Delegate Christopher K. Peace Appointed to Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation Board of Trustees

-- Speaker of the House appoints Peace to historic preservation board--

 Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) was recently appointed to serve on the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation (JYF) Board of Trustees.  The board is a state agency, consisting of members of the General Assembly and other state officials, as well as gubernatorial appointees and board-appointed members.  Members provide advice and counsel to Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation staff members and serve as a governing board for the foundation.

According to their website, the mission of JYF is to educate and to promote understanding and awareness of Virginia’s role in the creation of the United States of America.  The Foundation is an educational institution of the Commonwealth of Virginia and administers two living-history museums. Jamestown Settlement interprets the cultures of 17th-century colonial Jamestown, America’s first permanent English settlement, and the Powhatan Indians.  The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown interprets the impact of the American Revolution on the people of America and the development of the new nation.

Peace has a legislative record of working to preserve our rich and storied history across the Commonwealth.  In 2007, he successfully carried legislation to establish the Road to Revolution State Heritage Trail.  The Road to Revolution state heritage trail honors the first Governor of Virginia, Patrick Henry and pays homage to Henry’s leading role in liberating Virginia from Colonial rule to independence.  The Trail brings a considerable number of tourists to Central Virginia, as well as contributes to joint marketing and economic development efforts of localities.

“I am honored to serve on the Jamestown-Yorktown Board of Trustees.  We have a rich heritage and history in Virginia.  We must collaborate and find inclusive and creative opportunities for promoting these valuable resources to increase tourism revenue and highlight our important place in the foundation of our Nation,” stated Peace.

Peace’s historic preservation legislative record includes but is not limited to co-sponsoring a resolution Commemorating the 200th Anniversary of the birth of Robert E. Lee, passing legislation to create the Virginia Indian Commemorative Commission to establish a commemorative commission to honor the life, achievements, and legacy of Virginia Indians on the grounds of Capitol Square, passing a bill to create the Civil War Site Preservation Fund for the purpose of awarding grants to preserve endangered Virginia Civil War historic sites, passing legislation to establish the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 State Heritage Trail and co-sponsoring legislation to protect our war monuments and memorials.

Virginia Chamber of Commerce Names Delegate Chris Peace a Champion of Free Enterprise

Peace recognized for support of business and job creation

The Virginia Chamber of Commerce recently named Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) as a Champion of Free Enterprise for his support of pro-business policies during the 2018 legislative session.  The Free Enterprise Award recognizes legislators for their support for the principles and initiatives outlined in the Chamber’s long-term economic development plan, Blueprint Virginia 2025.

“We are pleased to recognize these legislators for their work to make Virginia the best state for business,” said Barry DuVal, president and CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. “The recommendations in Blueprint Virginia 2025 outline the business community’s plan to put us on track for long-term economic growth. The support of public policy leaders is key to ensuring Virginia continues to grow and prosper, and we are thankful for the leadership of these legislators.” 

Speaking to his strong pro-business record, Peace stated, “I am glad to know that I am rated one of Virginia’s most business-friendly conservatives. My voting record shows a consistent focus on opposing tax increases, protecting family values, defending the Constitution, promoting job creation and a high quality of life in Hanover, King William and New Kent counties.”

The Virginia Chamber of Commerce is the largest business organization in the Commonwealth, with more than 26,000 members. The Chamber is a non-partisan, business advocacy organization that works in the legislative, regulatory, civic and judicial arenas to act as the catalyst for positive change in all areas of economic development and competitiveness for Virginia. In December 2017, the Chamber released an update to its long-term strategic economic development plan, Blueprint Virginia 2025, which engaged over 6,000 business and community leaders to lay out a plan to getting Virginia back to the top of national business climate rankings. Learn more at www.vachamber.com.

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Delegate Chris Peace appointed to Select Committee on School Safety

            Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox announced on Thursday the formation of the “House Select Committee on School Safety” to review state and local policy on school safety and make recommendations for consideration by the General Assembly during the 2019 Session. Delegate Peace was appointed by Speaker Cox to serve on the Select Committee.

