Bell Sounds from the 20th - June 6, 2014

I hope you are enjoying the start of summer!

 I wish that I had more to report on the progress of the budget, but unfortunately no movement has been made since my last update.  There are some promising signs that the conferees could be ready to restart negotiations, and I remain hopeful that we will be able to reach some sort of agreement and pass a budget prior to the June 30th deadline. 

 Unfortunately it appears that we may not be able to return to Richmond until late June, as Democratic leadership in the Senate has indicated that they are unwilling to move forward until one of their members returns to the country from a vacation.

I will do my best do keep you updated on the progress of the budget as we approach the deadline. In the meantime, I would like to provide you with some updates on things that have been going on here in the district.

Legislative Branch Savings

Despite the dire revenue numbers we heard previously this month, we did have some positive news come out of Richmond this week.  On Thursday, Speaker of the House of Delegates William J. Howell announced $7,356,129 in legislative branch savings that will be returned to the general fund at the end of FY 2014.  This includes $3.7 million in savings from legislative branch agencies and over $3.5 million in savings from legislative commissions and councils.

I believe that these savings are a testament to the fiscally conservative and responsible approach to governing that we have worked so hard to achieve.  At a time of continued economic uncertainty, Virginia’s taxpayers are right to expect their government to live within its means.

These savings are especially critical given the potential budget shortfall for the fiscal year.  I am grateful that our agency heads and legislative branch employees have worked so hard to be good stewards of our limited resources over the last few years. This has lead to over $19 million in savings since 2010. 

For a detailed list of agency savings, please click here.

 Golden Apple Award

I am pleased to announce that just yesterday I was presented with the Golden Apple Award from at their end of year celebration.  

The Golden Apple Award is awarded to legislators who promote school choice. This is such an honor, and I am so grateful and humbled to receive this award.  I have made school choice, and specifically virtual education, a top priority throughout my time in the House of Delegates, and I will continue to do so as long as I have the privilege to serve.

 Woodmen of the World Community Partnership Award

 Additionally, I was honored to receive the Community Partnership Award from our local Woodmen of the World.  This award is given annually to someone that they feel has made a significant contribution to their community.  This is truly an honor and I would like to thank the Woodmen of the World for this recognition.

2014 Outstanding Academic Achievers

This time of year, it is common for us to see a number of high school students who are recognized and honored for their academic and extracurricular accomplishments.

On May 13, I was pleased to attend a reception hosted by the Greater Augusta Chamber of Commerce honoring Staunton, Augusta and Waynesboro’s 2014 Outstanding Academic Achievers.  These students are the best of the best in the class of 2014, and I am excited to see how they will excel in the future.

This year, we were involved a bit more in the Academic Achievers program than I have been in previous years.  My office was pleased to sponsor a $1,000 scholarship, which was awarded to Mary Desmond, a senior at Riverheads.  Mary plans to attend a university in Virginia where she will study broadcast journalism.  I hope that the scholarship will be useful to her as she continues her academic pursuits.

The other Outstanding Academic Achievers of the class of 2014 were:

 Buffalo Gap High School

Dakota Moneymaker     Maryanna Turnage     Mercedes Moore


Fishburne Military School

Edwin Lopez


Fort Defiance High School

Charles Good     Caleb Baxter     Rebekah Flick


Ridgeview Christian School

Holly Lyons


Riverheads High School

Mary Desmond     Casey Dawn Gailey     Rebecca Lynn Hite


Robert E. Lee High School

Robert Rizzo     Natalie Cascario     Martha Sheridan


Stuarts Draft High School

Elena Miller     Kimberly Daw     Alexandra Steege


Stuart Hall

Shiyao Sun     Elijah Rinaldi     Anatolia Ebru Hodson


Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind

Hannah Nicole Mills     Scarlet Racey


Waynesboro High School

Zachary Pereles     Ryley Stevens     Andrew Bihl

Wilson Memorial High School

Phillip Seaton     Andrew Christian White     Miles Harnad


Congratulations to these Academic Achievers, and to the Class of 2014!

 Rotary Code of Ethics

On the afternoon of May 27, I was also pleased to attend the 2014 Rotary Code of Ethics luncheon sponsored by the Staunton Rotary Club. 

 Each year, the Staunton Rotary honors students from each local high school that have demonstrated strong individual values and ethics.  These students are great role models for their peers, and I would like to congratulate each of them. 

The Code of Ethics Award recipients are:


Buffalo Gap High School

Maryanna Turnage     Cole Young


Fishburne Military School

Sutton Jones


Fort Defiance High School

Brock Barnes     Andrea Wright


Grace Christian School

Justin Bowles     Jessica Law


Highland High School

Paige Fisher     Robert Moyers


Ridgeview Christian School

William Campbell     Kirsten Dolack


Riverheads High School

John Bussard     Elizabeth Milo


Robert E. Lee High School

David Eiker     Olivia Pyanoe


Stuarts Draft High School

Lilley Fitzgerald     Drew Gibbons


Stuart Hall

Elijah Rinaldi     Anatolia Hodson


Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind

Tyler Gumm     Hannah Mills


Waynesboro High School

Zachary Allen     Janitha Bellamy


Wilson Memorial High School

Robert Fern     Whitney Harris


Upcoming Events

 As summer approaches, so do the various lawn parties, fairs, and other celebrations that come with it. Here is a list of the events in our district. I hope to see you out at many of these events!

 July 3-4

America’s Birthday Celebration at Gypsy Hill Park

July 9-12

Churchville Lawn Party

Stuarts Draft Lawn Party

July 12

Waynesboro Extravaganza


August 5-9

Augusta County Fair

 August 30 – September 6

Highland County Fair


Though there’s no election for the House of Delegates this year, the need for money is still very real.  We must spread our positive message of small government, fiscal responsibility, and valley values across Virginia. I use campaign funds for mailings and other materials that help keep voters in the 20th District informed on the happenings in Richmond.  For this, I need your help.  You can donate at, or by mailing a check to Post Office Box 239, Staunton, Virginia 24402.   


 I always enjoy hearing from many of you regarding the issues that matter most to you. You can reach us by email at,

or by phone at 540-448-3999.

 You can also reach us by mail at Post Office Box 239, Staunton, Virginia 24402.

  Thank you for allowing me to serve as your delegate.



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