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The Comstock Connection
Friday, December 17, 2010

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The Comstock Connection
December 17, 2010

Dear Friend, 
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and you are enjoying the holiday season as much as we are.  I have already had the pleasure of seeing many of you at holiday events around the district.  We are also preparing for next year's legislative session in January.   As always, I  invite you to share this newsletter with any friends or colleagues who might be interested and to keep in touch with us. We are always working to improve our outreach and communication and make sure you receive information and we receive your input.  Please share our news with friends in the community. 
Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus
Ho! Ho! Ho!  On December 3, Santa rode in on the Great Falls firetruck to light the Great Falls Christmas Tree.  It was a great community celebration.   All the best from the Comstock family for a blessed Christmas season. Great Falls Santa

It was also great l to see so many McLean residents at the McLean Winterfest Parade on December 5!  We welcomed in the holiday season with a fun parade, watched Santa ride into McLean, and lit the Christmas Tree on Holiday Island.
Santa and McGruff

On December 4, Santa also made a stop at Clemyjontri Park in McLean. 
Clemy Santa

SHARE Shares The Holiday Spirit And Brightens Lives In Our Community

Congratulations  to  SHARE of McLean's for their wonderful Holiday Celebration at the McLean Baptist Church on Saturday, the 11th..  I was honored to join in this festive occasion.   SHARE clients were able to enter a decorated hall and enjoy some refreshments and holiday music upon arrival. They  then received their Wish List gifts, a grocery gift card for a holiday meal, and a basket with personal hygiene supplies.  In these tough economic times, SHARE's client list has more than doubled, so your help is needed more than ever.  Volunteers throughout the community continue to reach out to collect more contributions.   St. Luke's Catholic Church made appeals at last week's Mass, as did other churches,  and the McLean Republican Women's Club passed the basket for additional contributions at their holiday luncheon this week.   To learn more and to donate, see the information on their  website.  

Happy Hanukkah

My greetings to all those who celebrated Hanukkah.  

 

This victory of light over darkness embodied in this celebration, is an inspiring commemoration of the victory of freedom over tyranny and rededication to religious freedom, concepts which we can all appreciate.   More than 2,000 years ago, when Israel was conquered and its sacred Temple desecrated, the Jewish people were forbidden to practice their faith.  When Judah Maccabee and his followers took back Jerusalem and rededicated the Jewish Holy Temple, the oil used for dedication was only enough for one day, yet it continued to burned brightly for eight days.

 

We pray for all those who still live in darkness throughout the world and ask that God provide the light of freedom to all His children and all those in need in this holiday season. 
Preparing For Winter Weather
VDOT recently held a Snow Briefing to discuss the procedures for removing snow and ice this winter.  We have a detailed summary that you can view on our website.  During storms you can contact my office, 703-209-3787 orbcomstock@delegatecomstock.com, or you can contact VDOT directly at 1-800-FOR-ROAD (1-800-367-7623) or novainfo@vdot.virginia.gov to report a safety concern regarding a specific roadway or situation.  You can also check our website, www.delegatecomstock.com, for any updates that we receive regarding a storm.
VDOT Snow
Positive Developments On Georgetown Pike Two Lane Turn Issue
In a recent letter to Congressman Wolf, me, and other local officials, Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton announced that VDOT will not proceed with plans to construct a dual left-turn lane from Route 7 onto Georgetown Pike.  Instead, VDOT will extend the existing single left turn lane. On Wednesday, December 15, I joined Supervisor Foust, Senator Howell, Great Falls Citizens Association representatives and others to discuss with VDOT moving forward with the single lane option.   VDOT will continue to work with the community on how to best proceed with the single lane option.   

Since last December, I have been working with Congressman Frank Wolf and our local officials as well as members of the Great Falls Citizens Association, to have VDOT work with the community on this issue. We held a Town Hall on the issue this summer and I have had numerous meetings with the Secretary and other transportation officials.  We will continue to work with VDOT and the community and monitor the final resolution.  A copy of a recent letter I sent to Secretary Connaughton and his response are on my website.  The Fairfax Times wrote about the issue this week, which you can read here.
$4 Billion For Transportation
Governor McDonnell previewed components of his transportation agenda for the 2011 General Assembly session last week and this week;  The Governor's proposals propose $4 billion into road, transit and rail projects in the Commonwealth over the next three years, dramatically speeding up congestion-reducing efforts and increasing job-creation and economic development efforts statewide.  Read more about the Governor's proposals on his website.

It's important to note that these proposals are on top of the $500 million in bonds that we are already moving to provide improvements in our area and throughout the Commonwealth, as well as the $1.4 billion that was found through the Governor's audit of VDOT.  While the previous Administration was opposing such audits and closing rest stops and we were sitting in traffic, VDOT has sititng on $1.4 billion!   We will continue to work  for  solutions that get Virginia moving.   

Health Care Ruling
This week, Judge Henry Hudson found the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution does not provide the Congress the power to mandate that an individual purchase a specific product or policy, and then exact a penalty for a failure to not make the purchase.  The inclusion of an individual mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act far exceeded the limited powers granted by our Founders. For this reason, this past winter Virginia lawmakers joined together, in a bipartisan fashion, to pass the Virginia Healthcare Freedom Act.  I was pleased to support this legislation which passed the House of Delegates by 80-17 with almost half of the Democrat Caucus joining all Republicans.  This legislation gave the Attorney General the obligation to bring this challenge forward on behalf of the people of Virginia. 
 
