“We are blessed in VA to have a delegation that works together for Virginia. Political differences are second to our focus of serving the people and the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said Congresswoman Elaine Luria.
On November 23rd, the Hampton Roads Chamber hosted the Congressional Forum, a virtual event designed to allow Hampton Roads Congressional Representatives to answer questions from the business community.
Tom Prevette of Bon Secours made the Presenting Sponsor remarks, focusing on staying healthy during the winter months of COVID. “As COVID surges, I wanted to thank the Chamber and fellow healthcare providers for their unwavering support. As we enter into the winter months, we all need to take care of each other. Everyone must remain vigilant, take precautions, and please follow public safety measures,” said Prevette.
Tom Chamberlain of EdLogics presented the Health Literacy Sponsor remarks. He gave a brief overview of the work EdLogics is doing to further health literacy in Hampton Roads and how smarter decision making leads to healthier people and healthier employees.
Each Congressional Representative had the chance to address the virtual audience on what they have accomplished this past term, and what they hope to do going forward.
Congressman Bobby Scott, of the 3rd District, began the presentation by addressing the pandemic’s effect on the economy, education, and the labor force. Congressman Scott serves as the chairman of the Education and Labor Committee. “We are working together cooperatively. Our economy is a mess and will not be fixed until we get the virus under control. I have been working hard on three main focus areas; maintaining all students’ access to quality education, maintaining a safe workplace, and affordable healthcare,” said Scott.
Congressman Rob Wittman, of the 1st District, spoke on the Department of Defense and the National Defense Authorization Act—the bill that authorizes spending and sets forth the policies for the Department of Defense—for Fiscal Year 2021. This legislation is vital to keeping America safe, building and maintaining strong relationships with our allies, and promoting peace around the world. He also spoke on Broadband and its growing importance to our region. “Broadband is important to our businesses who now need to operate online, schools doing virtual, and telehealth. Access to Broadband is a challenge, you need high speed to be able to participate. I believe in the next two years we’ll see more for broadband than we have in the past ten,” explained Wittman.
Congressman Donald McEachin, of the 4th District, spoke on Natural Resources and Environmental Justice. He described the investments that will be made in areas relying heavily on fossil fuels. He also commented on COVID-19 and his optimism for the vaccine. “Economic opportunities exist for Hampton Roads. We know that we are not going to be able to jumpstart the economy by flipping a switch after COVID ends. We need to focus on building a twenty-first-century economy,” said McEachin.
Congresswoman Elaine Luria, of the 2nd District, spoke on the health of the Chesapeake Bay, and specific bay clean-up projects she has helped create during her first term. She also spoke on the economic opportunity offshore wind can bring to Hampton Roads. As a veteran herself, and serving over 100,000 veterans in the 2nd District alone, Luria is very involved in Veteran’s issues. “I chair a subcommittee for disability assistance, and in my first term, I worked on addressing health issues such as toxic exposure. We need to take that burden off of the veteran to prove that their service exposed them to that toxin,” said Luria.
After each representative spoke on the issues they are working on, Bryan K. Stephens, President and CEO of the Hampton Roads Chamber, led a Q&A with questions provided from the audience.
COVID-19 relief packages, The Port of Virginia, Infrastructure, Department of Defense and Mental Health issues were all addressed during the Q&A.
Thank you to our sponsors for making this event possible.