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The Comstock Connection
Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Comstock Connection
May 12, 2011

Dear Friend, 

It has been a busy spring.  Last month we completed the General Assembly session and finished the redistricting process.  I have also had the opportunity to get around to many of our local business, school, and community events.  As always, it is great to keep in touch with you and hear your concerns.   Thanks to all who turned out for our "Breakfast with Barbara" this past Saturday morning.  We will continue to do these open house events throughout the summer to keep in touch and hear your concerns.
Redistricting Process Completed
Last month the General Assembly met on the redistricting process.  Bylaw, redistricting happens once every ten years to adjust districts in accordance with the changes in the population identified during the annual census.  Under the Constitutional requirement of one person, one vote, the legislature must draw each House and Senate district to reflect equal apportionment utilizing the new population numbers. 

We met throughout April and after Easter we passed a compromise bill that the Governor signed on April 30, 2011.  
The 34th district continues to include McLean, Great Falls, part of Vienna, and now extends into Loudoun County.  To view the changes to the 34th District, visit The Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP) website.
Telework Tax Credit 
Recently the Governor signed HB 2197, my Telework Tax Credit bill passed this year with near unanimous support.  This is an issue I have worked on since I worked for Congressman Wolf in the 1990s.  "The Teleworker," a Telework Exchange Online Publication recently featured my bill in an interview.  You can read the interview here.

Lyme Disease Awareness Month  

The month of May has been permanently designated as Lyme Disease Awareness Month in Virginia as a result of House Joint Resolution 643, which I sponsored and passed during this year's legislative session.   I look forward this month to working to raise awareness about this debilitating disease.  We will increase our education efforts about the threat of Lyme Disease, and we also have the ongoing efforts with the Governor's Lyme Disease Commission.  I am committed to helping to ensure that people living in high risk areas know how to protect themselves and their children and get the medical treatments they need.  Visit my website to read about upcoming Lyme Disease Awareness Events

GFCA Transportation Committee Meeting

On Tuesday I joined GFCA for a discussion with VDOT on the Beach Mill Road Bridge issue.  VDOT has heard from the community on the strong opposition to making this a two lane bridge and they are currently working on a single lane option and will  have town hall meetings next month to get further input from the community.


We also had the opportunity to see the final plans for the Route 7/Georgetown Pike turn.  VDOT has completed their single lane turn option after working extensively with the GFCA Transportation Committee.  Our new VDOT leadership listened to our community and worked together with all of the elected officials and  the excellent leadership of Joan Barnes and Eric Knudsen on the Transportation Committee, our historian, Karen Washburn and other members of the Transportation Committee - Karl Pierson, Glenn Sjoblom, Wes Callender and others -- who made this success possible.  The new leadership at VDOT is committed to working with our community and we will remain actively engaged on these issues to make sure that happens.   

GFCA May 2011 Meeting 

VDOT Conducting Pothole Blitz 

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is continuing a coordinated campaign to patch the thousands of potholes that formed this winter across the Commonwealth. VDOT will use state and contractor resources to quickly identify and repair potholes on Virginia's highway system. Citizens are encouraged to assist this effort and report potholes to VDOT's Customer Service Center (see below).  


VDOT and its interstate maintenance contractors are responsible for patching potholes on the 58,000 miles of state-maintained roadways in the Commonwealth. During the 2010 Pothole Blitz, more than 161,000 potholes were repaired.  This year, they have already repaired 108,000 potholes throughout the Commonwealth.   Some areas and types of pavements may require more extensive repairs. In these cases, crews will make temporary repairs immediately and will schedule more extensive reconstruction work at a later date.

To report a pothole, citizens should visit www.VirginiaDOT.org or call VDOT's Customer Service Center at 1-800-FOR-ROAD (1-800-367-7623). TTY users, call 711.

Join Us For The Joe Cassella Way Ribbon Cutting On Friday And Second Annual Joe Cassella 5K Run On Sunday

This Friday, May 13, 2011, I will join The Joe Cassella Foundation for the ribbon cutting of the "Joe Cassella Way" sign in honor of Joe Cassella.  Joe Cassella, founder of Elite Fitness concepts in Great Falls, worked as a personal trainer and specialized in developing individualized therapy programs to assist clients recovering from illness and injury. Joe organized 5K races in Great Falls to raise money for Make-A-Wish Foundation and to help pay hospital bills for a local Senior at Langley High School who was paralyzed in a beach accident.  Joe Cassella lost a 10-month battle with mesothelioma on July 11, 2009, at the young age of 40. 