Virginia will incur millions of dollars in expenses to prepare for the implementation of this plan which would be a huge unfunded mandate if it not repealed or found unconstitutional.   All Virginians, and Americans, need access to affordable and dependable health care and in Virginia we continue to take steps to ensure that there is access for our citizens consistent with free-market solutions and personalized care.   
December 8 First Ladies Christmas Brunch At Jill's House With First Lady Maureen McDonnell 
On  Wednesday, December 8, I joined a fabulous group of over 200 women, including Brenda Solomon, wife of Pastor Lon Solomon and mother of Jill, the namesake of "Jill's House", First Lady Maureen McDonnell, and former First Lady Susan Allen, for a "First Ladies Christmas Brunch" to celebrate the opening of Jill's House in Vienna.  Jill's House is the first of its kind in Virginia to provide respite for children with intellectual disabilities and their families in the Greater Washington, DC area.  

Jill's House serves children, ages six through seventeen, with intellectual disabilities without regard to race, religion, or ethnicity.  Their mission is to be a safe haven to which parents can entrust their children, allowing the parents a time of rest. To learn more visit their website.   To learn about ways to give to Jill's House or sponsor a child, click here.  Read more about this event in this week's McLean Connection.  Also, congrats to the Capital Campaign Co-Chairs, Alice Starr and Holly Vagley, as well as a wonderful Steering Committee:  Sherlene Bradbury, DeAnn DuVall, Carmen Jones, Holly Leachman, and Anna Mergele.  And a special kudos to Jan Pascoe, Events and Marketing Coordinator, who worked on pulling this event together while juggling a wedding for her daughter, Rebecca, on Saturday, December 11!  
Jill's House Fundraiser 
December 7 Townhall Meeting On Government Contracting Cutbacks
On Tuesday, December 7, I hosted a Townhall for our Government Contracting professionals with former Congressman Tom Davis.  Tom serves  as the Chairman of the Governor's Commission on Military and National Security Facilities.  We discussed the President's proposed defense and national security cuts and the impact on our local economy and national security.  Recently, the Governor and members of our Congressional delegation met with Defense Secretary Gates to discuss their opposition and concern about these proposed cuts.  The  planned cuts in defense contracting and the proposed closure of the U.S. Joint Forces Command in the Hampton Roads region  would deal a serious blow to Virginia's statewide economy as well as harm our national ecurity. There has been little transparency to date on these proposed actions and no demonstration of savings.   The Governor, our General Assembly and our Congressional delegation are all committed to working together on this important issue.   
Department Of Motor Vehicles E-Renewals

You can now sign up to receive your vehicle registration renewal notices via email or telephone, rather than US Mail.  Not only is this service convenient, you'll also be saving taxpayer dollars by signing up.  With more than five million registered vehicles in the Commonwealth, DMV is trying to reduce the more than $2.4 million spent on printing and mailing paper renewal notices.   DMV customers can help by establishing an account with DMV and letting them know your preferred method for receiving renewal notifications.  Visitwww.dmvNOW.com/myDMV to learn more and to sign up today.

 
Congratulations To Great Falls' Sharon Rainey For First Ladies Award For Neighbors Foundation
On December 2,  I was honored to be part of The First Ladies Opportunity Hall of Fame Awards in Richmond where Great Falls' Neighbors Foundation leader, Shron Rainey was recognized for her contributions to our community through the Neighbors Foundation.  Congratulations also to Sharon for her book party earlier this month at The Brogue, where she signed her new book.
Sharon Rainey
Telework And Healthcare IT
The Commonwealth's Office of Telework Promotion and Broadband Assistance in cooperation with the Center for Innovative Technology is in the process of conducting an assessment on the use of broadband internet service to support Healthcare IT.  Results from the assessment will help to identify gaps in broadband access and use, and help the Commonwealth target federal and state broadband funding to support Health IT issues.
 
The Secretary of Health and Human Services encourages all healthcare providers to take advantage of this opportunity.   To participate in the online survey, please visit 
www.wired.virginia.gov.  If you have any questions, you can contact  via e-mail survey@broadaxepartners.com.

Northern Virginia Forum For People With Disabilities
On December 3, I joined my fellow legislators at a the annual legislative breakfast held by the Northern Virginia Forum for People with Disabilities.  This annual Legislative Breakfast provides a forum for expressing issues of importance to individuals with disabilities and their families.  We heard directly from disabled children and adults in the area about the services which provide them their quality of life.  .  

Voices Of International Business

On December 21, the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce is hosting Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade, Jim Cheng, for an event discussing Virginia's International Business Development Strategy.  The event is being held from 7:30-9:00am at The Mason Inn Conference Center and Hotel at George Mason University.  Jim Cheng will share the following:

  • An overview of the International strategy, activities planned andunderway by the McDonnell administration. 
  • A briefing on the markets that Virginia is focusing on for export promotion and investment attraction
  • Update on the status & location of Virginia's offices overseas
For more information on the event, visit the Chamber of Commerce website.
Save The Dates:
  • First Wednesday of Each Month - McLean Citizens Association Meetings at 8pm at the McLean Community Center
  • Second Tuesday of Each Month - Great Falls Citizens Association Meetings at 7:30pm at the Grange
  • Every Tuesday - Cool Community Meetings at Katie's Coffee in Great Falls
  • December 21 - Voices of International Business at The Mason Inn Conference Center and Hotel
  • December 30 - Donate Blood at the Great Falls Post Office
  • December 30-January 2, 2011 - Frostival by Celebrate Fairfax
     
If you have other events, news, or issues of concern, always feel free to contact me at bcomstock@delegatecomstock.com.

Sincerely,

Signature
Barbara Comstock

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Paid for by Friends of Barbara Comstock.