But more than 7,400 low-income children in the state of Virginia could not attend any early education provider in the state because of lacking funding and limited space, according to the Common Wealth Institute, a local think tank.
“Pre-K is really a great equalizer,” says Adam Ebbin, a Democratic state senator on the school readiness committee. “If children don’t come to school knowing the letters of the alphabet, shapes, colors and numbers, they are not on the same level of their peers and more likely to fall behind.”
Ebbin says his team is currently involved in a study that will measure which early education government programs show the best results for students in places such as Alexandria and Fairfax. He says the study is ongoing and does not have a due date yet, but they hope to use that information to inform their work.
Supporters of marijuana decriminalization say the track record for change in Virginia has been dispiriting, but they are cautiously optimistic. State Sen. Adam P. Ebbin (D-Alexandria), who has sponsored bills on changing marijuana laws, said the recent primary victories by like-minded commonwealth’s attorney candidates has been encouraging.
Candidates who favor dropping marijuana prosecutions recently won primaries in Arlington and Fairfax counties, two of the state’s largest jurisdictions. They unseated incumbents with stricter stances on marijuana.
Last month, approximately 150 community members, local businesses, elected officials and County leaders came together to celebrate the completion of the Huntington Levee and improvements to Farrington Park. Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck welcomed those assembled and thanked former Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerry Hyland for his perseverance in getting this project planned, funded and built to protect the Huntington neighborhood which, historically, has been susceptible to flash flooding from heavy rainfall upstream and tidal surges from the Potomac River. Fairfax County Board Chairman Sharon Bulova, Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay, Senator Adam Ebbin, Fairfax County School Board Chair and Mount Vernon District Member Karen Corbett Sanders and former Congressman Jim Moran also joined the festivities.
State Senator Adam Ebbin (30th District), who represents parts of Alexandria and Arlington, commented that “the Republicans abruptly adjourned without a single minute of debate and summarily sent us back to our districts without taking any action.
“This callous indifference to the 11,000 Virginians who have died at the hand of a gun since Virginia Tech is a new low. With the eyes of the nation on Richmond, and hundreds of advocates from all walks of life filling Capitol Square, Republicans wouldn’t even talk about gun violence.”
Ebbin said Republicans “cowered behind parliamentary procedure.”
Sullivan's office was closed when Nesby arrived a little before 9 a.m. But three floors up, he had better luck with Ebbin, who not only remembered the email Nesby had sent him but invited him into his office to talk about it.
Ebbin explained his desire for universal background checks, recalling how he visited a gun show and saw how easy it was to buy weapons without one.
"We walked in the gun show, and I said, 'We do not want to go through a background check, and they said, 'Go to this booth,' " Ebbin said. "They said, 'Fine, you don't look like a bank robber.' "
Democratic Senator Adam Ebbin of Alexandria says lots of those armed people were in the gallery upstairs.
“The House rules allow for them in the chamber, I believe including when the governor is giving the State of the Commonwealth Address," says Ebbin. "But the Senate does not allow guns except the members that are bearing arms, which are several. Apparently the police are not enough to protect them.”
At the nearby bell tower in Capitol Square, Northam, in a suit and tie despite the summer heat, addressed an hour-long peace vigil, leading several hundred people in chants of “Enough is enough!”
The governor held hands with African American community leaders, and they sang “We Shall Overcome.” He was joined by Richmond’s mayor, Levar Stoney (D), as well as the city’s police chief, schools superintendent and other officials. Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) also stood with Northam, as did state Sens. Adam P. Ebbin (D-Alexandria) and Barbara A. Favola (D-Arlington) and Del. Delores L. McQuinn (D-Richmond).
Ebbin said in an interview he recalled Reeves once lamenting the lack of bipartisanship in the Senate, and said the two had worked together. But learning of Reeves’ comments to the NRA, Ebbin said, “makes me think twice.”
Ebbin said many constituents reached out to him Wednesday offering support, and one constituent on social media tweeted to the senator that he didn’t know Ebbin was gay.
Gays and lesbians “are your neighbors and co-workers and often your family members,” Ebbin said, when asked what he would say to voters who think someone’s sexual orientation is a negative. “Though we may not be out, I hope that you will judge people on their merit and qualities rather than who they love.”
Ebbin, when told of Reeves’s remarks at the town hall, said he never made any of the comments attributed to him.
“Apparently I’m a radical homosexual who’s misquoted,” Ebbin said sarcastically.
“I did speak to him once on, ‘Couldn’t we agree on universal background checks,’ but I’ve never talked to him about radically changing the course of Virginia,” Ebbin said. “I’ve never heard any Democrat in Virginia or elsewhere that I recall talking about a minimum wage over $15.”
Ebbin said he was most upset that Reeves would invoke his sexual orientation.
“I’m offended, I’m hurt, and I’m shocked,” Ebbin said. “He’s invited me to dinner. We’ve had lunch. I thought that I wasn’t the boogeyman to him, but apparently I’m the boogeyman at election time if it helps him get a few more votes.
They contacted state Sen. Adam P. Ebbin (D-Alexandria) and called the lawmaker’s attention to the severity of the problem inside their school. Ebbin said he is working with the students to address the issue, and introducing legislation in the General Assembly is a possibility.
“Students deserve to be learning in a healthy environment, and staff and teachers who are in the same building year after year deserve to be teaching in a safe environment,” Ebbin said. “These kids are making sure that this issue is dealt with adequately.”