The newly-minted Progressive Caucus of the Virginia General Assembly includes the entire Arlington delegation to the House of Delegates.
Dels. Bob Brink, Adam Ebbin, David Englin and Patrick Hope are all listed as members of the group.
“Progressive values are Virginia values,” Hope said in a press release announcing the caucus’ formation. “The Progressive Caucus serves to fight for the interests of the average citizen and to educate the public on Progressive issues.”
“While Virginia can be slow to change, we have to keep pace with the times when it comes to issues like stem cell research, global warming and society’s attitudes towards gays and lesbians,” said Ebbin. “As progressives, it is important that we stand together as we work to move Virginia forward.”
“It’s time for progressive legislators to organize and work together to advance the progressive values that we share, so we can keep our Commonwealth moving toward that day when every person – including the poor, the elderly, the week, the dispossessed – has a fair shake and an equal shot at the American dream,” Englin said.
Conspicuously absent from the group is Arlington’s state senator, Mary Margaret Whipple.
The state Senate yesterday unanimously gave final approval to a bill that will permit the production of hard cider at higher alcohol levels.
The bill’s original sponsor, Del. David Englin (D), says that Virginia’s apples naturally ferment at an alcohol content between four and 10 percent, but current state law caps that level at seven percent.
“If we let them produce real Virginia cider, the kind that Thomas Jefferson served at his dinner table, we’ll clear the way for Virginia to become the world’s leading producer of this popular libation,” said Englin, who represents parts of Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax County.
“This is a jobs bill,” Englin added.
Englin issued the following press release about the bill this morning.
Richmond – With a final unanimous vote in the Virginia Senate, the General Assembly yesterday passed the Virginia Cider Act, which will allow Virginia cider producers to naturally ferment their cider without artificially capping the alcohol content. House Bill 2295, sponsored by Delegate David Englin (D-45), will launch a renaissance in Virginia’s burgeoning hard cider industry, opening the door for Virginia to become the world’s leading producer of traditional hard cider, according to industry experts.
“This legislation is a critical breakthrough for those dedicated to reintroducing Virginia and America to the libation our forebears made and enjoyed in the agrarian society from which we sprung. It will be a significant support to the development of a new industry, attractive to the tourists who visit our Commonwealth as well as our own people,” said Charlotte Shelton, founder and owner of Albemarle CiderWorks, who testified for the bill. “This legislation permits Virginia ciderists to produce a natural beverage without amendment reminiscent of what Jefferson served at Monticello and what Washington produced and served at Mount Vernon. Before this bill, Virginia ciders were required to be seven percent alcohol or less. Our apples do not know this. Apples grown in Virginia ferment naturally to something between four and 10 percent alcohol. This legislation frees Virginia ciderists to make the beverage apples were meant to produce, without amendment or adulteration.”
“I’m honored to have had the opportunity to help a burgeoning industry and to support the market for locally-grown Virginia apples,” said Englin, who carried the bill at the request of the Virginia Wine Council, whose members include cider producers. “My constituents are ecologically-conscious urbanites with a strong preference for locally-grown and locally-made agriculture products. This is an example of the mutually-beneficial relationship between urban and rural parts of our state.”
“One does not know how to predict how far it may develop or may grow,” said Shelton. “After all, 30 years ago, the very term Virginia wine was a virtual oxymoron, but today there are nearly 200 wineries in Virginia and Virginia wines have achieved an international reach. How much more logical to think that Virginia Cider may do as well or better? After all, grapes were a problematical crop for Mr. Jefferson, but he had two orchards, one devoted exclusively to cider apples.”
Delegate David Englin is Vice Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and is serving his third term in the Virginia House of Delegates, where he represents the 45th District, which includes parts of the City of Alexandria, Fairfax County, and Arlington County. An Air Force veteran, Englin is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He serves on the Finance Committee, the Health, Welfare, and Institutions Committee, and the Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources Committee. For more information, visit http://www.davidenglin.org.
