I hope you are enjoying the summer! I have had the opportunity to see many of you at local lawn parties, baseball games, and other events, and I hope to still see many of you before summer’s end.
I’d like to give you a brief update on some things that have been happening legislatively as well as on the campaign trail!
We learned just over a week ago that Virginia ended the fiscal year with a $553 million budget surplus. I believe that this is the direct result of the Republican-led General Assembly’s conservative budgeting and responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars.
Getting to this point certainly has not been an easy road. Last year, the General Assembly took unprecedented action to convene a special session to close a projected $2.4 billion revenue shortfall. And earlier this year, we adopted conservative budget amendments to keep spending in check.
Despite our fiscal challenges, we were still able to fund the core functions of government like K-12 education and public safety, provide a pay raise to teachers, state police officers and sheriff’s deputies. Because we met our revenue projections, these pay raises will now kick in.
It is important to note that the surplus funds are already accounted for. The bulk of the surplus, about $477 million, will go back to the rainy day fund as the Constitution and budget requires. The remaining portions will go to the Water Quality Improvement Fund and for transportation projects.
While I am very excited to be able to share this news, we are certainly not out of the woods yet and we must continue to be cautious about the future.
Virginia’s economy is still struggling. We reported zero percent growth in the first quarter of this year and recently fell to 12th in CNBC’s list of Top States for Business. Sequestration only adds to the uncertainty ahead. Now more than ever we must continue to be conservative and responsible with our budgeting and remain focused on strengthening our economy.
Augusta County Fair
The Augusta County fair is upon us! The fair kicks off from Tuesday, August 4 and runs through Saturday August 8. For more information about the fair, including hours and a schedule of events, you can visit their website at http://www.augustacountyfairva.com/.
The Augusta County Republican Committee has a booth once again this year. I will be attending the fair and will spend some time at the booth so feel free to stop by if you are there. This is a great place to pick up a yard sign, bumper sticker, or literature for myself or any of our 2015 Republican candidates.
If you are interested in volunteering at the Republican booth, please let me know and I will be happy to get you in touch with the appropriate people.
This campaign season we will be lucky enough to have 3 Republican Headquarters in our area. The Waynesboro and Augusta Republican committees already have their headquarters open, and the Staunton City committee has plans to open theirs on September 1.
The Waynesboro Headquarters is located in Willow Oak Plaza in Waynesboro. Augusta County has opened theirs on Route 11 in Verona, next to Shipplett Cleaners. The Staunton City Committee will be opening their headquarters in September on N Central Avenue in the old Fireplaces and Things building across from Scott and Stringfellow.
I know that all three committees will be looking for volunteers to help keep their headquarters open. If you are interested in volunteering, please let me know.
Volunteer on my Campaign
As we continue to ramp up our campaign, we are looking for people who are willing to help out. There are several things that we are looking for, including yard sign locations and door to door volunteers.
We have 4x8 signs, 4x4 signs, and yard signs available. We have already started putting them out, so if you would like one at your home or business please let me know and we will make arrangements to get one to you as soon as possible.
We are also looking for volunteers to knock on doors and help us spread our message. This is a great way to get to know people in your community and is extremely valuable to me in ensuring that our supporters turn out to the polls this November.
If you would like to volunteer on our campaign or if you need a yard sign, email me at Dickie@BellforDelegate.com.
Save the Date for the Valley Business Summit
Please save the date for the third annual Valley Business Summit at Blue Ridge Community College. This year’s event will be held on Wednesday, August 26. Registration will begin at 7:30am and the event should conclude by noon.
The event is FREE of charge and open to any business owner/manager or aspiring entrepreneur. Barry DuVal, President of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, will be the keynote speaker. Participants will have the opportunity to learn more about what resources may be available to assist in starting or growing their business, and they will actually be able to connect with officials from various agencies and organizations that can help them pursue these resources. More details will be forthcoming soon, but be sure to mark your calendar.
Save the Date for an Evening of BBQ and Bluegrass
If you have not already done so, please mark your calendars for an evening of BBQ and Bluegrass! We will be hosting our annual barbecue at 6:00 pm on Thursday, October 1. This is always a wonderful, family friendly event. We will have Mrs. Rowe’s Barbecue and music by Flattbroke! Kris Neil will once again join us as the emcee. More details will be forthcoming, but for now please save the date!
Over the coming weeks there will be a slight change in our office that I need to inform you about. As some of you may already be aware, my Legislative Aide, Savanna, is expecting and due July 31. This of course means that sometime around the end of July or beginning of August, she will be going on maternity leave.
Our office will continue to function, but as Savanna is my only staff member, it may affect the promptness of our replies.
From late July through early September, I encourage you to use email as the primary way to contact me. For legislative inquiries, please email me at DelDBell@house.virginia.gov. For campaign information, please use firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would prefer to send us written correspondence, you can continue to do so at Post Office Box 239, Staunton, Virginia 24402.
We certainly appreciate your patience and understanding.
As always, thank you for allowing me to serve as your delegate.