ICYMI: Senate Democratic Caucus Holds Press Conference rolling out the 2015 Opportunity Agenda

Richmond, Va. – This morning, the Senate Democratic Caucus held a press conference to highlight Democratic Senators’ priorities through the 2015 legislative session. The list was by no means exhaustive, but included the following –

1.       Opportunity for economic security

Senator Dave Marsden (D-Fairfax) said, “Senate Democrats have already seen a number of minimum wage bills hit the floor. It is our opinion as a Caucus that Virginians deserve a raise. We believe that this is integral to a New Virginia Economy, where hardworking Virginians should receive an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work. Our Republican colleagues continue to put big business before everyday Virginians. Other measures that we are fighting for this week include equal pay for equal work and paid sick leave, with a view to extending the opportunity for economic security to all Virginians.”

2.       Opportunity to participate

Senator Lynwood Lewis (D-Accomack) said, “All Virginians must have the opportunity to participate fairly in our democratic processes,” said Senator Lynwood Lewis. “Gerrymandering in our state is a fundamental problem that will lead to Washington style gridlock. The problem is highlighted by the disconnect between statewide election results and Congressional and Legislative elections. Senate Democrats will keep fighting for a non-partisan redistricting commission to address this issue. My colleagues and I also have a number of bills up this year to expand absentee voting opportunities, to loosen voter ID requirements, and to expedite the restoration of rights process for Virginians convicted of nonviolent felonies.”

3.       Opportunity for equality

Senator Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) said, “We support Governor McAuliffe’s efforts to make Virginia a state that is welcoming and open for business to all. The realities of 2015 must be addressed by the General Assembly. That includes a woman’s right to control her own health decisions, equal opportunities for all regardless of national origin, race or sexual orientation.”

4.       Opportunity for a brighter future

Senator John Edwards (D-Roanoke) said, “We believe that all Virginians deserve the opportunity for a brighter future, and access to a quality education. Virginia has some of the best schools in the country, and yet some of our kids are still falling through the cracks. Our children deserve better. My colleagues and I are working to expedite SOL retake opportunities, limit the number of SOLs that students are required to take, and commission a study into the needs of urban schools, looking at how we might better support our students – to name a few.”

5.       Opportunity to restore faith in government

Senator Jennifer Wexton (D-Loudoun) said, “Virginians’ trust in their elected officials has taken blow after blow over the last 12 months,” Senator Jennifer Wexton said. “A big priority for Senate Democrats this year is to fight for ethics reform. We must seize this opportunity to restore faith in government. We have proposals for the foundation of a Virginia Independent Commission on Ethics, and to cap gifts at $100, to name just two.

6.       Opportunity to lead healthier and safer lives

Senator Barbara Favola (D-Arlington) said, “From Medicaid expansion to common sense gun legislation, I and my colleagues in the Democratic Caucus are supportive of all proposals that will make our communities healthier and safer. I have a number of bills up this year geared towards better supporting victims of domestic violence and keeping guns out of the hands of their abusers; with other bills focused on making daycare facilities safer for our children. We are committed to identifying opportunities for Virginians to lead healthier and safer lives.”


The full press conference is available here (part 1) and here (part 2).

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