             “Ensuring our children are safe while attending school should be our number one priority in the Virginia House of Delegates,” said Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) “I applaud Speaker Cox for the formation of this Select Committee, and I look forward to working with the other members to propose meaningful solutions.”

             This is the first select committee formed in the House in 155 years. Select Committees are reserved for matters of considerable significance that cross the jurisdiction of conventional and established standing committees. Speaker Cox sent a letter to the Clerk of the House of Delegates on Thursday outlining the scope, membership and workplan of the Committee.

           "The House of Delegates led the effort in recent years to make our schools safer, but the tragedy in Parkland, Florida shows us that we must be ever-vigilant when it comes to school safety. We are taking a bold and significant step today to make school safety a top priority of the House of Delegates,” said Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights). “Delegate Peace will bring a unique perspective to the Select Committee, and I look forward to the ideas he will contribute to the important work ahead of the committee.”

         In his letter to the Clerk, Cox specifically limited the committee’s scope of work to strengthening emergency preparedness, hardening school security infrastructure, implementing security best practices, deploying additional security personnel, providing additional behavioral health resources for students, and developing prevention protocols at primary and secondary institutions across the Commonwealth. The committee will not discuss issues related to guns or broader behavioral health policy that are being considered by other commissions or standing committees. The committee also will not consider security at institutions of higher education, many of which already have rigorous security requirements and are governed by national accrediting agencies that set guidelines for their security. 

             Peace continued, “I have heard from many families across our district about their concerns. Children and teachers deserve to learn in an environment free from fear for their safety. As the Chairman of the House Budget Committee on Elementary & Secondary Education, I am dedicated to finding the state share of necessary resources to support our school divisions in our shared important goal for improved safety on school campuses everywhere. I am honored that the Speaker thought well enough of me for this important Committee, and I look forward to the work ahead.  The House of Delegates has led the effort in recent years to invest in school safety, providing over $30 million in funding to hire school resource officers and invest in security infrastructure, as well as passing legislation to allow local schools to hire retired law enforcement to protect our children.”

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Peace Appointed to House Budget Conference Committee

-- First from Hanover to serve on this prestigious committee --

Central Virginia-  The Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates recently appointed Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) to the important House conference committee for the state budget bills. Six members of the House of Delegates serve on this committee which negotiates with the Senate conference committee members on the content of a 2019-2020 final budget.

“We have a dedicated team of conferees who work well together and understand the necessity of having a balanced and responsible budget,” said Speaker Cox. “This team will be able to articulate the House’s position clearly to our colleagues in the Senate as we begin to finalize the budget. I appreciate all of their hard work on behalf of the House and I encourage our conferees to begin work with their Senate colleagues as quickly as possible so we can reach a final agreement on the budget.”

Delegate Peace, who was selected as the lone Richmond regional representative, says "[t]he problems we must solve together are great, but I am confident that our team will put the needs of all Virginians first. I am humbled by the Speaker's faith and Chairman Jones' confidence. This further opportunity to serve our beloved Commonwealth is a great honor."

At the beginning of session Peace was appointed Chairman of the House General Laws committee.  The General Laws committee considers matters related to housing, real estate, alcohol and beverage control, Freedom of Information Act, as well as procurement maters.  In his capacity as Chairman, Peace was excited to appoint his Hanover colleague Delegate Buddy Fowler to his first Chairmanship since being elected.  Fowler serves as Chair of the General Laws Subcommittee #1 dealing with important issues related to veterans. 

“Serving as Chair of subcommittee #1, Del. Fowler has shown strong leadership and dedication to the work of the committee.  Working with Buddy on this committee has shown to be a benefit to residents of our native county, Hanover,” stated Peace.  

Historic Horse Racing Measure Advances to Governor

-- One step closer to re-opening Colonial Downs --

As Chief Co-Patron of House Bill (HB) 1609, New Kent’s Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R) is extremely happy to announce the measure is on the way to the Governor.  HB 1609 passed the House by a vote of 79-21 and the Senate by a vote of 31-9.  This bill provides a means by which the important goal of creating jobs and generating additional revenue for New Kent County through the re-opening of Colonial Downs may be achieved.  Historical horse racing is a crucial step toward revitalizing horse racing in the Commonwealth and re-opening of the track. 