I-395 HOT Lanes Could Be Reconsidered — Virginia Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton tells Potomac Local that should High Occupancy Toll lanes on the Beltway and I-95 prove successful, HOT lanes could still be added to I-395. On Tuesday Arlington County announced they were withdrawing their lawsuit against a planned HOT lanes project on I-395, following an announcement from VDOT that they would no longer pursue HOT lanes between Arlington and Alexandria. [Potomac Local]
DCA Baggage Handler Gets Trapped in Cargo Hold — A baggage handler at Reagan National Airport became trapped in the cargo hold of a plane after another baggage handler closed the cargo door without realizing someone was still inside. The trapped employee had to yell and pound on the ceiling to get the attention of the plane’s co-pilot. [TBD]
Webb Won’t Run for Reelection — Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) said yesterday that he will not run for reelection in 2012. The senator’s announcement opens up the race to Democratic hopefuls and should improve the chances of former Senator George Allen, who will likely win the Republican nomination. Former governor Tim Kaine is now expected to seek the Democratic nomination. Del. David Englin, who represents part of Arlington, is also said to be considering a run. [Politico]
Flickr pool photo by Jason OX4
Bill Would Increase Handicap Parking Fine — Del. David Englin (D) — a prolific proposer of legislation — has introduced a bill that would increase the maximum fine for illegally parking in a handicapped parking space from $500 to $750. The minimum fine would remain $100. [Sun Gazette]
Blog Conducts Cupcake Taste Test — Which has the better cupcake, the new Crumbs Bake Shop (2839 Clarendon Blvd) or Bakeshop (1025 N Fillmore St)? A local blog conducted a taste test and produced an exhaustive a 1,100+ word comparison. [Clarendon Culture]
Public Library to Hold “Cello-bration” — Cellist David Rabin will perform at the Columbia Pike Branch Library (816 S Walter Reed Drive) at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. The event, which is billed as fun for all ages, will feature the music of January birthday boys Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Jan. 27) and Franz Schubert (Jan. 31). [Arlington Public Library Blog]
Flickr pool photo by Jason OX4
Two local state legislators introduced twin bills today that would make bullying a crime and better equip public schools to protect bullying victims.
“Every child deserves to feel safe at school,” said Del. David Englin, a bill sponsor who represents parts of Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax County. “A child who doesn’t feel safe can’t learn well and live up to his or her potential.”
Another bill sponsor, Del. Adam Ebbin, cited the suicide of a bullied York County, Va. teenager as evidence of why the legislation is necessary. According to Ebbin, who also represents parts of Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax, the York County sheriff’s office refused to investigate the teen’s bullies because there’s no law on the books outlawing bullying.
“This is outrageous, it must be changed,” Ebbin said. “No student in Virginia should be afraid to attend school.”
Del. Ebbin’s bill, HB 1576, deals with criminal and civil penalties for bullying. According to a press release, it would:
- Make bullying a Class 1 misdemeanor
- Give victims the right to sue bullies who are sanctioned or found guilty
- Provide for expulsions
- Require that bullying causing injury be reported to the Commonwealth’s Attorney
Del. Englin’s bill, HB 1575, is called the Anti-Bullying Responsibility Act. According to a press release, it would:
- Add more specificity regarding bullying, harassment, and intimidation to the codes of student conduct required of local school divisions
- Require schools to have appropriate procedures in place to separate victims from bullies
- Change teacher training in bullying intervention from an optional to a required part of in-service training
- Require that incidents of bullying, harassment, and intimidation be reported to division superintendents
- Hold school administrators responsible for implementing anti-bullying procedures outlined in local policies
Del. David Englin (D), who represents parts of Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax, says Virginia’s $404 million budget surplus is the result of “irresponsible choices and budget gimmickry.”
