions did take place, I would hope that we can put training in place that can sanction these types of behavior,” added Sen. Warner.

During the hearing, Sec. Azar did not address the validity of the allegations but offered to provide Sen. Warner answers on the care of migrant children under HHS. HHS is tasked with caring for unaccompanied immigrant children after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) apprehends them at the U.S. border. It is also the responsibility of HHS to conduct oversight of facilities federally contracted to house detained children to ensure the safety and well-being of children under their care.

 

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced that James Madison University (JMU) will receive $1,199,748 in federal funding to recruit Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) students to become secondary and middle school teachers in Harrisonburg City Public Schools.

“We are pleased that this federal funding will allow James Madison University and community colleges in the region to partner with local schools to enhance STEM education,” said the Senators. “These efforts will help meet the educational needs of the local community while giving folks an opportunity to secure an in-demand, high-paying job in any of these advanced fields.”

The funds, awarded by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Robert Noyce Scholarship Program, will help expand recruiting efforts across all STEM fields and help JMU education graduates become outstanding STEM educators. As a result of the project, JMU, in partnership with Blue Ridge Community College and Piedmont Virginia Community College, hopes to prepare and place 32 Noyce Scholars, over the five years of the award, in Harrisonburg City Public Schools.

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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. – U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine joined a bipartisan letter calling on Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai to support long-term funding that would make broadband and voice services more accessible and affordable in rural communities. In the letter, the Senators thank the FCC for its work to support rural broadband and request that it prevent upcoming funding cuts to smaller operators that deliver broadband to the country’s most rural communities, which would otherwise go into effect on July 1.

“These recurring budget shortfalls result in lower speeds, more unserved locations, and higher prices for rural consumers and businesses,” the Senators said. “We share your goal of eliminating the digital divide and look forward to working with you to maintain accessible, affordable broadband for rural American consumers and businesses.”

The FCC fixed the budget shortfall for the Universal Service Fund’s (USF) High-Cost program for the current Fiscal Year, but has not addressed long term funding for the program. The USF program helps to ensure that consumers in rural areas pay comparable rates to those in urban areas by helping rural carriers cover some of their costs. The Senators make the case that funding the program encourages businesses to invest in broadband networks in regions of the country where service is needed, but where deploying broadband is difficult and costly.

Warner and Kaine have been strong supporters of expanding broadband to rural communities in Virginia as Governors and Senators. Last year, Warner and Kaine joined a bipartisan group of colleagues to urge President Trump to include broadband in an infrastructure initiative. In October, Warner and Kainepraised a Senate Democratic proposal to invest $40 billion to build broadband infrastructure necessary to connect over 34 million Americans to high-speed internet. In November, Warner and Kaine announced $6 million in federal funding to construct broadband infrastructure in Buchanan and Scott Counties.

The full text of the Senators’ letter to Chairman Pai is available here and below:

 

May 15, 2018

 

The Honorable Ajit Pai

Chairman

Federal Communications Commission

445 12th Street, S.W.

Washington, DC 20554

 

Dear Chairman Pai:

 

We write to express our strong support and sincere gratitude for the recent Order addressing budget shortfalls in the Universal Service Fund’s (USF) High-Cost program. The Order is an essential, immediate step in the right direction, and we now encourage the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to continue down this path by acting quickly on the notice of proposed rulemaking to provide long-term, predictable support. Such additional steps are necessary to ensure rural Americans have access to high quality voice and broadband services.

The FCC’s recent Order approving an infusion of funds into the USF is greatly welcomed, and will provide needed support for small, rural carriers that rely on the High-Cost USF program. Despite this, persistent limitations on resources can affect the ability of smaller broadband providers to deliver services in our country’s most rural communities. The FCC’s cost model for smaller operators electing model-based USF support is not yet funded at the designed levels, and carriers not receiving model-based support will once again face significant funding cuts when the program’s new fiscal year takes effect on July 1, 2018. These recurring budget shortfalls result in lower speeds, more unserved locations, and higher prices for rural consumers and businesses.