The second annual Joe Cassella 5k Run to raise funds for the foundation will be held this Sunday, May 15th.  Click here for more information. 

McLean Project for the Arts Spring Benefit Tonight and Great Falls Foundation for the Arts "Art Night Out" Coming Up

This year I had the privilege of founding the first House Arts Caucus with a colleague of mine from Northern Virginia.  Our mission is to promote the arts in our respective communities and encourage corporate and individual support of the arts throughout our area.  Two upcoming events I will be attending include: 

The McLean Project for the Arts Spring Benefit.  The event will take place this Thursday, May 12, 2011, from 7:00-9:00pm.  This is an annual fundraiser to support the MPA's exhibitions and educational programs. For more information on the benefit and supporting MPA visit the MPA website.


Great Falls Foundation for the Arts will hold its "Art Night Out,"event on Thursday, May 19, at the Riverbend Country Club from 7 - 10p.m.  There will be a silent auction, painting demonstrations, a raffle and food and entertainment.  For more information you can contact Chris Fraley at [email protected] or see website at: www.GreatFallsFoundationforArts.org


Colvin Run Historical Street Fair Sunday

On Sunday, May 15, from Noon - 4p.m., we will join our neighbors for the Colvin Run Historical Street Fair on Colvin Run Road in Great Falls.  At the Fair you can experience daily life from the year 1811 to the present at the Colvin Run Schoolhouse with a school reenactment, reflections by descendants of the era, historic artifacts, and the story in photos.  There will also be face painting, balloon animals, a magic show, games, a historic costume competition, refreshments, and music on Colvin Run Road.  You can visit the Colvin Run Mill for a demonstration of milling in the 1800's and talks by historic interpreters, as well as shop at the General Store and enjoy a dulcimer band.  Don't miss this celebration of the 200-year Colvin Run Community!

Join Us At McLean Day On May 21 

We hope to see you at McLean Day on May 21 at Lewinsville Park.  Stop by our booth and enter our raffle to win gift cards to local restaurants and gas cards.   This is a great McLean community event organized by the McLean Community Center.  It will be held from 11a.m. - 5p.m.  For more information see: http://www.mcleancenter.org/special-events/mcleanday.asp

Clemyjontri Liberty Swing Opening On May 22  

On Sunday, May 22 at 1p.m.,  the Fairfax County Park Authority Board and the Fairfax County Park Foundation, in cooperation with the Friends of Clemyjontri Park and generous donors will officially open the new Liberty Swing at Clemyjontri Park.  This unique apparatus now makes it possible for ALL children to enjoy the freedom and delight of getting on a swing - even those in wheelchairs!     

Childhood Autism Insurance Coverage  

The Governor has now officially signed into law HB2467: Childhood Autism Insurance Coverage. The legislation, which I supported, will offer up to $35,000 annually of insurance coverage to families with children ages two to six years old who have been affected by Autism. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 1 in 110 children and 1 in 70 boys are affected in some way by the disorder. Research has proven that early intervention is essential when treating Autism and this legislation will help hundreds of families get the care they need to make a real difference in their child's lives.  While this legislation had stalled in the past, this year we were able to reach bi-partisan agreement to provide real solutions to families faced with these challenges.     

"Let's Move the Needle on Childhood Obesity"

On April 29 I attended the program "Let's Move the Needle on Childhood Obesity: A Community Call to Action" sponsored by the Northern Virginia Healthy Kids Coalition.  The event addressed the alarming increase in childhood obesity rates over the past 30 years.  The event created a regional coalition of interested parties and groups and will provide access to information about how to combat childhood obesity through community action.  For more information on this community wide effort, click here

MWAA and Rail to Dulles - MWAA Board Increasingly Out Of Touch With Community

Back in March, the House Transportation Committee held a hearing on the status of the Dulles Toll Road project and the MWAA Board's general "dysfunction" that has been cited in numerous reports.  I join Congressman Frank Wolf and our local officials in strongly opposing the recent decision by MWAA to build an underground tunnel at the Dulles Airport station, a decision that would add at least an additional $300 million to construction costs.  In addition, the hasty push to add additional costs through Project Labor Agreements on behalf of unions is estimated to add another 20% or more to the costs and will reduce competitive bidding prospects for Phase 2 of the project.  In addition, you have voting members of the Board with strong union ties that deserve closer review.  Each additional dollar spent on this project would be an extra burden on every user of the Dulles Toll Road and the Metro system, through higher tolls, taxes and fares.