Englin, Vice Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, says the surplus is the result of borrowing $600 million from the state pension trust fund and forcing state retailers to pay their July sales taxes early. That’s in addition to the $4 billion in cuts to state services that was needed to plug Virginia’s budget deficit.
“Instead of trying to score political points by claiming a surplus that isn’t, leaders of both parties ought to level with citizens who see for themselves the decline in services and quality of life,” Englin said in a statement. “A balanced budget and responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars requires money in to equal money out, without gimmicks that cook the books and risk our future finances.”
Gov. Bob McDonnell plans to spend the surplus on roads, education, the Chesapeake Bay cleanup and a one-time 3 percent bonus for state employees, according to the Washington Post.
After news of Al and Tipper Gore’s split broke yesterday, Shayna Englin, wife of Del. David Englin, asked via Twitter: “Aren’t there any ACTUALLY happy couples in DC?”
Today she apparently answered her own question.
“14 years, 3 cities, 1 child, 1 business, 1 political career and I’m still married to my (hot) best friend. Happy Anniversary @David_Englin!” she wrote.
Del. Englin, a Democrat who represents parts of Arlington and Alexandra in the Virginia General Assembly, later tweeted: “on the train to NY w/my hot wife to celebrate our 14th anniversary.”
That sounds much more exciting than examining the nuances of Arlington’s change-of-government petition. Here’s wishing the hot couple a happy anniversary.
Photo via Facebook.
Del. David Englin (D) is firing back at someone who sent him a not-so-nice email last night. He forwarded the letter to supporters and asked for contributions to “send this person a message.”
Here’s the email Englin received:
From: Eric [Last Name Redacted] Date: Tue, Apr 13, 2010 at 10:03 PM
Subject: Health Care
To: DelDEnglin [at] house.virginia.gov
So I hear you’re opposed to [Virginia Attorney General Ken] Cuccinelli’s lawsuit against the Health Care reform. Well, I’m here to tell you that I’m 110% FOR Cuccinelli and his lawsuit. You must be a loonatic to think the Health Care Bill will do anything but bankrupt America and create a Socialist, Government ruled land. You are the type of un-American trash that will be voted out and replaced with a real patriot. And I will be glad to see you go.
Have a great day,
Englin, who served in the military, said on Twitter that he “loves it when Tea Baggers who’ve never served a day in uniform in their life call me ‘un-American trash’ and call themselves ‘true patriots.'”
In his email, Englin explained the reason for forwarding the letter:
I’m forwarding this note I received last night — an example of the hate mail I’m getting from Tea Party activists for standing up to Ken Cuccinelli and his right-wing crusades.
As you can see, we can’t afford to take anything for granted. I need to raise $10,000 by mid-May to fund my annual post-session newsletter to constituents, both to keep them informed, and because the more they hear from me now, the more likely they will vote for me next year.
Englin represents parts of Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax County.
An imam from Falls Church gave a blessing at the state Capitol in Richmond today, despite protests from groups accusing him of being a “terrorist sympathizer.”
Del. Adam Ebbin (D), who represents part of Arlington and Falls Church, invited imam Johari Abdul-Malik of the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center to give today’s opening prayer.
Groups including the Virginia Anti-Shariah Task Force and the Traditional Values Coalition protested, citing Abdul-Malik’s comments about due process for Muslims arrested on terror charges, along with his mosque’s brief link to two of the 9/11 hijackers. In the past, Abdul-Malik has spoken out against violence and terrorism.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a statement about the protests.
“We cannot let a vocal minority of hate-mongers deny American Muslims their constitutionally-guaranteed right to take part in the political process,” said Corey Saylor, the group’s national legislative director.
Abdul-Malik delivered the prayer around noon today. Del. David Englin (D), who represents part of south Arlington, said on Twitter that he “enjoyed” the blessing, adding that it was “very well done.”
In an earlier statement, Abdul-Malik said: “My hope is that from this gathering we will all get know each other and build new bridges of understanding, no matter how much some narrow-minded people dislike it.”