Press Releases

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.

 

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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.” 

 

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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.  

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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,

 

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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.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner secured final passage of the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2017. Once signed by the President, the legislation will grant federal recognition of six Virginia tribes: the Chickahominy, the Eastern Chickahominy, the Upper Mattaponi, the Rappahannock, the Monacan, and the Nansemond. Many of these include descendants of Pocahontas’ Virginia Powhatan tribe. Kaine and Warner worked with Democratic and Republican colleagues to ensure that the bill made it through to final passage. 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. 

U.S. Senators and members of the House of Representatives from Virginia have pushed for federal recognition since the 1990s, with Senators George Allen and John Warner first introducing this legislation in the Senate in 2002. Kaine and Warner introduced this legislation in the Senate in the 113thand 114th Congresses, and Warner had introduced it in prior Congresses.

“This is about Virginia tribes that were here and encountered the English when they arrived in [Jamestown] in 1607, the tribes of Pocahontas and other wonderful Virginians. They are living tribes, never recognized by the federal government for a series of reasons. . . . It's a fundamental issue of respect, and fairly acknowledging a historical record, and a wonderful story of tribes that are living, thriving and surviving and are a rich part of our heritage. This is a happy day to stand up on their behalf,” Senator Kaine said on the Senate floor ahead of passage. 

“We and some of the folks who are in the gallery today were not sure this day would ever come, but even here in the United States Congress and the United States Senate, occasionally we get things right. And boy, oh, boy, this is a day where we get things right on a civil rights basis, on a moral basis, on a fairness basis, and to our friends who are representatives of some of the six tribes who are finally going to be granted federal recognition, we want to say thank you for their patience, their perseverance, their willingness to work with us and others,” Senator Warner said on the Senate floor ahead of passage. 

This version, which originated in the House of Representatives and was introduced by Virginia Congressman Rob Wittman, passed in the House unanimously in May. 

Congressman Wittman said, “Today we have taken a critical step forward in correcting the Federal Government’s failure to recognize the ‘first contact' tribes of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Decades in the making, federal recognition will acknowledge and protect historical and cultural identities of these tribes for the benefit of all Americans. It will also affirm the government-to-government relationship between the United States and the Virginia tribes, and help create opportunities to enhance and protect the well-being of tribal members. I want to thank Senators Kaine and Warner for their support to give these tribes the recognition they have long deserved.”

Once signed by the President, federal recognition will allow Virginia’s tribes legal standing and status in direct relationships with the U.S. government. Further, it would allow 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.

These tribal leaders were in attendance in the Senate Gallery for the vote:

  • W. Frank Adams, Chief, Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe
  • Stephen R. Adkins, Chief, Chickahominy Indian Tribe
  • Wayne B. Adkins, Chair of VITAL
  • Dean Branham, Chief, Monacan Nation
  • Lee Lockamy, Chief Nansemond Indian Tribe
  • Frank Richardson, representing Chief Anne Richardson, Rappahannock Tribe
  • Gerald A. Stewart, Assistant Chief, Eastern Chickahominy Indian Tribe 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced today that the Redevelopment & Housing Authorities in the cities of Roanoke and Petersburg will receive $666,661 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide housing assistance for Virginia families and veterans.

“These funds will allow local communities to focus their efforts on helping Virginia families live in safe housing they can afford,” the Senators said. “We are confident this additional funding will make a significant and necessary impact in improving living conditions in the Commonwealth.” 

Last year, up to $75,000,000 was made available by Congress to public housing agencies to use for administrative costs associated with housing voucher renewals, supportive housing for veterans, and other unforeseen circumstances that would prevent the agency from continuing rental assistance to families.

Individual amounts are listed below:

  • Roanoke Redevelopment & Housing Authority: $533,621
  • Petersburg Redevelopment & Housing Authority: $133,040

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine expressed their concern over the House Republicans’ tax plan that would eliminate the Federal Historic Tax Credit, which communities across Virginia use to draw in new business, create jobs, and revitalize cities and towns. The Federal Historic Tax Credit, a critical component of public-private partnerships, helps to attract development projects by providing a tax credit to developers after the restoration of a qualifying historic building. Virginia has been a top recipient of this federal funding, which has been used to redevelop more than one thousand buildings across the Commonwealth since 2002, including affordable housing, office space, restaurants, hotels, retirement homes, child care centers and shopping centers. Notable projects that have used these funds include the Wayne Theatre in Waynesboro, the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville, and the Bolling Wilson (George Wythe) Hotel in Wytheville.

