We must prepare our children to compete for the jobs of the future, and education is the foundation for their future success. House Democrats have consistently fought to maintain a strong public education system in the Commonwealth, and we will continue to do so. We must make sure our youngest, most vulnerable children have the opportunity to realize their full potential. Early childhood education, including pre-k and full-day kindergarten, ensures that all children, particularly those from low-income homes, are prepared to meet the challenges and rigors of school.
Our commitment to education does not stop at K-12 education. House Democrats support job training and continuing education programs for adults that provide the skills needed to compete for new well-paying jobs. We want our higher education system to be second to none.
We are committed to fully funding the needs of our public schools and oppose attempts to take money away from our students and teachers through budget maneuvers and formula gimmicks. With Virginia’s teachers earning nearly $5,350 less than the national average (Congressional Quarterly’s Education State Rankings 2010-2011), Democrats have led the charge to raise teacher pay and ensure funding takes into account the actual costs of education.
Virginia's system for lifetime education, from early childhood through adulthood, is one of our most valuable assets. We are committed to preparing our children for the jobs of the future and equipping them with the knowledge and skills to compete in the new economy.
Democrats are committed to fighting for the rights and equality of LGBT Virginians. We support the repeal of the Marshall-Newman Amendment because Virginians deserve the fundamental right to marry the person they love. We continue to strongly support nondiscrimination policies in the workplace, and will continue to fight until the rights and equality of all Virginians are protected.
Our top priority is ensuring that every Virginian has a job to support themselves and his/her family. One of our goals is to attract new businesses and industries to our state that will create new jobs. Attracting these businesses to the Commonwealth requires us to make investments in the quality of life of our people and our communities including education and transportation. Our children must be well-educated and well-trained to compete for jobs in the emerging economy, and we must have a transportation system that allows for ease of movement for commerce and for individuals around Virginia.
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and create new jobs every day. Our caucus will continue to support measures that encourage the entrepreneurial spirit of Virginians who own their businesses and create jobs that employ Virginia citizens.
Our vibrant tourism industry brings new visitors and businesses to Virginia every day. We must continue to promote tourism to Virginia's natural attractions, historic sites, museums and cultural attractions through proactive legislation that includes targeted economic development efforts.
In 2013 House Democrats were critical in passing the first comprehensive transportation funding package in the Commonwealth in 27 years. The bipartisan plan provides more than $4 billion per year to help to repair and modernize our infrastructure, provide jobs, grow our economy, and improve the overall quality of life for all Virginians.
We must continue to improve our transportation system to alleviate traffic and congestion throughout the Commonwealth, invest in rail and mass transit, and ensure that our transportation network is safe, reliable, and well-maintained for hardworking Virginians who use it.
A woman’s personal and private medical decision should not be controlled by politicians in Richmond. Over the past several years, Democrats have fought against measures aimed at undermining Virginia women’s reproductive health and rights. We will strongly oppose legislation that denies women access to comprehensive health care and will work to repeal the medically unnecessary ultrasound law and other impediments to comprehensive health services.