HB 1609 establishes historical horse racing (HHR) as a form of horse racing in the Commonwealth that creates pari-mutuel pools from wagers placed on previously conducted horse races and is hosted at (i) a racetrack owned or operated by a significant infrastructure limited licensee or (ii) a satellite facility that is owned or operated by (a) a significant infrastructure limited licensee or (b) the nonprofit industry stakeholder organization recognized by the Commission and licensed to own or operate such satellite facilities. Under the provisions of this bill, revenues generated on pari-mutuel pools by wagering on historical horse racing, will be distributed to the Virginia Racing Commission, and a portion to the locality in which the racetrack is located.

“Ongoing discussions between “Revolutionary Racing” and Virginia horse industry representatives have identified this pathway to resuscitate historic horse racing in Virginia.  By combining the national and international horse racing experience of Revolutionary Racing with the talents of our Virginia horse racing industry, we can re-open Colonial Downs and create opportunities for major investment, including but not limited to capital projects and 500 jobs,” stated Delegate Peace.

The closure of Colonial Downs negatively impacted New Kent County, reducing the local government’s budget by $402,200 in Fiscal Year 2015 et seq.  Prior to its closure, Colonial Downs was a major revenue source in the form of tourism dollars for schools and revenue sharing for roads. 

Peace continued, “Horse racing is a vital component to the continued economic growth of New Kent County and the Richmond Region.  As the only Delegate representing New Kent, I can tell you that a reopened Colonial Downs is in the best interest of our citizens.”

Rodney Hathaway, New Kent County Administrator, in an e-mail to Peace asserted, “We (New Kent County) thank you for your leadership and assistance with this project, and look forward to a new beginning at Colonial Downs.”

Peace Statement on Projects of Importance to New Kent County

I wanted to take a moment to update New Kent residents on recent developments concerning issues of importance to our shared community.  Over the past several months numerous citizens, New Kent County leaders, as well as first-responders have expressed to me grave concerns over the deteriorating conditions of Route 60 in New Kent County.  As construction work begins on Interstate 64 from I-295 to Interstate 64 Exit 205, traffic is projected to increase significantly on State Route 60 as travelers attempt to avoid congestion and delays on I-64.  This progress comes at a cost and will have an adverse impact on the currently treacherous conditions of State Route 60.

The need for maintenance and resurfacing of Rt. 60 has reached a critical point.  Due to the many patches that have been applied over the years and uneven pavement sections, these safety issues often cause travelers swerve to miss bumps and suddenly slowdown in an effort to avoid damaging their vehicles.  To that end, I introduced an amendment to the state budget to require the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to prioritize the resurfacing and maintenance of State Route 60 in New Kent County. 

My amendment prompted fervent discussions at VDOT on how to address our concerns in a timely manner.  I had a highly productive meeting with the VDOT Commissioner first thing Friday, February 2.  He assured me that Calendar Year (CY) 2018 resurfacing and maintenance efforts on Rt. 60 will begin in April and be completed by November 2018.  Our efforts have made Rt. 60 a priority.

The initial round of resurfacing and maintenance will begin with the paving of five sections totaling 21.08 lane miles.  The Commissioner also outlined further Rt. 60 resurfacing and maintenance projects for both CY2019 and CY2020.  I want to say a special thank you to County Administrator, Rodney Hathaway, Sheriff Joe McLaughlin, and Supervisor Ron Stiers for making the trip up to the General Assembly to testify in the Appropriations committee in support of prioritization of Rt. 60, and to Chairman Evelyn for his leadership on this matter.

On another important note to the County, in December, I testified in strong support of the Certificate of Public Need (COPN) application submitted by VCU Health System to establish an outpatient imaging center with CT services at a freestanding emergency department in New Kent County.  On January 22, 2018, this project received a staff recommendation in support of the CT scanner application that paves a way for greater access to care in the County.

