Delagate Jason Miyares
The honor of my life is representing the citizens of Virginia Beach in the Virginia House of Delegates. In 1965, my mother Miriam Miyares fled Cuba as a scared, penniless 19-year old girl, leaving a country where the government has no consent of the governed to almost fifty years to the day in 2015 being able to vote for her son to represent her in one of the oldest democracies in the world. This is truly an example of the American Miracle.
2019 is the 400th Anniversary of the founding of the oldest continuous democratic body in the Western Hemisphere, the Virginia General Assembly. Virginia has come a long way since the first meeting of the legislative body in a Jamestown church on a hot July 30th, 1619. However, the same duties then have existed over the past four centuries; to thoughtfully represent and build a stronger Commonwealth.
Most of the work in the Virginia General Assembly, which meets in January and February this year in Richmond, will be adjusting the two-year biennial state budget while considering over 2,000 different pieces of legislation. I am a passionate advocate for smart government, one that practices transparency, accountability and fiscal sanity. This is how we govern our own lives, and as a steward of taxpayer dollars, I’m ever mindful that the money we spend in Richmond is not mine but the money of the hardworking men and women I represent.
My top priorities for the 2019 Session are providing tax relief for working families, building safe schools, making college more affordable and slowing the massive growth in health care costs.
Inevitably, some of our biggest discussions will center on the proper role, size and scope of government. This means major policy discussions on Virginia’s current budget surplus due to a strong economy and changes in the federal tax code that impacts every family in Virginia that pays state income taxes. Unlike a Washington drowning in debt, in Richmond we balance our budget every year. The Governor has proposed a budget however that increases spending by $2.2 billion, and he plans to pay for this spending spree with a $1.2 billion increase in taxes alone.
There is a better way, and my hope is to find a commonsense solution that balances our budget in a fiscally responsible manner while providing targeted tax relief to middle and low income Virginians, without costing the state a penny.
As a former Virginia Beach prosecutor, keeping our community safe from violent criminals remains one my critical priorities. With three daughters in Virginia Beach public schools, a safe school environment for every child attempting to pursue their dreams is paramount. The Virginia General Assembly prioritized two-dozen recommendations from the House Select Committee on School Safety, which we will advance to keep our children safe and secure.
For too long those in power have failed to give voice to the students and families who pay for the rising cost of college, but rarely have a seat at the policymaking table. That is why I’m working with organizations like the Partnership for College Affordability and Public Trust, to advance bipartisan legislation that improves college affordability, transparency and quality. As someone who worked during my time at James Madison University, I know firsthand how rising state tuition costs are pricing out the dream of college for too many in our Commonwealth.
Health care costs are crippling our small business owners and making it unsustainable for too many Virginia families. One of our priorities is to advance a series of bills that make it easier and more affordable to get quality health insurance. National politicians in Washington have created utter chaos and a mess in healthcare, and we are doing everything we can to make it better in Virginia. This includes price transparency, allowing insurance pools and making it easier for small business to provide health insurance for their employees.
Finally, flooding relief and mitigation remain a high priority for my legislative agenda. Previously, I introduced the Hurricane Flooding and Protection Act and am supporting a host of flooding legislation again this year. My goal is to make Virginia an official non-federal sponsor of hurricane and flooding protection projects with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, so Virginia doesn’t have to wait on Washington DC to tackle our most pressing flooding challenges.
Please stay in touch with me by following me on Facebook, visit jasonmiyares.com or contact me at 757-353-4696 which comes to my cell phone. It is the highest honor of my life to serve the city I love in Richmond.