Congress has expressed consistent, bipartisan support for addressing shortfalls in the USF program. In April 2017, 58 Senators called on the FCC to provide adequate resources for broadband delivery services to rural consumers in areas that are the hardest and costliest to serve. In May 2017, 102 Representatives wrote to the FCC, expressing similar concerns about the impacts of insufficient USF resources on rural consumers. 

We commend the FCC’s actions thus far to address and modernize USF support. Taking action on the notice of proposed rulemaking and establishing lasting solutions that allow the reformed High-Cost mechanism to work as designed would enable many smaller operators to offer high quality, affordable broadband to consumers across rural America. It is important to consider any modifications needed to meet the program’s objectives of ensuring consistent network build-out and strengthening ongoing service, for locations otherwise unserved, in our nation’s high-cost rural areas. 

Thank you for the actions you have undertaken thus far to support the USF and for considering this request. We share your goal of eliminating the digital divide and look forward to working with you to maintain accessible, affordable broadband for rural American consumers and businesses.

 

Sincerely,

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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 – Today, U.S. Senator Mark R. Warner (D-VA) issued the following statement on the passing of Dr. Charles W. Steger Jr., President Emeritus of Virginia Tech:

“I’ve known Charles Steger for more than thirty years, and in that time, I always knew him not only as an advocate for Virginia Tech, but for educational opportunity for all Virginians, at every level. I was proud to call him my friend, and I have incredibly fond memories of our fight together to get Tech into the ACC. I know that Dr. Steger will be missed by the whole Tech family.” 

 

###

 

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) today issued a statement responding to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke's trip to Virginia, where he is expected to visit the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park and Booker T. Washington National Monument

“More than a year ago, I introduced bipartisan legislation to set aside money to finally fix the $12 billion maintenance backlog at our national parks. While I share Secretary Zinke’s sense of urgency about this issue, the proposal the Administration is supporting — which is actually based on my own bill — is no solution at all," Sen. Warner said. "Instead of setting aside dedicated funding for our national parks, the only way the National Park Service would see any money from this proposal is through a huge expansion of drilling, or a massive increase in the price of oil. If the Administration wants to get serious about addressing our national parks backlog — and I hope they will — they should get behind my bipartisan proposal, which has the support of the National Park Conservation Association and the Pew Charitable Trusts.”?

A year ago this month, Sen. Warner visited the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park to highlight his bipartisan legislation with Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) to eliminate the maintenance backlog, the National Park Service Legacy Act. The bill would help eradicate the maintenance backlog at the Park Service by directing existing revenues from mineral royalties toward deferred maintenance needs of the National Park Service.

In March of this year, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced its own proposal, which bears substantial similarities to the Warner-Portman bill.  

###

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced today that three major Virginia bus transportation systems will receive $8.64 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The bus transportation systems receiving funding are: The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC), the Blacksburg Transit, and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).

“We are pleased to announce direct federal funding to help improve the commute for thousands of Virginians,” said the Senators. “These critical dollars will help connect our communities and ensure continued access to reliable and affordable public transportation for riders across our region.” 

Bus systems and grant amounts are listed below:

  • The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC) – $3,600,000.00 – This grant funding will help purchase newer buses to replace their aging fleet.
  • The Blacksburg Transit – $1,440,000.00 – This grant will help add buses to its fleet to keep up with ridership demands of the region.
  • The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) – $3,600,000.00 – This grant will replace bus shelters across Northern Virginia to ensure rider safety and security.

This funding was granted through USDOT’s Bus & Bus Facilities Infrastructure Investment Program, a program that provides federal resources for bus systems to rehabilitate, replace, or purchase buses and bus-related equipment.