This project will be extremely beneficial for New Kent County, its residents and future patients.  The VCU Health Bottoms Bridge Emergency Center will be a hospital based department of VCUHS and will serve as an extension of VCUHS’s existing emergency services.  With this project, VCUHS is seeking to extend clinical services into New Kent to fulfill an unmet geographic need for the provision of emergency and imaging services for New Kent and surrounding communities. 

House Bill 1402, introduced in this General Assembly session, could have required a second COPN application for the brick and mortar of the freestanding emergency department.  I successfully amended the bill in committee to grandfather COPN projects currently in the application process to ensure our project does not get delayed.  This project will significantly improve access to outpatient CT services, as well as bringing other high-quality services provided by VCU Health System to the area.

It remains an honor to serve as the Delegate for the 97th District and work to solve problems for New Kent County.

Measure to Establish a Higher Education Substance Use Advisory Committee Passes House

Central Virginia- Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) is pleased to announce the unanimous, bi-partisan passage of House Bill (HB) 852. 

HB 852 will establish and appoint members to the Virginia Institutions of Higher Education Substance Use Advisory Committee.  The Committee will work to develop and update a statewide strategic plan for substance use education, prevention, and intervention at Virginia’s institutions of higher education. 

This bill is a recommendation of the Virginia Commission on Youth (COY) of which Peace is former Chairman.  COY findings, and a Virginia ABC study, found that little to no data on current college student alcohol and drug use trends and behaviors are available statewide.  The Advisory Committee will provide oversight on these findings and continue to make recommendations as the work of the Committee advances.

Speaking to the passage of the bill, Delegate Peace asserted, “Currently, there is no specified prevention office in Virginia that has a focus on college-aged substance use.  It is imperative to highlight Virginia’s commitment to this issue, and signify to college administrators the need to come together and collaborate on this topic.”

DeDe Goldsmith, COY member and parent, states, “This legislation is critically important to give administrators and students the tools they need to attack recreational drug use on college campuses head-on.  Our young people learn best by and from each other, and they have come up with unique ways of doing so.  HB852 will ensure that their good works are available statewide at our college and universities to help reduce the medical emergencies that are increasingly prevalent among the student population.  Currently, substance use and abuse education programs are implemented from the top down and are ineffectual.

My daughter, who was an honors student at a state school, died because she lacked the honest, fact-based information she needed to make an informed decision about the risks that are associated with even incidental drug use. This will help get the right information to the right people by the right people.”

The bill will now be heard in the Senate. 

Delegate Chris Peace’s voting record shows a consistent focus on opposing tax increases, protecting family values, defending the Constitution, and promoting job creation and a high quality of life in Hanover, King William and New Kent counties.

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Free Financial Aid Advisory Services Available to Students and Families

Informational Release from Delegate Chris Peace, 97th District

Central Virginia - Students in public high schools in Hanover, King William, and New Kent can receive free professional advising on how to pay for college, technical training, or other education after high school.  My goal, as your representative in the General Assembly, is to ensure that any student who wishes to pursue college or technical education after high school can do so regardless of their financial circumstances.  No student should be denied an education after high school due to the inability to pay.  

Here’s how it works: students can arrange for a private one-on-one session with a GRASP Advisor through their high school counseling office.  Parents are encouraged to attend as well.  GRASP stands for GReat Aspirations Scholarship Program, Inc., and their advisors are knowledgeable about how to finance a college or career education after high school.  GRASP Advisors help students prepare and submit the FAFSA (the required application to be awarded financial aid), compare financial aid offer letters, apply for scholarships, and fulfill admission requirements.  “The members of GRASP helped me with scholarships and explained to me how financial aid worked,” one King William County student recently remarked, “They are very helpful and encouraging towards high school students.”

The Virginia General Assembly has supported this free service by creating the Neighborhood Assistance Act, which provides tax incentives for private donors who, along with foundations and school divisions, provide the funding for GRASP and similar programs.  As a result, every year GRASP Advisors are able to help thousands of Virginia students access higher education.

Last school year, 470 students from seven high schools in Hanover, King William, and New Kent benefitted from GRASP’s individual financial aid advising.  Thanks to the Neighborhood Assistance Act and the generosity of individual and corporate donors, GRASP also awarded $22,000 in direct scholarships to students from these schools.

