Bell Sounds from the 20th
It's 5 days until Christmas! It is also just under three weeks until the start of the 2012 General Assembly Session. I want to take just a few minutes of your time to provide a couple of updates to you regarding the 2013 Session.
Before I begin, however, I would like to express my deepest sympathy to the victims, their families, and to all who were affected by the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut. This was an unthinkable national tragedy, and Anne and I have this community in our continued thoughts and prayers.
Events like this remind us of how fragile life really is. This tragedy is an important reminder of why we must continue to focus on improving access to mental health services in the Commonwealth. I’m certain that as we approach the 2013 Session we will continue the discussion on how this type of tragedy can be prevented, and as always I welcome your feedback.
Dutch-Treat Town Hall Breakfast Meetings
As I’ve done in the past, this year I will be hosting two dutch-treat town hall breakfast meetings.
The first will be held on Saturday, December 29 at 8:30 am at Mrs. Rowe’s Restaurant in Staunton (74 Rowe Road).
The second will be held at 8:30 am on Saturday, January 5 at Golden Corral in Waynesboro (51 Apple Tree Lane).
I have already received RSVPs from a number of you. If you have not RSVP’d and plan to attend one or both of these breakfasts, please let us know no later than Wednesday, December 26. We need to have an accurate count to give the restaurant. You can RSVP to Savanna by emailing her at email@example.com, or by phone at 540-448-3999.
Joint Town Hall Meeting
In addition to the Town Hall breakfast meetings, Delegate Landes, Cline, and I have decided to host a joint town hall meeting. We will be providing an overview of the 2013 Session, as well as taking your questions. The meeting will be held at 7:00 pm on Thursday, January 2 at Guy Stump Elementary in Stuarts Draft. We hope to see you out!
This week, Governor McDonnell announced his amendments to the FY2012-2014 Budget. It is important to note that this is in no way a final product.
Given the uncertainty we currently see with the economy, and in particular the uncertainty we see in Washington right now, it is very important that we exercise restraint and work with the Governor to produce a fiscally sound budget.
Just last year, we produced a balanced budget that had key investments in the core services of government. We reduced unfunded liabilities for the state pension plan by $9 billion, included over $500 million in new funding for K-12 education, invested over $100 million to moderate tuition costs, and invested over $44 million for the health care safety net.
This year, Governor McDonnell has proposed spending increases that focus on six major “themes”.
These themes include:
- To provide adequate funding for core services and reduce structural imbalances and gimmicks
- To increase liquidity to guard against future economic uncertainty and the potential impact of federal spending reductions
- To increase support for instructional spending on public education
- To continue investments in higher education
- To improve funding for transportation
- To improve support for localities
While I do not believe this budget is perfect, I believe it is a good starting point. I look forward to continuing this conversation once we get to Richmond.
For more information on the Governor’s proposed budget amendments, please see that Governor’s press release at http://www.governor.virginia.gov/News/viewRelease.cfm?id=1559.
Our office will be closed for Christmas from Friday December 21, 2012 through Wednesday, December 26.
Additionally, we will be closed on January 1, 2013 for New Years.
This time of year is a particularly busy time of year for us, and our email volume increases substantially. Occasionally, our spam filters will block email that we would not consider to be spam. This happens particularly often with email that is forwarded, email that does not have a subject in the subject line, and some “form letters”. Please take this into consideration when sending us email.
We make an effort to look through our spam folder to ensure that nothing has been captured that is not spam, however unfortunately sometimes we are unable to catch everything.
We do our best to respond to your emails in as timely of a manner as possible. However as Session grows closer, and the volume of email we receive increases, it sometimes takes us a few days to get back to you. We appreciate your patience and understanding.
As you are likely aware, 2013 is an election year, and I will be up for re-election. December 31 marks an important campaign finance deadline, and it is important that we make a strong showing.
I need your help to do this. We would greatly appreciate your donation of any amount.
Virginia state law requires legislators to suspend our fundraising efforts while we are in session, but our campaign for re-election will begin immediately after session adjourns.
We need to be ready to hit the ground running. We would greatly appreciate your donation of any amount. In order to be counted for the December 31 deadline, we must receive the donation by 11:59 pm on December 31.
You can donate online at www.bellfordelegate.com, or you can mail a donation to Dickie Bell for Delegate, Post Office Box 239, Staunton, VA 24402.
If you are unable to attend one of the town hall events, but would like to provide feedback on one or more issues for the upcoming session, we encourage that feedback. You can reach us by phone at 540-448-3999, or by email at DelDBell@house.virginia.gov.
On Monday, January 7 we will begin operating out of our Richmond office. The phone number in Richmond is804-698-7618.
I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and a prosperous New Year! I hope that you enjoy spending time with family and friends!