 

###

Sen. Warner met with ARC Co-Chair last month in his Senate office in Washington

 

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) released the following statement after the U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed Tim Thomas, President Trump’s nominee to be the Federal Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission: 

I was proud to support Mr. Thomas’ nomination to lead federal efforts to foster economic development in Appalachia,” said Sen. Warner. “Despite the Administration’s attempt to defund the Appalachian Regional Commission, I worked with my colleagues on a bipartisan funding agreement this week that just increased its funding by $3 million—the highest level approved in decades. Now that he has been confirmed as its co-chair, I trust Mr. Thomas will carry out his duties with a clear focus on expanding economic opportunities in the region and I look forward to working together to achieve this.” 

The Appalachian Regional Commission is a federal-state partnership that has invested in 25,000 projects across Appalachia’s 420 counties. For more than fifty years, ARC has provided funding and support for job-creating community projects across the 13 Appalachian states, producing an average of $204 million in annual earnings for a region often challenged by economic underdevelopment. Since its inception in 1965, ARC has generated over 300,000 jobs and $10 billion for the 25 million Americans living in Appalachia.

A bipartisan Congressional budget agreement passed by Congress this week included a $3 million increase in additional funding for ARC, for a total of $155 million in FY18. In his budget plan, President Trump had proposed eliminating funding for the ARC entirely. In response, Sen. Warner and a bipartisan coalition of Senators who represent Appalachian states called on President Trump to reverse his proposal to zero out funding for this important federal-state partnership. In 2017 alone, Sen. Warner announced over $7 million in ARC grant funding for projects in Virginia’s Appalachian counties.

Sen. Warner serves as a co-chair of the bipartisan Senate Appalachia Initiative, which has laid out a roadmap for bipartisan legislation to jumpstart economic growth in the region. He has introduced bipartisan legislation to support and encourage public-private partnerships in Appalachia that improve regional infrastructure, encourage entrepreneurship, and create jobs.  

Mr. Thomas served on the state staff of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as a field representative based in the Senator’s Bowling Green office. A native Kentuckian, Thomas previously served in the administration of former Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher as a special assistant to the secretary of the Kentucky Environmental Cabinet, handling matters including legislative initiatives for the agency, according to the ARC In a meeting last month, Sen. Warner and Thomas discussed their shared priorities for Appalachia, including workforce development and combatting the opioid crisis.

 

###

WASHINGTON –  U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) released a statement on today’s White House nomination of Thomas T. Cullen to serve as United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia:

“Tom Cullen is an experienced federal prosecutor who has practiced in North Carolina and Virginia. He will make an excellent U.S. Attorney, and we are proud to support his nomination to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Western District,” said the Senators. 

Cullen was one of two candidates recommended to the White House by Sens. Warner and Kaine in July. Cullen’s nomination was supported by a panel of attorneys from across the Commonwealth selected by Sens. Warner and Kaine to interview all candidates who applied for the position.

Mr. Cullen is currently a Principal/Partner at Woods Rogers PLC in Roanoke, where his practice focuses on white-collar defense and government investigations. He entered the private sector following a career with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District, where he served as Deputy Criminal Chief at the request of former U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy. Mr. Cullen previously served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, North Carolina. He also served as an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force prosecutor during his time in Charlotte. Mr. Cullen began his legal career as a clerk for U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne in the Eastern District, followed by a clerkship with Circuit Judge Roger L. Gregory in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Mr. Cullen received his law degree from William and Mary School of Law in 2004 where he was inducted into the Order of the Coif and a B.A. cum laude from Furman University.

The Western District of Virginia has offices in Roanoke, Charlottesville, Abingdon, Lynchburg, Danville, Big Stone Gap and Harrisonburg.

 

# # #

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) met with Tim Thomas, President Trump’s nominee to be the Federal Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission. During the meeting, Senator Warner and Thomas discussed their shared priorities for Appalachia, including workforce development and combatting the opioid crisis.