To learn more about these services or find an upcoming financial aid event in your area, visit the GRASP website at www.grasp4va.org or contact info@grasp4va.org.

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Delegate Peace Speaks at Naturalization Ceremony

Peace Offers Welcoming Remarks to America’s Newest Citizens

Central, VA –  On June 7th, at Historic Polegreen Church, where as a young man Patrick Henry worshiped with his mother under Reverend Samuel Davies.  Seventy-one of America’s newest immigrants were naturalized as citizens in a special ceremony.  People of many different ages and forty different countries raised their hands, renounced prior allegiances, and swore an oath to become citizens of the United States of America.

Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) offered welcoming remarks to those receiving the Oath of Allegiance, communicating the history of the Historic Polegreen Church, which is a monument to the preservation of civil liberties and religious freedom. 

Sharing from his own family’s immigrant history, Peace stated, “Your immigrant story enhances the value of our country.  Our shared stories and history are a common bond that unites us.  You today, are writing a new chapter in the history of this place.”

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) naturalizes individuals.  During the 1st Quarter of Fiscal Year 2017 (October 1 to December 31, 2016), 112,640 naturalization applications were approved by USCIS, 822 residents of Virginia became United States citizens.  More information about the naturalization process and is available on the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov.

 

 

Community Services Board which serves New Kent to Offer Same Day Access

Peace supported legislation to provide funding to increase same day access to mental health and substance use services

Passed during the 2017 General Assembly session, House Bill 1549, supported by Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) will increase availability of same day services to citizens through the Henrico Community Services Board (CSB) which serves New Kent County.  Recently announced by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, the Henrico CSB will receive state funding to begin offering same day, in-person screening for mental health/and or substance use concerns in July 2017. 

Individuals seeking help for a mental health and/or substance use concern, may walk in, without appointment, and speak with a staff member face-to-face, rather than initiating contact over the phone. If the individual appears to qualify for a CSB services, they may be able to receive a more in-depth assessment for services that same day. Each CSB assessment clinician is trained to assess for substance use disorders as well as mental health and co-occurring disorders.  Same day access is considered a best practice in behavioral health, and the CSB staff will work diligently to make this system change.

Same day access is a best practice that virtually eliminates “no show” appointments, increases adherence to follow-up appointments, reduces the “wait time” for appointments, and makes more cost-effective use of staff resources. Implementing Same Day Access requires a change in CSBs’ business practices, such as scheduling, documentation, caseload management, and utilization of shorter term, more focused and practical therapies. It is the best lever to begin shifting care away from crisis response when individuals are more at risk to themselves and to others and towards preventative care when symptoms are more manageable.

Speaking to this important change, Peace says, “Often when people recognize that they need help, there may be a brief window of time when a person is willing to track down and receive help. If a person has to wait too long for services, the chance to help may be lost. This is an important step toward increased positive outcomes for citizens.” 

Our Delegate, Chris Peace, Announces Re-Election Bid

Principled Conservative, Fighter for the Middle-Class, and Family Man

Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-97th District) today announces his intentions to seek re-election and continue his commitment to faithfully serving the people of Hanover, New Kent, and King William Counties in the 97th House of Delegates District.  Peace is the only candidate to file and qualify for the Republican nomination as of the March 30 deadline. 

Peace said “I am running for re-election to be a voice for principled conservatism and solve problems for hard working families in our District.  Virginians deserve leadership committed to the taxpayer and respecting of individual liberties. Serving the people of the 97th district in the Virginia House of Delegates is a tremendous honor that I take very seriously.” On March 13th, Peace filed all the necessary paperwork to be on the June primary ballot.

Delegate Chris Peace continues to be an effective, thoughtful, and respected legislator serving on the prominent Appropriations, Health Welfare and Institutions, and General Laws Committees.  This term Peace worked diligently on advancing policies related to reforming the state healthcare bureaucracy, protecting our aging and vulnerable population from financial exploitation, enhancing the provision of services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, creating greater access to career and technical education for our public school students, and updating criminal justice training standards to provide public safety officers the modern tools needed for community engagement. 

