RICHMOND -- In July, Senator Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) embarked on an eleven-day road trip through Southside and Southwest Virginia. Some of the cities that she visited include Farmville, Danville, Martinsville, Marion, Bristol, Abington, and Galax. Senator Howell recaps her experiences and thoughts about her trip. 

July 10: We are off!

Key Quote: “Hunt and I were reading The Extremes of Virginia by August Wallmeyer and we agreed we should visit sometime. The two regions are facing daunting challenges -- economic, educational, lifestyle, workforce, and health. Local leaders and economic development officials are working very hard with mixed results. The state is trying to assist but often we are uncertain what exactly to do.”

July 16: Visiting the Villes: Farmville, Danville, Martinsville, Hillsville

Key Quote: “The second evening had a special meaning for me! Coincidental to our visit, the Commonwealth's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission was having a commemoration of Dr. King's visit to Danville fifty-five years ago. The meeting was at High Street Church where I slept two nights while doing civil rights work. So many memories overwhelmed me while sitting in those pews. Several leaders of the demonstrations spoke to a very large audience. Here I am speaking to the group along with Senator Jennifer McClellan, who chairs the Commission, and several civil rights leaders.”

July 18: Visiting Southwest Virginia #1

Key Quote: “After a lovely lunch at UVA-Wise, we went to the Health Wagon. What an inspiration that was! You probably have seen reports about the Health Wagon on 60 Minutes. Two women - Doctor Teresa Tyson and Doctor Paula Hill - saw the medical needs in their area and set up the Health Wagon more than three decades ago. They run two clinics and a mobile Winnebago unit that travels to people in remote, hard to reach areas. They utilize every program imaginable to bring medical care and medicines to people in need. For example, they used drones to demonstrate how to deliver medicines to hard to reach patients.”

July 23: Heading Into Coal Country

Key Quote: “Will Morefield and I are from different parties, different regions, different generations, and different genders. But, we can and will work together. He has several intriguing ideas on how our regions can work together for the benefit of both. Hunt and I invited him to stay with us a couple days in the fall so I can introduce him to business and technology leaders in Northern Virginia. He has accepted - I hope something concrete and positive will come out of his visit!”

July 24: Roanoke Times Editorial

Key Quote: “This might not be remarkable except for one thing: Howell is one of Virginia's senior state legislators, having represented a state Senate district in Fairfax County since 1992. She's not just any senior state legislator, either. She's a member of the Senate Finance Committee, through which the state budget must pass. A Democrat, she's in the minority in the General Assembly at the moment, but politics have a way of changing. Republicans currently hold a slim 21-19 advantage in the state Senate. If Democrats manage to flip just two seats in next year's legislative elections, Howell would become the chair of Senate Finance, a position whose power sometimes rivals that of the governor. Howell may not be a household name in this part of the state, but the votes she casts in Richmond have a direct bearing on all of us.”

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