“While I remain concerned about the Trump Administration’s proposal to defund the Appalachian Regional Commission, I was encouraged to hear Mr. Thomas lay out his priorities for an active ARC that carries out its mission of fostering economic development in Appalachia,” said Sen. Warner. “When it comes to jumpstarting the region’s economy, we need to take off our Republican and Democratic hats and work together. I encourage my colleagues from both parties to give fair consideration to Mr. Thomas’ nomination for this important post.”

The Appalachian Regional Commission is a federal-state partnership that has invested in 25,000 projects across Appalachia’s 420 counties. For more than fifty years, ARC has provided funding and support for job-creating community projects across the 13 Appalachian states, producing an average of $204 million in annual earnings for a region often challenged by economic underdevelopment. Since its inception in 1965, ARC has generated over 300,000 jobs and $10 billion for the 25 million Americans living in Appalachia.

In his FY2018 budget, President Trump proposed eliminating funding for the ARC entirely. In response, Senator Warner and a bipartisan coalition of Senators who represent Appalachian states called on President Trump to reverse his proposal to zero out funding for this important federal-state partnership. In 2017 alone, Senator Warner announced over $7 million in ARC grant funding for projects in Virginia’s Appalachian counties, including:

  • Falls Mills Senior Center Project (Tazewell County) - $500,000. This grant to the Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens, Inc., in partnership with the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors, will help build a community service and senior facility at the Falls Mills Elementary School site.
  • Alleghany Highlands Drone Zone (Covington, Va.) - $100,000. This grant will be matched with $100,000 in local funds to complete a feasibility study and design, marketing, and business plan for the new “Alleghany Highlands Drone Zone,” a business accelerator program and facility to support local enterprises in this emerging industry. It is anticipated that space for 12 businesses will be available in a city owned building that has been identified for renovation, and the project is expected to support the creation of three to five new businesses a year, according to ARC.
  • Floyd Regional Commerce Center (Floyd County) - $1,081,958. This grant leverages $30 million in private investment—will fund approximately 0.21 miles of access road, an industrial cul-de-sac, as well as pedestrian and bike path to facilitate Floyd County’s development of the Floyd Regional Commerce Center. The Floyd County Economic Development Authority estimates that completion of the Commerce Center would promote economic development with the potential to support more than 100 new jobs in the region.
  • William King Museum of Art (Abingdon, Va.) - $500,000. This grant will help the William King Museum of Art will help fund Phase 1 of a larger cultural campus expansion project. The funds will go towards access improvements, additional parking and renovating a currently vacant facility that will become the new Center for Studio Art and Education. With the improvements at the campus, 10 artisans will take up residency at the facility, 2 jobs will be created and 2,500 new visitors are anticipated. In addition to ARC funds, local sources will provide $657,000, bringing the total project funding to $1,157,000. 
  • Southwest Virginia Early Childhood Workforce Development (Abington, Va.) - $99,933. This grant will help United Way of Southwest Virginia assist 70 workers obtain child care credentials and improve child development services for 20 existing businesses in a 13-county area. In addition, the grantee will provide training and other assistance to individuals who wish to establish their own childcare programs in underserved areas, resulting in 10 new enterprises capable of serving 120 children. In addition to ARC funds, local sources will provide $61,783 in matching funds. 