Over the years, Peace’s voting record has earned him an A+ Rating from the National Rifle Association, high legislative vote scores from the Virginia Society for Human Life, the American Conservative Union, and the Family Foundation; A ratings from the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and National Federation of Independent Business; and previously endorsed by Virginia Farm Bureau.  Widely recognized for his service, Peace has earned awards from the Virginia State Police Association and Virginia Sheriff's Association.  Along with legislator of the year from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Brain Injury Association of Virginia, Association for Career and Technical Education, and the 2016 Act, Honor, Hope Award from the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance. 

Speaking about the announcement Delegate Chris Peace stated, “As a Delegate to the Virginia General Assembly, I have been faithful to my oath of office and honored my commitments to the best of my ability.  But there is much more work to be done to improve our community’s quality of life and sustain a vibrant Virginia economy.”

Peace has received the endorsement for his reelection from a growing number of local officials including: Senator Siobhan Dunnavant; Delegate Buddy Fowler; Hanover Commonwealth’s Attorney, Trip Chalkley; Hanover Clerk of Court, Frank D. Hargrove, Jr.; King William School Board Chair, Kathy Morrison; King William School Board member, Steve Tupponce; New Kent Board of Supervisors Chair, Ray Davis; Hanover Treasurer, Scott Miller; New Kent Board of Supervisors Vice-Chair, Thomas Evelyn; New Kent Commissioner of the Revenue, Laura Ecimovic; New Kent School Board member, Kristin Swynford; Hanover Supervisor, Canova Peterson; King William Clerk of Court, Patricia Norman; Hanover Board of Supervisors Chair, Angela Kelly-Wieck; and New Kent Sheriff Joe McLaughlin. 

Peace, a Virginia lawyer focusing on family and estate law, taught legal studies as an adjunct professor at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs.  An avid history buff, Peace previously served as the executive director of Historic Polegreen Church Foundation, a historic preservation non-profit foundation, and established the Road to Revolution State Heritage Trail to honor America’s founding heritage.  He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hampden-Sydney College, earned his law degree from the University of Richmond, and is a member of numerous statewide organizations and non-profit boards.  Along with their two children, Chris and Ashley make their home in Old Church, and attend a local Episcopal Church. A full biography and other legislative information may be found at www.chrispeace.com

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State Delegate Chris Peace Honors WWII Veterans

Peace joined New Kent Historical Commission to honor local heroes

On Saturday, March 18th, Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) joined the New Kent Historical Commission and the Virginia WWI and WWII Commemoration Commission to honor local veterans from Hanover and New Kent Counties involved in these conflicts. 

The Virginia World War I and World War II Commemoration Commission was created by the Virginia General Assembly to plan, develop, and carry out programs and activities to commemorate the 100th anniversary of WWI and the 75th anniversary of WWII. 

The New Kent Historical Commission hosted the Virginia World War I and World War II Profiles of Honor Mobile Tour, a mobile exhibition that brings an interactive exhibit to museums, libraries, and historic sites throughout Virginia, from March 16 to 18 and culminated Saturday with a ceremony to honor local veterans. 

Peace presented each veteran in attendance with a special state medallion from the Commission honoring their service and sacrifice to the preservation of our freedoms.  Members of New Kent Stagehands preformed a variety of patriotic songs eliciting tears of pride and patriotism amongst many in attendance.  

Peace stated, “I echo the words of Winston Churchill, ‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.’  It was humbling to be in the presence of these heroes and their families.  Future generations have an opportunity to learn from the actions of these men and women of the greatest generation. I applaud the New Kent Historical Society for their hosting of this fantastic community event.”

To learn more about the Commission and to find events near you visit:  https://www.virginiawwiandwwii.org/ 

 Thank you PFC Otis Timberlake of New Kent.  63rd Infantry Division, 4/3/44 to 12/3/45 POW

Thank you PFC Otis Timberlake of New Kent.  63rd Infantry Division, 4/3/44 to 12/3/45 POW

97th District Hanover Student Chosen to Serve as House Page

On January 11th, Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) welcomed Henry Atkinson, of Mechanicsville, to serve as a Page in the Virginia House of Delegates during the 2017 General Assembly session.

