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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.
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.”
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.
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/
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 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:
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.
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.”
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/
CENTRAL VA- Included in his 2017 legislative package, Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) introduced House Bill 1943, a measure that requires the Virginia Department of Planning and Budget (DPB), to provide an opportunity for businesses affected by a proposed change in regulation to comment on the financial impact of the proposed new rule. DPB would be required to consider these comments in the economic impact analysis of the proposed regulation.
~ 2016 findings are consistent with previous reports ~
RICHMOND, VA – The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission’s annual report on state spending again highlighted the General Assembly’s responsible state spending, but also shows the continued growth of Medicaid in Virginia. The report, released Tuesday, tracks state spending over the last ten years and is required by law. According to JLARC, general fund spending declined 11 percent over the last ten years when adjusted for population and inflation. Medicaid spending remains the biggest growth driver, up $1.8 billion, or 96 percent, over the last ten years. The full report will be available at JLARC's website later today.
“Like last year, today’s JLARC report once again shows that the Republican-led General Assembly is charting a responsible fiscal course for the Commonwealth,” said House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford). “State general fund spending continues to decline when adjusted for population and inflation as a result of our conservative budgeting. However, Virginia is still grappling with incredible growth in its Medicaid program. Medicaid spending grew 96 percent in the last ten years. This report again demonstrates the wisdom of our decision not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.”
“The General Assembly continues to strike a sharp contrast with the failed leadership in Washington, D.C.,” said House Majority Leader Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights). “While the federal government languishes under $19 trillion in debt and is simply unable to balance its budget, we have proven time and time again that we can balance our budget, close shortfalls without raising taxes, and chart a prudent long-term fiscal course. This report validates our long track record of responsible budgeting.”
“My colleagues and I on the House Appropriations Committee consistently seek to be good stewards of taxpayer resources,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman S. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk). “Our goal is to make each taxpayer dollar go further. I am proud of our work and thankful for the continued commitment of the members of the committee and its staff to this steady approach.” “The JLARC report shows that the Commonwealth is on a stable fiscal foundation. We have a long track record of responsible state spending,” said House Appropriations Committee Vice-Chairman R. Steven Landes (R-Augusta). “However, we cannot ignore the truth on Medicaid. Medicaid remains the largest growth driver in our budget. This is exactly why we cannot afford to expand Medicaid. The existing program is simply unsustainable, without the additional burdens of expansion.”
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Lease extension through 2024 strengthens the positive economic impact that aviation activities have on Virginia’s economy CENTRAL VA- Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority (MWAA) and United Airlines recently announced a signed extension of the Airport Use Agreement and Premises Lease for Washington Dulles International Airport though 2024. The current lease was set to expire at the end of 2017, and if it had, Virginia would lose its only “hub” along with many job losses.
Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover), Chairman of the Transportation subcommittee of House Appropriations, was instrumental in crafting the budget language to facilitate this lease extension.
“United employs nearly 5,400 people in the Commonwealth and operates 218 flights daily at their Dulles hub. Extending the lease with United and keeping Dulles competitive is vital to the Virginia economy,” stated Peace. “In the 2016 budget, we provided a strategic investment in this major economic center to help the Airport reduce enplanement costs to ensure the continued operation of a hub airline.”
Peace continued, “Our budget amendment included a number of specific requirements governing receipt of these funds to ensure that amounts were used only to effectuate the long-term viability of the airport and do not serve simply as a short-term solution.”
The Airport Use Agreement and Premises Lease governs operational and financial portions of an airline’s use of airport facilities and sets out the business relationship between airlines and the airport.
Specifically, budget language requires the Secretary of Transportation to certify to the Governor and the General Assembly that the expenditures are in the public interest and must be matched by equal savings generated by MWAA. The amounts provided are to be used to reduce outstanding debt service and offset operating costs. Second year funding is contingent upon MWAA entering into a long-term agreement with a hub airline to continue operating as a hub at Dulles airport through at least calendar year 2024.
~ Trio of bills vetoed by Governor McAuliffe re-filed ~ RICHMOND, VA - Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates filed the first legislation of the 2017 General Assembly session on Monday, the opening day of the legislative pre-filing period. Delegates Steve Landes, Scott Lingamfelter and Chris Head filed a trio of bills that were vetoed by Governor Terry McAuliffe during the 2016 session.
“Earlier this year Governor McAuliffe vetoed a number of commonsense bills that would have strengthened our Commonwealth. Among those vetoes were bills to keep our schools safe, increase access to health care and protect small businesses from overreaching labor unions. These are good ideas that will make Virginia a better place and we are going to keep fighting for them,” said House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford). “The House Republican Caucus has demonstrated over the years our commitment to being the party of ideas and this year is no different. In addition to the legislation filed today, our members will develop a robust policy agenda that prioritizes economic growth, stronger schools, safer communities and improved healthcare access without expanding entitlements.”
“The difference between Washington and Richmond can be seen in a lot of ways, but it’s often most apparent when it comes to solutions. Republicans in the House of Delegates have a proven track record of turning principles into policies that solve problems for Virginians,” said House Majority Leader Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights). “We are once again bringing forward a strong legislative agenda. The bills we are filing today were wrongly vetoed by Governor McAuliffe and we will keep working to see them passed into law.”