Virginia Gets Seat on Metro Board  

During the regular session we had legislation to require the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, on which I serve, to add a representative of the Governor's as one of the four Metro Board members representing Virginia.  I was a co-patron of this legislation, which passed in the House by a strong bipartisan 72-27 vote only to be killed in a Senate committee.  In the veto session, the Governor put an amendment onto the state's biennial budget to do the same thing as the legislation and it passed. I supported the bill because it is necessary to have a representative on the Metro Board representing the state's interests, monitoring the $130 million a year the state is providing to support Metro. The Governor has ensured House and Senate members that the person he appoints would have expertise in mass transit and be a resident of Northern Virginia.  Metro is a $2 billion a year transportation enterprise and a cornerstone of our transportation system in the Northern Virginia area.  Recent concerns related to safety, costs rising faster than ridership, and proposals for reduction in service indicate that Metro needs significant improvements in its management and direction.

SEAL Team Six 

Last week we all felt enormous pride in our military men and women as we learned of the death of Osama Bin Laden.  Many Virginians were directly affected by the devastating attacks at the Pentagon on September 11th and the previous bombing of the USS Cole, which was homeported in Norfolk.  The U.S. Naval Special Warfare Development Group, also known as SEAL Team Six, which carried out the mission is based in Virginia.  I join my fellow Virginians in wishing all the men and women responsible for the success of the mission the very best.  This was an incredible victory for the American people in the War on Terror.

Military Appreciation Mondays  

It was an honor as always to attend Military Appreciation Monday, May 9,  at The Brogue in support of Our Military Kids.  They recognize thesacrifice of children who have grown up with a parent serving in the military.  The past two Military Appreciation Mondays supported the CIA Officers Memorial Foundation and the Navy SEAL Foundation.

Great Falls Spring Festival 

It was great to see everyone at the recent Great Falls Spring Festival earlier this month.  We had a great time helping kids decorate cookies and plant seeds.  We also had a raffle, the three winners won a gift card to either Dantes, The Brogue, or The Tavern.  It was great to see our neighbors and local businesses out at this great community event.  .Barbara with SHARE at Spring Festival 

Cooper Middle School Straight A Students 

Last Thursday I was honored to join the teachers, parents and students as Cooper Middle School to celebrate all of the Straight A students.  Congratulations to 170 Straight A Students - what a wealth of talent for our community.

Hope Chinese School of Herndon 

Last Saturday,  I joined the Hope Chinese School of Herndon for the celebration of their 10th anniversary.  The school is a non-profit, volunteer-operated weekend school with over 5,000 students in the greater Washington DC area.  The Herndon campus was founded in the Spring of 2001, located at Herndon High School.  The school currently has 50 teachers and over 600 students.  They offer Chinese language classes for pre-K to 12th grade students; cultural-related classes, such as Chinese sketch and painting, Chinese music and folk dancing, Chinese martial art and Tai-ji; and various academic enrichment programs. 
Hope Chinese School

Pope John Paul II Resolution  

I recently presented House Joint Resolution 734, which designates June 2, 2011 as "Pope John Paul II's Pilgrimage to Poland Day" in Virginia to Cardinal Wuerle at a showing of "Nine Days That Changed the World"at the Pope John Paul II Center.  The resolution recognizes Pope John Paul II as one of the most important figures of the twentieth century and his role as a key protagonist in the fall of Soviet Communism.  The resolution also recognizes that just eight months after his election, Pope John Paul II returned to his homeland, Poland, for a nine-day pilgrimage that would change the world and helped to spark the transformation of Poland, ignite an epiphany, restructure the political landscape, encourage the Polish people to reclaim their country from the tyranny of Communism, and precipitate the fall of the Berlin Wall in November of 1989 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Pope Resolution Presentation 

Save The Dates:

It is a great honor to serve in the House as your Delegate and I am very grateful to the many people who have provided support, talent, counsel and ideas as we have worked to respond to the quality-of-life issues that are your priorities.  As always, we appreciate hearing from you.  We can be reached at:  703-209-3787.


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. 


If you have other events, news, or issues of concern, always feel free to contact me at [email protected].



Barbara Comstock

Paid for by Friends of Barbara Comstock.