  Henry Atkinson, Oak Knoll Middle School student with Del. Peace at the General Assembly Building

Henry Atkinson, Oak Knoll Middle School student with Del. Peace at the General Assembly Building

Henry Atkinson is a 7th grader at Oak Knoll Middle School, and his favorite class is science, where he enjoys learning more about our world and how it works.  Henry excels at a number of sports, but he enjoys running track and swimming the most.

As for being chosen to represent the 97th District, Henry mentioned, “I will miss seeing my family every day. My favorite part of being a page is meeting new friends.”

“Henry is a smart young man with a very bright future,” said Peace. “I want to give him every opportunity to have this once in a lifetime experience. With a few members who were once pages, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the legislature one day.”

Each year the Speaker of the House of Delegate appoints 13 and 14-year-old youth from across the Commonwealth to serve as House pages during the regular session of the General Assembly. These young people assist the members of the House of Delegates, the House clerk’s staff, and other legislative staff in the daily duties required for the successful operation of the House of Delegates during the session.

The page workday begins promptly as 8:30 a.m. and ends at 5:00 p.m. A lunch break is provided. There is no weekend work except for the last Saturday of session. Pages collate bills for filing, deliver legislation and documents throughout the Capitol complex, and perform errands for members and staff of the House of Delegates during each day’s floor session and at committee meetings. Pages are also selected for assignments in specific House offices including the Speaker’s Office, the Clerk’s Office, the Enrolling Room, the Bill Room, the Fax Center and the Governor’s Office. Pages are trained for these assignments during the first two days of their employment. Every effort is made to provide each page with a variety of work assignments. All work assignments are important to the legislative process and should be performed in a professional manner.

While at work, pages are under the supervision of the Clerk and Executive Assistant to the Clerk, the Page Coordinator and Assistant Page Coordinator, and two Head Pages who served as pages the previous year. After work, pages have approximately two hours of unsupervised free time from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. reserved for eating dinner. It is mandatory that all pages reside at the hotel. There are two chaperons on duty at the hotel from 5:00 p.m. until 8:30 a.m. each day, Sunday through Friday.

A mandatory study hall is held at the hotel every Monday through Thursday evening from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Certified teachers supervise the pages and help individual students as needed. Pages are responsible for arranging with their schools and teachers the preferred method of taking tests and exams. For more information or to apply for future sessions, visit:

http://capclass.virginiageneralassembly.gov/PagePrograms/PagePrograms.html

Peace Fights Opioid Epidemic in Virginia Legislature

Addiction to opiates claim more lives than car accidents according to recent statistics

As a family law attorney, Delegate Chris Peace (R-Hanover) works with many individuals to rebuild their family unit after enduring the devastating effects of the surge in substance use cases, specifically opiate addiction. Through his tireless efforts, many families have found pathways to recovery through peer supported models or by medically assisted treatment. With this expertise, Del. Peace sought to make needed reforms to Virginia law to help individuals, families and children who are suffering from substance use addiction.

This Session, Del. Peace supported several measures to fight the opioid crisis in Virginia.  Peace is a co-patron of House Bill (HB) 2161 which passed the House by a vote of 97-0.  HB 2161 will require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to work to develop educational standards and curricula for training health care providers in the safe and appropriate use of opioids to treat pain while minimizing the risk of addiction and substance abuse.

Speaking to the importance of these measures, Sheriff Joe McLaughlin of New Kent County states, “The issue of opioid addiction is at crisis level across our nation and this legislation is a step in the right direction. Law enforcement cannot do it alone and the assistance of the community and the prescriber is a necessary ingredient in confronting this problem.”

HB 2165 passed the House and would require that, beginning July 1, 2020, any prescription for an opiate to be issued as an electronic prescription and prohibits a pharmacist from dispensing an opiate unless the prescription is issued as an electronic prescription. This measure will cut down or eliminate the prescription mills which have popped up across the region.