“This tool has helped Virginia communities preserve historically significant buildings while creating quality jobs and stimulating long-term economic growth,” said Warner. “We should not be targeting this proven economic engine, which would leave many localities hanging while some companies and high income earners receive a tax break.”

“I’ve heard from mayors and local leaders across Virginia who agree it would be a short-sighted mistake to eliminate a successful program that’s strengthened local economies in every corner of the Commonwealth,” said Kaine. “We should be helping Virginia’s rural communities get ahead, but instead this cut in the Republican tax plan hurts their ability to succeed and redirects funds toward tax cuts for those at the very top.”

Between Fiscal Years 2002 and 2016, developers completed more than one thousand projects in Virginia using the Federal Historic Tax Credit. Elected officials have also voiced concern that eliminating this credit may impact the completion of buildings that are part of existing projects, which localities have already invested in.

The Senate version of the Republican tax plan similarly aims to limit the Federal Historic Tax Credit. Warner, a member of the Senate Finance Committee that is debating the Republican plan this week, has cosponsored a measure that would amend the legislation to protect and expand this tax tool.

Below is a list highlighting some of these notable projects throughout Virginia. For a more comprehensive list please click here

City

Original Name

Address

Year

Use

Current Use

Bristol

Bristol Warehouse Company

221 Moore St

2016

Commercial

Studio Brew

Bristol

Bristol Building Supply Company Building

220 Lee Street

2012

Office

Bristol School Board Offices

Buena Vista

Peoples Bank Of Buena Vista

128 21St Street

2010

Library

Bank

Charlottesville

The Paramount Theater

215 East Main Street

2005

Other

The Paramount Theater

Danville

John W. Ferrell & Company Furniture Store

533-535 Main Street

2012

Multi-Use

Retail

Danville

North Theater

629 North Main Street

2005

Housing

The Historic North Theatre Performing Arcts Center

Danville

Continental Tobacco Company

610 Craghead St

2015

Housing

The Continental Lofts complex

Galax

Ye Ole Galax Post Office

201 N. Main

2003

Restaurant

Macado's

Harrisonburg

Cassco Ice House

217 S. Liberty Street

2015

Commercial

Harrisonburg Ice House

Hillsville

Nuckolls Drug Store

510 North Main Street

2008

Other

Pizza Perfect On Main

Lexington

McCampbell Inn

11 N Main St

2015

Multi-Use

The Georges Inn

Lynchburg

Craddock Terry Shoe Corp. Southland

1326-1328 Commerce Street

2007

Hotel

Craddock Terry Hotel

Marion

Marion High School Building

203 N Church St

2015

Theater

Wayne C. Henderson School for the Arts

Marion

Lincoln Theatre

117 E. Main Street

2006

Hotel

General Francis Marion Hotel

Norfolk

Portlock Building

241 Granby Street

2003

Multi-Use

Brick Anchor Brew-House

Richmond

Maggie L. Walker High School

1000 N. Lombardy Street

2002

School

Maggie Walker School

Richmond

Lady Byrd Hat Company Building

140 Virginia Street

2009

Multi-Use

Retail

Roanoke

Patrick Henry Hotel

617 South Jefferson Street

2011

Multi-Use

The Patrick Henry Ballroom & Conference Center

Roanoke

Jefferson Center Auditorium

550 West Campbell Avenue

2001

Theater

Jefferson Center

Roanoke

Burrell Memorial Hospital

611 Mcdowell Avenue SW

2004

Multi-Use

Blueridge Behavioral Healthcare

South Boston

Taylor Tobacco Prizery

340 Ferry Street

2009

Housing

Taylor Lofts Apartments

South Boston

The Prizery-R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Warehouse

900 Bruce Street (Previously 716 Seymour Drive)

2005

Theater

Performing arts venue called the Prizery

Staunton

Stonewall Jackson Hotel And The Blackfriars Playhouse

24 S. Market Street

2006

Hotel

Stonewall Jackson Hotel & Conference Center

Waynesboro

Wayne Theatre

521 W Main St

2016

Theater

Wayne Theatre - Ross Performing Arts Center

Winchester

The Old Star Building

29-31 33-35 East Boscawen Street

2013

Multi-Use

Commercial/Office space and apartments

Wytheville

George Wythe Hotel

170 East Main Street

2015

Hotel

Bolling Wilson Hotel

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced $115,700 in Economic Impact Initiative Grants from the United States Department of Agriculture towards the purchase of police vehicles, public works vehicles, and equipment for rural communities in the towns of Orange, Pound, Pulaski, Weber City, Wise, and Page County.

