by DPVA Chair Susan Swecker
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from watching this year’s legislative session, it’s that Democrats are still fighting for you, Virginia.
From the House to the Senate, Democrats are still fighting to expand health care, grow our economy, and ensure that every Virginia student has the opportunity to get a world-class education.
Virginia Republicans have fought to strip millions of dollars in funding away from our public schools, restrict women’s reproductive rights, and weaken life-saving gun violence prevention laws, but Democrats have fought them head on–stopping them from rolling back the years of progress we’ve made in the commonwealth.
And, while Virginia Democrats have been hard at work defeating Republican attempts to take us backward, they’ve also been putting forward legislation to help move us forward.
Virginia Democrats have proposed a generational investment in education of $2.7 billion, which is hundreds of millions more than Virginia Republicans are willing to invest. The Democratic budget proposes a 5% raise in each ear of the budget and a one-time bonus for our incredible teachers–raises that Virginia Republicans reduced by 20%. Democrats also proposed investments in higher education, including $280 million for financial aid–which will greatly expand access to higher education for our most vulnerable students.
Virginia Democrats have fought hard to strengthen our healthcare system–proposing greatly needed funding to our psychiatric hospitals, community-based mental health care, and permanent supportive housing, which allows people to live successfully in their communities. Democrats also protected funding for the Virginia Mental Health Access Project, a program that expands access to mental health treatment, especially in rural areas, by training pediatricians to treat mental illness.
Virginia Republicans have been putting forward the same partisan attacks that we’ve seen for years, and Virginia Democrats have stood as a Brick Wall to protect your children’s education and your family’s health care from their attacks.
Now that this legislative session has wrapped up, it’s clear that we have a lot to be proud of. And, I’m so proud of the Democrats that we have fighting for us in the legislature–they worked tirelessly for us this year to protect us against Republican attacks and to expand upon the progress we’ve made.
I hope that when you see the progress they’ve made that you’re as proud as I am. Because, I can assure you, Virginia, they are fighting to create a better commonwealth for us all.