Hanover Sheriff David Hines offered, ““Having this bill in place is a step in the right direction. Having served on the Governor’s Task Force for Prescription Medicine and Heroin Abuse, any measure to reduce this kind of abuse is a positive endeavor. As I have said for many years, this is not something we can arrest our way out of. I can only hope this is just one of many steps to be taken to help law enforcement and our communities respond to this growing problem. Partnerships have always been the key to success and supports our belief that strong partnerships create safe communities.”

“A public health emergency has been declared in the Commonwealth as a result of the opioid epidemic.  In 2016, statewide fatal opioid overdoses will surpass 1,000 and in 2015 more people died from opiate related overdoses than in car accidents.  We can no longer stand by while this addiction claims more lives,” stated Peace.  “We cannot address this epidemic with a one person, one mindset approach. Thanks to the work of stakeholders from across the state, including Del. Todd Pillion, the House has advanced solid public health initiatives to combat the opioid epidemic with a shared focus on prevention and treatment.”

Another Peace sponsored measure will direct the Boards of Dentistry and Medicine to adopt regulations for the prescribing of opioids and products containing buprenorphine passed unanimously. HB 2167 passed unanimously.

Peace and Hodges Advance Legislation on behalf of Virginia's First Citizens

Virginia tribal interests represented in successful legislation

House Bill (HB) 1952, patroned by Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) and Chief Co-Patroned by Delegate Keith Hodges (R-Middlesex) passed the House and the Senate unanimously.  HB 1952 was requested by the Mattaponi Tribe, whose reservation is in King William County, Virginia. 

The bill streamlines the process whereby the tribe can acquire real property for annexation to an existing reservation, on the condition that such real property is located within one mile of an existing reservation.  Over the centuries, the lands of the Mattaponi have been encroached upon, such that the present reservation is merely 70 acres.  The Mattaponi Tribal Council has undertaken efforts to re-acquire lands in close proximity to the Reservation, in order to provide additional home-sites for members to relocate to the Reservation, thus enhancing the long term viability of this important Tribe.

Speaking about the legislation, Peace stated, “HB 1952 assists our first Virginians in expanding their tribal lands to enable tribe members to return home to their reservation and construct residences.  Virginia tribes enabled the success of the first permanent English settlement in our Nation, and have impacted our Commonwealth immeasurably.” 

  Mattaponi Chief Mark Custalow testifies in House Committee in Support of House Bill 1952

Mattaponi Chief Mark Custalow testifies in House Committee in Support of House Bill 1952

Chief Custalow of the Mattaponi Tribe states, “Today was a great day on the Mattaponi Reservation and for its people to find out that the House Bill 1952 was passed and is going to the governor for signature. The passing of this bill will allow the Mattaponi people to expand our reservation from its existing boundaries. It will allow us to have the ability for our people to come home, to move back to the reservation and preserve our culture as our forefathers have taught us throughout many years.”

Peace was also chief co-patron of House Bill 1686, patroned by Del. Hodges.  HB 1686 passed unanimously, and permits Virginia Indian tribes that are recognized by the federal government to join their Planning District Commissions (PDC) as members and to negotiate the terms of such membership.  There are 21 PDCs in Virginia, and are comprised of elected officials and citizens appointed to the Commission by member local governments.  

“It is a privilege to work with Delegate Peace to move forward legislation that provides our First Virginians solutions for the unique issues that they face,” stated Delegate Hodges. 

One important duty of the PDC's is to create a strategic plan for their region of service. This plan is created in cooperation with local governments, businesses, citizen organizations, and other interested parties. The plan is intended to help promote the orderly and efficient development of the PDC by stating goals and objectives, strategies to meet those goals, and mechanisms for measuring progress.

Peace and Hodges have co-authored several bills in the past to designate the Secretary of the Commonwealth as the liaison to the state recognized tribes and reforms to the manner in which tribes may navigate the state building code. 

These King William Delegates encourage your support and awareness of the Virginia Indian Commemorative Commission.  More information about construction of this Indian Tribute at the State Capitol may be found at http://indiantribute.virginia.gov/