“We are pleased to announce funding for these communities to upgrade and improve public safety equipment,” the Senators said. “This funding will help ensure that our first responders in these communities have the resources they need to keep Virginians safe.”

The following localities will receive funding through the USDA:

·         The Town of Orange will receive $25,000 towards the purchase of three police vehicles and equipment.

·         The Town of Pound will receive $25,000 towards the purchase of one police vehicle, one public works vehicle and equipment.

·         The Town of Pulaski will receive $25,000 towards the purchase of two police vehicles and equipment.

·         The Town of Weber City will receive $25,000 towards the purchase of one police vehicle and equipment.

·         The Town of Wise will receive $5,200 towards the purchase of one police vehicle and equipment.

·         Page County will receive $10,500 towards the purchase of two police vehicles and equipment.

The USDA’s Economic Impact Initiative Grant program provides funding for rural communities facing high unemployment and economic challenges. Funding awarded through this program seeks to improve community facilities that are used for health care, public safety, and public service.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R.  Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) joined a bipartisan coalition of 16 Senators to introduce the Sugar Policy Modernization Act, which will make commonsense reforms to the federal sugar support program that will save money for a variety of manufacturers that support jobs in Virginia and across the nation. 

The Sugar Policy Modernization Act would repeal domestic supply restrictions, reduce market distortions caused by sugar import quotas, and ensure taxpayers don’t foot the bill for bailouts of the sugar industry. The Sugar Policy Modernization Act has a broad coalition of support from consumer, business and environmental groups. Companion legislation has also been introduced in the House of Representatives.

Virginia is home to the U.S. headquarters of both Mars and Nestle and has manufacturing and distribution facilities across the state – such as the McKee Foods plant in Stuarts Draft, Nestle packaging plant in Danville, Purina pet food plant in King William County, Frito-Lay plant in Lynchburg, Gatorade bottling facility in Wytheville, Sabra plant in Colonial Heights, and others – comprising thousands of jobs in industries whose growth is determined in part by sugar prices.

“This bill would make reasonable, commonsense reforms to federal sugar policies that artificially raise costs for consumers and American taxpayers,” said Sen. Warner. “These changes will save taxpayers money and protect thousands of manufacturing jobs in Virginia.”

“Senators from the right, left, and everywhere in between support this bill because it’s good for the economy,” said Sen. Kaine. “Manufacturing is driven by a variety of input costs, and this is an opportunity to reduce one of those costs, which is not only good policy generally but will also make Virginia even more competitive in attracting these manufacturing plants and the jobs that go with them.”

Sugar is the only commodity whose federal support program was not reformed by the most recent five-year reauthorization of agricultural programs in 2014.

The Sugar Policy Modernization Act would repeal U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) sugar marketing allotments, which restrict the amount of sugar each domestic processing company can sell. No other U.S. commodity is under similar government supply controls. The bill would also repeal a program that requires the government to buy surplus sugar and sell it to ethanol companies at a loss.

The legislation would also direct the Secretary of Agriculture to manage the nation’s sugar program to ensure sugar is distributed in adequate amounts and reasonable prices, and it would repeal laws that arbitrarily restrict USDA’s authority to administer import quotas during certain times of the year. This bill would also express that it is the sense of Congress that U.S. trade policy goals should include elimination of sugar subsidies and pursuit of trade agreements that liberalize sugar trade. 

In addition to Sens. Warner and Kaine, the bill is sponsored by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Bob Casey (D-PA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Dean Heller (R-NV), Ed Markey (D-MA), John McCain (R-AZ), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Mark R. Warner introduced the Virginia Wilderness Additions Act, a bill to add a total of 5,600 acres to two existing wilderness areas within the George Washington National Forest in Bath County, Virginia. A wilderness designation is the highest level of protection for public land under federal law. These additions were recommended by the U.S. Forest Service in 2014 and endorsed by members of the GW National Forest Stakeholder Collaborative, a group of forest users that has worked together for seven years to agree on acceptable locations in the GW for wilderness, timber harvest, trails, and other uses.  

