The 434 Newsletter 

Keeping You Informed
Highlighting July 2020

The Rundown

Brief Updates
  • My City Council contact info has been assigned: (434) 509-3186, Contact me anytime.
  • Maryjane Dolan was selected as Mayor and Beau Wright was selected as Vice-Mayor. Along with Councilman Helgeson, I supported Councilman Nelson for both positions.
  • I was appointed to the Physical Development Committee for Lynchburg City Council, which primarily works on capital improvement and infrastructure projects. 
  • Lynchburg City School Board released their Hybrid "Return to Learn" Plan for this upcoming school year.

A Time To Listen

"Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply." - Stephen R. Covey

      On July 9th, 15th, and 29th, I attended the Lynchburg Police Department Listening Sessions. This event (pictured) was located at the Diamond Hill Community Center. I will do my best to summarize what we as a community can put into action as a result from this session. 

  • Keep School Resource Officers in our Schools. They help set a positive perspective on our Police Officers. If anything, build upon this.
  • Build mentorship programs(s) with youth and our Police to help build, maintain, and expand positive relationships in our community.
  • Create more opportunities for officers to engage in recreational activities with the community. 
  • Meet all members of the community where they are at.

     I know our Police Department will continue to listen and make positive changes in their operations, always striving to keep our community safe. It is such an honor representing this kind of community, one that is brave enough to have tough conversations that, in the end, advance our City. 

The Lynchburg City School Board released their Hybrid "Return to Learn" plan for this upcoming school year. As we all can imagine, COVID-19 will make the daily operations a little different, to say the least.

What do you think of the plan? 

I value your feedback. Please take this SURVEY regarding the plan for this upcoming school year.
Follow me on my Facebook and Twitter Page
to continue to stay informed.

Them's the Rules

Well, More Like Guidelines, Perhaps

     The first meeting of a new City Council in Lynchburg has three primary functions. The first, elect the President of Council, or otherwise known as the Mayor; second, elect the Vice-President of Council, otherwise known as the Vice-Mayor; and, third, to adopt Council's Rules of Procedure.

     I would like to take this moment to discuss the third item from our agenda at our first meeting.

     Recently, the Rules of Council have been put in the eye of the public due to a stipulation in those rules that mandates 12 hours notice for calling an emergency meeting. There was concern that a meeting from a few weeks ago was not legal due to the manner in which it was called - the Rules were voted to be suspended and thus the 12 hour notice for a special meeting was nullified. This creates a concern among some members of Council, including myself.

     Now, this changed; 12 hour notice is not required, rather it is a guideline. We are told these meetings, if a 12 hour notice is not feasible, members of Council, and by association the public, will be given notice "reasonable under the circumstances" and Council will vote to affirm if there is justification for calling said special meeting.

     In short, I disagree with this amendment to our Rules for the simple reason it does not give enough time for the public, i.e., the voters and citizens of Lynchburg (our bosses) to view the meeting agenda and provide commentary to Council Members. There should be some understanding between Council and the public of what timeline we will have set in stone for having special or emergency meetings. We as legislators and policy makers need to do whatever we can to allow for the public to contact their representatives on Council and offer insight. I would argue this amendment limits this engagement. Unfortunately, the majority of Lynchburg City Council thought otherwise.

     While Councilman Helgeson's motion to maintain the current language in the Rules failed, I am proud to have supported it. 

     I will always advocate for the community to have every ability and opportunity to engage with Council.

View my comments from the Organizational Meeting in this short video.

Advancing Lynchburg's Infrastructure

Building Our Future
     The Lynchburg Region Transportation Advocacy Group (LRTAG) is a private-sector umbrella organization representing the area’s major employers and other industries (including construction, manufacturing, and retail) that rely on a viable, sustainably and equitably-funded multi-modal transportation network for the success of their business and the strength of the region’s overall economy. They work to advance our regional transpiration system, advocating for state funding to improve our network. 

     I attended their latest meeting where a variety of items were highlighted. 
  • Lynchburg Regional Airport updates
  • 2045 Long Range Transportation Plan
  • Virginia Department of Transportation update on Regional Projects
  • Discussion on other major projects and priorities
     Investment in our network from a transportation standpoint is a critical part of economic development, and I believe it is equally important local leaders (like members of Council) are at the table, ready to work collaboratively with our business community and regional partners to put our community in a position to succeed. 

     Attending this meeting was very beneficial and I look forward to advancing these projects and being an advocate for our community. 

Community Spotlight

On the 13th, I attended a Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance Grand Opening for Mardel Christian Bookstore, located on Wards Road next to Hobby Lobby. This is a great addition to the Lynchburg business community and I am excited for their investment in our area.


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