  • Project Discovery Program (Abingdon, Va.) - $75,844. This grant will help People Incorporated of Virginia expand its academic advancement and college attendance program to serve more low-income, first-generation college-bound high school students. The project will provide assistance to 60 students with college readiness skills and financial opportunities. The project will serve Dickenson, Buchanan, Russell, and Washington Counties. In additional to ARC funds, local sources will provide $39,391, bringing the total project funding to $113,235.
  • Frog Level Phase II Water Project (Lee County) - $500,000. This grant will help provide reliable public water supply to Lee County as well as support economic development for the newly-established school of veterinary medicine. In addition to ARC funds, state sources will provide $948,680, and local sources will provide $108,652, bringing the total project funding to $1,557,332.
  • Cool & Connected Pennington Gap Project (Pennington Gap, Va.) - $7,500. This grant will help the city of Pennington Gap fund the renovation of space and the creation of a community computer center at the basement of the Lee Theatre, purchase computer equipment, and provide Wi-Fi access in Leeman’s field. In addition to ARC funds, Sunset Digital Communications will provide $4,000, bringing the total project funding to $11,500.
  • Cool & Connected Jonesville Project (Jonesville, Va.) - $7,500. This grant will help fund the renovation of a community computer center in Jonesville, Virginia at an existing town-owned building located in the town’s Cumberland Bowl Park. The minor renovations will include computer equipment and Wi-Fi access at the park. In addition to ARC funds, Sunset Digital Communications will provide $4,000, bringing the total project funding to $11,500.
  • Tacoma Sewer Project (Wise County) - $500,000. The grant will help the Wise County Public Service Authority begin a project that will provide public sewer collection to a previously unserved community of 48 households and two businesses, and eliminate public and environmental health concerns related to improperly disposed raw sewage. In addition to ARC funds, state sources will provide $750,000, and local sources will provide $155,901, bringing the total project funding to $1,405,901.
  • Lyric Theater Project (St. Paul, Va.) - $300,000. This grant will help the Town of St. Paul renovate and stabilize the interior and exterior of the Lyric Theater to stabilize the building. The renovation will equip the building to hold conferences, events and performing arts for visitor and tourists. The facility will be affiliated with The Crooked Road Music Heritage Trail. In addition to ARC funds, local sources will provide $135,000, bringing the total project funding to $435,000.
  • Spearhead Trails in SW Virginia Project (Coeburn, Va.) - $92,300. This grant will help the Southwest Regional Recreation Authority (SRRA) to fund a study that will examine existing and potential economic benefits of the Spearhead Trails on the surrounding region, identify priorities for future development, and help SRRA develop a sustainable organizational model. SRRA was chartered by the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2008 to support outdoor recreation and tourism investment in the Coalfields of Southwest Virginia. In addition to ARC funds, state sources will provide $30,000 and local sources will provide $7,700, bringing the total project funding to $130,000.
  • Donnkenny, Breaks and Tivis Pump Stations Replacement Project (Dickenson County) - $441,740. This grant will help replace three deteriorating below-ground pump stations with above-ground facilities that meet current design standards. The new pump stations will provide water to 571 households and 10 businesses in distressed communities, as well as to nine tourism-related businesses in the Breaks Interstate Park, and will ensure that reliable infrastructure is in place to support future economic development, particularly that which is related to tourism. In addition to ARC funds, state sources will provide $150,000, and local sources will provide an additional $102,260, bringing the total project funding to $694,000.