“The George Washington National Forest is one of Virginia’s most precious assets. We enjoy its wildlife; its scenery; its trails; and the benefits of responsible development of its resources,” Kaine said.  “Taking care of our nation’s outdoor resources is good for our economy and good for our environment. I applaud all stakeholders who came to the table – from local officials to conservationists to the timber industry – to work together on a plan that sets an example of how collaboration in public lands decisions can benefit everyone.” 

“I am proud to partner with Senator Kaine to introduce legislation that will add 5,600 acres to the George Washington National Forest in Bath County, Va. Our public lands are some of our most cherished resources, and it is essential that we take the necessary steps to conserve these lands for future generations to enjoy. This legislation is the result of seven years of collaboration among a diverse group of stakeholders and provides an example of what can be accomplished when everyone is willing to invest the necessary time and effort to find common ground on contentious land management issues,” said Warner.

 “The introduction of this bill is the direct result of years of hard work by the George Washington National Forest Stakeholder Collaborative, which includes representatives from diverse interests including the timber industry, wildlife managers, and recreational groups, to work together to meet very different goals. This added Wilderness area will result in ecological, economic and recreational benefits and is a win-win for all those stakeholders involved,” Mark Miller, Executive Director, Virginia Wilderness Committee, said.

“As an advocate of active management of the GW National Forest, I support the proposed Wilderness additions in this bill as part of a collaborative agreement among many groups and individuals. The GW is large enough to support a variety of ecological conditions as identified in the Forest Plan.  These goals can be met through increased timber harvesting and wildlife management while setting aside remote areas that are valuable for wildlife and recreation.  This proposal reinforces several year’s-worth of work and demonstrates the ability to accomplish this balance,” John Hancock, President, Virginia Forestry Association, said.

“More than half of Bath County is National Forest land.  This proposal to add thousands of acres of protected land to Rich Hole and Rough Mountain will mean an increase in visitation to the National Forest, and increased tourism in Bath County.  County leadership wholeheartedly supports this expansion and encourages Congress to act swiftly on this important bill that comes after years of important compromise among stakeholders,” Ashton Harrison, Bath County Administrator, said.  

“As a lifelong resident, fisherman, hunter and hiker of the George Washington National Forest, I believe our forests thrive when there is a combination of young growth and old growth. We can accomplish this with a combination of timber harvesting, wildlife management, and protecting special areas. Expanding the Rich Hole and Rough Mountain Wilderness areas adds to this diverse environment and ensures that there is an area where bear and large Red squirrels can thrive in the winter months,” Steve Nicely, Alleghany County resident and long-time hunter, said. 

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) joined Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) in introducing the bipartisan American Miners Pension Act (AMP Act).

Currently, the 1974 UMWA Pension Plan is on the road to insolvency. The American Miners Pension Act will shore up the 1974 UMWA Pension Plan to make sure that nearly 87,000 retired miners receiving pensions, as well as another 20,000 who are vested, won’t lose the pensions they have paid into for decades. In Virginia alone, there are more than 7,300 pensioners who are at risk.  

“Congress made a promise in 1946 to protect coal miners after a lifetime of arduous and dangerous work to help power this nation,” said Sen. Warner. “Earlier this year, we fulfilled part of that promise by making sure healthcare benefits for them and their widows were protected. We need to finish the deal and pass this bipartisan legislation that will ensure retired coal miners in Virginia and across the country get to keep their hard-earned pensions.”

“I am proud to join Senator Warner and our colleagues in introducing this bill to support Virginia’s retired miners who have undoubtedly earned their pensions through difficult and dangerous work,” said Sen. Kaine. “When I met with Castlewood miners a few months ago I reassured them I’d fight for their health care and I’d fight for their pensions. Now that we have secured a permanent health care fix, passage of this legislation would give our miners the peace of mind to know they are protected and their pensions are secure, allowing them to retire with confidence.”

The AMP Act would: 

  • Uses the provision from the Miners Protection Act to allow transfers of excess funds in the Abandoned Mine Land program to the 1974 UMWA pension plan.
  • Direct the Treasury Department to loan the Pension Plan funds annually.
  • Cap the annual loan amount at $600 million and set the interest rate at 1%.
  • Require the fund to pay interest for the first 10 years and then pay back the principal plus interest over a 30-year term.
  • Require the fund to certify each year that the pension plan is solvent and able to pay back the principal and interest.

In May, part of legislation introduced by Sens. Warner & Kaine was passed by Congress as part of a government spending bill which secured healthcare benefits for 22,600 of our nation’s miners.

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WASHINGTON— U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced today that four Virginia airports will receive a total of $8,457,339 in federal funding from the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to improve and enhance airport infrastructure.