Delegate Steve Landes (R-Augusta) filed HB 1393, legislation to protect direct primary care agreements between doctors and patients from burdensome insurance regulations. The legislation defines direct primary care (DPC) in the Code of Virginia, sets forth conditions under which physicians may enter into DPC agreements with patients, and outlines consumer protections to maintain safeguards for patients.
“Direct primary care is an innovative healthcare delivery model that makes affordable healthcare more accessible to hard-working Virginians,” said Landes. “Passing direct primary care will improve access and help control costs, addressing two of the top challenges facing healthcare today.”
Delegate Scott Lingamfelter (R-Prince William) filed HB1392, legislation to allow school security officers to carry a firearm in the performance of his duties if (i) he is a retired law-enforcement officer who retired or resigned in good standing, (ii) he has met the additional training and certification requirements of the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), (iii) the local school board solicits input from the chief law-enforcement officer of the locality regarding the qualifications of the officer, and (iv) the local school board grants him the authority to carry a firearm in the performance of his duties
“This bill is a well-crafted and prudent measure that permits a local school board to hire retired police officers and arm them to protect our children and teachers where they learn and work”, said Lingamfelter. “I think it is very reasonable in the threat environment we find ourselves to permit retired law enforcement officers, who are thoroughly trained, to be armed so that if the unthinkable occurs, there’s a way to stop a violent situation immediately”, he concluded.
Delegate Chris Head (R-Roanoke) introduced HB 1394, legislation to protect small business franchises from overreaching labor unions. The legislation clarifies that franchisee employees cannot be considered employees of the franchisor for purposes of labor status notwithstanding any labor union agreement.
“Small businesses are the backbone and lifeblood of our economy. In recent years, President Obama’s National Labor Relations Board has sought to expand the influence of labor unions over small business franchises to the detriment of their hard working employees,” said Delegate Head. “This legislation protects employees from the overreaching federal government and overzealous labor unions. This bill is consistent with Virginia’s proud history as a right-to-work state.”
-- VA Chamber of Commerce Names Peace a Champion of Free Enterprise --
For the past five years, following the General Assembly Session, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce has developed a Legislative Report Card based on the priorities of Virginia's business community. The Legislative Report Card recognizes legislators for their support on initiatives that will help move Virginia forward creating jobs and economic growth, and additionally provide analysis of a legislator's support for the business.
Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) was very pleased to be informed that this year, based on his voting record, he received a grade of "A+" from the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Peace's voting record indicated strong support for business community priorities. In fact, Peace earned a 100 in 2016.
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, and promoting job creation and a high quality of life in Hanover, King William and New Kent counties.”
“The Virginia Chamber this year tracked more than 600 pieces of legislation and rated 125 bills that would either improve or harm Virginia’s business climate,” said Barry DuVal, President and CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. “We applaud those legislators who advanced the goals of the Chamber’s Blueprint Virginia this year and in doing so made Virginia a better place in which to live, work and do business.” Now in its fifth year, the 2016 legislative report card includes for the first time legislators’ lifetime grades along with their grades for the most recent legislative session.
According to their website, the mission of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce is to be a non-partisan, business advocacy organization that works in the legislative, regulatory and political arenas to act as the catalyst for positive change in all areas of economic development and competitiveness for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Please visit the Chamber website: http://www.vachamber.com/
-- Peace raises awareness of autism, presents memorial resolutions to honor Matthew and Tyler Frank – -- Praises Hanover County Public Schools and Hanover County Sheriff’s Office --
Central Virginia- Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) was delighted to host Joanna Frank, mother of Tyler and Matthew Frank at the Capitol recently to raise awareness of autism and to present her memorial resolutions to honor the legacy and lasting impact her sons had on the Hanover community. April is Autism Awareness month.
Mrs. Frank is a strong and courageous mother and zealous advocate for services for autistic children. The Franks moved to Hanover County in 2000 with twin sons in need of supportive services. The family was one of the first families in Hanover County to appeal to the Commonwealth for what was then known as an MR support waiver; Tyler Frank and his twin, Mathew, were the first children in Hanover to receive this waiver, which would later open the door to add other children to the waiver program and receive in-home services and specialized educational services through Hanover County Public Schools.
Her sons’ disabilities inspired their mother, Joanna Frank, to begin a number of programs in Hanover County seeking to give the boys an equal opportunity to obtain an education, play, grow, and exist as any other child would. These programs would also benefit many other children living in the community with similar disabilities. The presence of Tyler and Mathew Frank inspired Hanover County schools to create autism programs in elementary, middle, and high schools.
In 2000, Mathew Frank was the first person in Hanover County to receive a Project Life Saver watch, which also contained a GPS tracking device to help local police find individuals with disabilities if lost. Each month a deputy from Hanover County would visit Mathew Frank to change the batteries on the device. These were his favorite visits.
“These special young men helped initiate specialized autism training for police officers, school resource officers, and first responders in Hanover County. Each individual with autism is unique and requires specialized approaches to intervention from community helpers; these programs have helped educate and equip hundreds of Hanover County community helpers to safely interact and assist individuals and their families with autism and other similar disabilities,” stated Peace. “I applaud the Hanover Sheriff’s Office and the Hanover County Public Schools for their efforts in ensuring the safety, health, and well-being of these children in our community.”
Autism spectrum disorder is the result of a group of complex neurological disorders that affects the normal functioning of the human brain and can be exhibited by anyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 68 births in the United States in their 2014 ADDM autism prevalence report. For more information visit Autism Society of Central Virginia at http://ascv.org/.