First Week on the Job
For Immediate Release
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Contact: Rob Abbot, (703) 380-8883
As He Takes Office, Delegate Mark Keam Announces Legislative Agenda, Committee Assignments, and Contact Information for Constituents
RICHMOND — On Wednesday, January 13, 2010, Mark L. Keam of Vienna was sworn in as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates representing the 35th Legislative District. Keam replaces Delegate Steve Shannon who represented the same district for six years until his retirement from the House in 2009.
On his first day on the job, Keam introduced several bills that focus on the most immediate needs of the 35th District, which includes the entire Town of Vienna and portions of Oakton, Dunn Loring, Fair Oaks and Tysons areas. Keam will sponsor a few more bills and co-sponsor other legislation in the coming days.
"In these tough economic times, the most important task for the General Assembly is to focus on job creation and turning the economy around," explained Keam. "As the Commonwealth faces daunting budget restrictions that dramatically limit spending, growing the economy is a far better option than asking our taxpayers to carry more of the burden."
To encourage economic development, Keam's legislative efforts would provide income tax credits for employers who create "green" jobs in the renewable energy field and for those who allow flexible telework opportunities for employees. If enacted, these bills would promote job creation and a healthier environment. "We can promote jobs and be green at the same time," said Keam.
To further assist small businesses, another of Keam's bills would develop a public-private health insurance purchasing program for small businesses who can't afford healthcare coverage for their employees. Keam also filed a bill that would reform utility companies' rate structure so that their customers can save costs while advancing conservation and efficiency goals for energy companies.
Keam also introduced bills to address two other issues that were important to voters in the recent election: transportation and education. "Almost every resident in our district I met told me they were tired of sending more of their tax dollars to Richmond then they receive back," Keam noted. "I agree, and I will fight to get our fair share of funds for Fairfax County."
Keam's transportation bills would add a northern Virginia member to the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) to represent a new highway construction district for the region. This change would allow state funds to be better allocated to the northern Virginia roads that take on more congestion due to population density. This and another Keam legislative effort would bring direct benefits to the Town of Vienna and Fairfax County, which face much higher traffic volumes than the statewide average.
On education, Keam is working to fix the complex "local composite index" so that Fairfax County's schools will receive more state funds than they are now receiving. Under the current formula, Fairfax County is penalized for its economic successes to the benefit of less affluent or rural counties.
Another of Keam's education bills would provide state support for more teachers to handle students with limited English proficiency. This legislative fix would also directly benefit Fairfax County which has a diverse student population.
Additionally, Keam will be carrying several legislative issues very important to the Town of Vienna. "I am in regular contact with the Vienna Mayor Jane Seeman and other Town officials to make sure that their voices and the concerns of the Town residents are heard in Richmond" declared Keam.
Working closely with State Senator Chap Petersen who also represents the Town of Vienna, Keam has introduced bills to fund road maintenance in Vienna and to increase state support for local public safety, land use and governance efforts.
Finally, Keam is proud to be the Chief Co-Patron of a bipartisan resolution introduced by Republican Delegate James LeMunyon of the 67th District, which would require all recorded committee and floor votes taken in the House of Delegates to be posted online.
"As fellow freshmen Delegates representing neighboring districts in Fairfax County, Jim and I have already established a strong working relationship. I'm pleased to join him in an effort to ensure that our government is transparent, efficient, and accountable to our citizens," said Keam about his bipartisan legislative effort.
Bill numbers, summaries, and texts of Keam's legislative agenda can be found on Keam's constituency website (http://www.markkeam.com) as well as on the Virginia General Assembly website (http://leg1.state.va.us/lis.htm).
On Wednesday, House Speaker William Howell announced that Delegate Keam has been assigned to the Committee on Finance and the Committee on Militia, Police, and Public Safety.
The Finance Committee is the third oldest standing committee of the House, established in 1806. Members of this Committee consider proposals concerning general and special revenues of the Commonwealth. The Militia Committee dates its origins to 1822, and today has jurisdiction over homeland security, police, sheriffs, and other public safety matters.
Keam was pleased with his committee assignments, and looks forward to working with the bipartisan members to address the pressing needs in Virginia. "I'm excited to serve on these important committees," said Keam.
"As the Commonwealth faces unprecedented budgetary woes, we need to have an honest and thorough review of the state government's revenues and spending records. I look forward to seeking realistic and pragmatic solutions, not ones based on ideology or politics," commented Keam about his position on the Finance Committee.
Keam said about the Militia Committee: "As we have just witnessed in the valiant efforts of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue emergency responders who were deployed to Haiti immediately upon the tragic earthquake taking place, Virginia's public safety officials are the best in the world. The thousands of men and women in uniform who protect our lives every day as police officers, deputy sheriffs, fire fighters and first responders deserve our utmost respect and support. I look forward to working with them to make sure the state provides them with the tools they need."
At these Committees' first business meetings next week, Keam will be assigned to serve on subcommittees where members will have a chance to develop further expertise on particular subject matters.
Keam invites anyone in the 35th District who has an issue or problem with state government to contact him or his legislative assistant, Rob Abbot.
Keam also encourages interested constituents to follow him on Twitter and join his page on Facebook to receive regular live updates on his work in Richmond and in the District.
Legislative Assistant:Rob Abbot Phone: (703) 350-3911 Email: email@example.com
Mailing Address (please send ALL written correspondences to this address):Delegate Mark Keam P.O. Box 1134 Vienna, VA 22183-1134
District Office (please contact staff to make an appointment ahead of time):Office of Delegate Mark L. Keam 1952 Gallows Road, Suite 210 Vienna, VA 22182 Phone: (703) 350-3911 Website: www.www.markkeam.com
Richmond Office (when the General Assembly is in session, mid-January to mid-March):Office of Delegate Mark L. Keam Virginia House of Delegates General Assembly Building, Room 715 Richmond, VA 23219 Phone: (804) 698-1035 Fax: (804) 698-6735 Website: www.www.markkeam.com
Policy and legislative matters during session:Â Â DelMKeam@house.virginia.gov
Constituent service anytime:Â firstname.lastname@example.org
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