Your Turn — Let’s take time to reflect on our veterans

Published 10:02 am Thursday, December 8, 2022

The Virginia General Assembly is gearing up for its 2023 legislative session. We celebrated Veterans Day Nov. 11. I wanted to share accomplishments we made for veterans from the 2022 legislative session.

The mental health crisis being faced by our veterans has been a crucial issue that needed to be addressed in our Commonwealth. That’s why we passed legislation that creates within the Department of Veteran Services a Suicide Prevention Coordinator to support and closely coordinate effective care services for military service members and veterans and their families.

We also instructed the Secretary of Transportation to work with DVS to promote CDL and other certification opportunities for our veterans, so that they can continue to find good work when their active-duty service is over.

It’s a small thing, but it’s another way for us to thank you for your service to our country and Commonwealth.

I’ve included some other bills that impact veterans that you might find of interest. As always, if I or my staff can do anything to assist you, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

HB 1203 created a Suicide Prevention Coordinator. This position, created in the Department of Veterans Services, will support and closely coordinate effective mental health care services for military service members and veterans and their families. The bill directs the Commissioner of the Department of Veterans Services to report on the work of the coordinator in the annual report to the Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs, the Governor, and the General Assembly.

HB 553 directed the Secretary of Transportation, in consultation and working with various agencies of the Commonwealth, to promote and implement various initiatives related to commercial driver’s licenses. The bill sunsets on July 1, 2023.

Remember this, swing voters

During the 2022 legislative session, we worked hard to make sure we followed through on the promises that were made during the campaign cycle.

Some of those big priorities include making sure our children are safe in school, lowering the cost of living for our families, and making our communities safer.

We passed legislation that once again made it required to report assault that occurs on school property, and that provides training for law enforcement officers to help victims of Human Trafficking here in the Commonwealth.

In the House, we passed a budget that includes record pay raises for teachers and law enforcement, that invest in our broadband and other infrastructure projects, and that will provide economic relief to families by providing a $300/individual and $600/joint-filer tax rebate. This is still being negotiated in the budget.

The 2022 General Assembly Session was eventful, but we are still committed to making sure Virginia continues to move forward and be the best place to live, work, and raise a family.  I am thankful for the trust you have placed in me to be a voice for our district here in Richmond.

Del. Tommy Wright can be reached via email at DelTWright@House.Virginia.gov or (804) 698-1061.