“Virginia airports face growing demands in ensuring travelers have access to high quality facilities,” the Senators said. “This federal funding will help our local airports improve their conditions and maintain critical infrastructure so travelers can feel confident in the safety of their airports.”

Airports and project amounts are listed below:

  • Warrenton-Fauquier Airport - $3,765,800. This grant will help fund the construction of a 20,000 square yard apron to accommodate the increased use of the general aviation facilities and a 1,600 foot access road to provide access to the new mid-field apron. 
  • Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional/Woodrum Field Airport - $3,080,553. This grant will fund seal coat rehabilitation of two runways to maintain the structural integrity of the pavement and to minimize foreign object debris, and the installation of a canopy over the passenger walkway. 
  • Farmville Regional Airport - $1,310,986. This grant will help reconstruct 12,000 square yards of the existing terminal apron pavement that has reached the end of its useful life.
  • Orange County Airport - $300,000. This grant will help fund crack seal rehabilitation for existing taxiway pavements and terminal aprons that have reached the end of their useful life.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced $1,357,959 in federal funding for nine Virginia fire departments through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The funding for nine fire departments in Concord, Chilhowie, Fairfax, Gasburg, Glade Spring, Kenbridge, Lovingston, Newport News, and Norton will be awarded through FEMA’s Assistant to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program.

“This federal funding will provide fire departments with critical support to enhance training operations and purchase life-saving equipment that will help keep Virginians safe,” the Senators said.

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

  • The Concord Volunteer Fire Department will receive $64,762 to purchase vehicle extrication equipment;
  • The Town of Chilhowie Fire & EMS Department will receive $60, 313 to purchase portable and mobile radios;
  • The City of Fairfax Fire Department will receive $136, 182 to support training operations for firefighters;
  • The Gasburg Volunteer Fire Department will receive $46,116 to purchase an air compressor and fill station equipment;
  • The Glade Spring Volunteer Fire Department will receive $38,096 to purchase an air compressor and fill station equipment.
  • The Kenbridge Fire Department will receive $54,739 to update its source capture exhaust system technology;
  • The Lovingston Volunteer Fire Department will receive $142,381 to purchase self-contained breathing apparatus equipment;
  • The City of Newport News Fire Department will receive $404,600 to purchase power lift cots and stretchers and;
  • The City of Norton Fire Department will receive $320,358 to purchase self-contained breathing apparatus equipment and face pieces.

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 – Congress today approved a bipartisan, bicameral resolution led by Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA)—prompted by the violence and domestic terrorist attack in Charlottesville, Va. last month—condemning white nationalists, white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other hate groups.  The joint resolution (S. J. Res. 49) also calls upon the Trump Administration to use all available resources to improve data collection on hate crimes and to work in a coordinated way to address the growing prevalence of hate groups. 

“Our nation’s elected leaders have a responsibility to stand up to forces of hatred and bigotry wherever they may be found. What happened in Charlottesville was domestic terrorism perpetrated by white supremacists who tragically cut short the life of a young woman, Heather Heyer, and led to the deaths of two Virginia State Police troopers Berke Bates and Lt. Jay Cullen.  The United States Congress has spoken up with one voice to recognize the lives of those we lost, to unconditionally condemn racist speech and violence, and to denounce the white nationalists, neo-Nazis, the KKK, and other hate groups,” said the Senators. “We hope that President Trump will move quickly to sign this resolution and commit his Administration to address the rise of hate groups.”

The legislation was co-sponsored in the Senate by 57 bipartisan Senators, including Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

A companion version with identical language was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last week by Reps. Tom Garrett (R-VA-5) and Gerald Connolly (D-VA-11) with support from the entire Virginia House delegation. 

The joint resolution recognizes the death of Heather Heyer, 32, and the injuries suffered by many others after a car allegedly driven by a neo-Nazi slammed into a crowd of counter-demonstrators in Charlottesville. The resolution specifically describes that event as a “domestic terrorist attack.” The resolution also acknowledges the heroism and public service of Virginia State Police troopers Berke Bates and Lt. Jay Cullen, who died in the crash of their helicopter while monitoring the protests. Finally, it expresses support for the people of Charlottesville as that community heals “following these acts of violent bigotry.”   

The joint resolution also has the support of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Anti-Defamation League and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. It now heads to President Trump for his signature. 

The text of the resolution is available here. More background on how a Joint Resolution works is available here

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