Senator Warner serves as a co-chair of the bipartisan Senate Appalachia Initiative, which has laid out a roadmap for bipartisan legislation to jumpstart economic growth in the region.

Mr. Thomas currently serves on the state staff of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as a field representative based in the senator’s Bowling Green office. A native Kentuckian, Thomas previously served in the administration of former Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher as a special assistant to the secretary of the Kentucky Environmental Cabinet, handling matters including legislative initiatives for the agency, according to the ARC.

###

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) and U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA) today requested that Bureau of Indian Affairs schedule a briefing as soon as possible with six newly federally recognized tribes in Virginia so that they can fully understand what benefits and resources will now be available to them after a successful, decades-long effort to secure federal recognition. Congress last month passed and the president signed into law H.R. 984, the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2017, which for the first time grants federal recognition to six Virginia tribes.

“As new federally recognized tribes, the Chickahominy, the Chickahominy - Eastern Division, the Upper Mattaponi, the Rappahannock, the Monacan, and the Nansemond, have a right to understand all the benefits and resources that are available to them under this designation,” wrote the members in a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, whose Department oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

 The tribes had received official recognition from the Commonwealth of Virginia, but until now had not received federal recognition, which will grant the tribes legal standing and status in direct relationships with the U.S. government. It also allows the tribes to:

  • Compete for educational programs and other grants only open to federally recognized tribes;
  • Repatriate the remains of their ancestors in a respectful manner. Many of these remains reside in the Smithsonian, but without federal status there is no mandate to return the remains; and
  • Provide affordable health care services for elder tribal members who have been unable to access care.

“Now, after many years, these individuals have the opportunity to fully reclaim their heritage and take advantage of a designation that has been withheld from them for far too long,” Sen. Warner, Sen. Kaine and Rep. Wittman wrote. “Due to the amount of time it has taken these tribes to acquire federal recognition status, we are requesting that this briefing take place as soon as possible, so these tribes can appropriately plan for the next year and beyond. We look forward to hearing from you on this important matter.”

The text of today’s letter appears below.

 

February 7, 2018

 

The Honorable Ryan Zinke

Secretary

United States Department of Interior

1849 C Street NW

Washington, DC 20240

 

Dear Secretary Zinke:

We write today to request a comprehensive briefing on federal recognition from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) for the six newly federally recognized tribes in Virginia. As new federally recognized tribes, the Chickahominy, the Chickahominy—Eastern Division, the Upper Mattaponi, the Rappahannock, the Monacan, and the Nansemond, have a right to understand all the benefits and resources that are available to them under this designation.

After nearly twenty years of inaction, Congress passed the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2017 (H.R.984) on January 11, 2018. President Donald J. Trump signed this historic bill into law on January 29, 2018. This legislation grants federal recognition status to six Virginia tribes, whose ancestors played a pivotal role in our nation’s history. All the aforementioned tribes are recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia, and several were a part of the oldest recognized treaty in the country – the Treaty of Middle Plantation (1677).

While these six Virginia Indian tribes were formally recognized by the British and the Commonwealth of Virginia, they were not able to attain formal recognition status by the United States government for decades. Many of the tribes’ official documents were destroyed in the burning of Virginia’s courthouses during the Civil War, and the remnants of their records were lost through the passage of a Virginia law, the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which almost erased the identities of these tribes. Now, after many years, these individuals have the opportunity to fully reclaim their heritage and take advantage of a designation that has been withheld from them for far too long.

Due to the amount of time it has taken these tribes to acquire federal recognition status, we are requesting that this briefing take place as soon as possible, so these tribes can appropriately plan for the next year and beyond. We look forward to hearing from you on this important matter.

Sincerely,

 

###

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner celebrated the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2017 finally being signed into law, after decades of bipartisan efforts by Virginia’s elected officials. Kaine and Warner secured final passage of the bill earlier this month. Six Virginia tribes—the Chickahominy, the Eastern Chickahominy, the Upper Mattaponi, the Rappahannock, the Monacan, and the Nansemond—will now have the federal recognition they have waited centuries for. Many of these tribes include descendants of Pocahontas’ Virginia Powhatan tribe. These tribes had received official recognition from the Commonwealth of Virginia, but had not received federal recognition, which will grant the tribes legal standing and status in direct relationships with the U.S. government.

“Today closes a chapter on a decades-long pursuit of justice for Virginia’s tribes,” the Senators said. “Virginia’s tribes have loved and served this nation, and today our country is finally honoring them with the recognition they deserve. We are inspired by the tribes’ leaders who never gave up and thankful to our colleagues Representatives Connolly, Beyer, and Scott, and Wittman for working with us to ensure this was the year that we righted a historical wrong.”

This federal recognition allows Virginia’s tribes legal standing and status in direct relationships with the U.S. government. Further, it allows tribes to:

· Compete for educational programs and other grants only open to federally recognized tribes;
· Repatriate the remains of their ancestors in a respectful manner. Many of these remains reside in the Smithsonian, but without federal status there is no mandate to return the remains; and
· Provide affordable health care services for elder tribal members who have been unable to access care.

###