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This week I joined my colleagues Senator Warner, Senator Kaine and Congressman Griffith in writing to the Bureau of Prisons to demand answers on the troubling conditions reported at federal correctional institutions in Petersburg and Southwest Virginia. We have heard of unacceptable conditions including a lack of adequate personal protective equipment, shower restrictions for inmates, and no breaks for staff who are working shifts as long as sixteen hours. We have followed up on the four month delayed response to this letter with a request to the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to conduct inspections of these facilities as soon as possible. We must do better to protect both inmates and staff at these facilities.
Earlier this week I wrote to the U.S. Census Bureau to urge them to reconsider their plans to inject data collected from this census with “noise,” which multiple researchers say could distort data at the regional, district and local levels. We rely on data collected from the census to make very important funding decisions, and to reapportion your representation in the Virginia legislature and U.S. House of Representatives. We need to know that we are making these decisions based on an accurate picture of our communities. In the meantime, I am asking you to please go ahead and complete your census questionnaire if you have not already. Just yesterday, a federal court ruled that the deadline to return census responses has been extended until October 31, 2020. Completing your census only takes a few minutes of your time and your community will benefit from your response.
I know that adapting to virtual learning has come with some challenges, and as most of our students are wrapping up their first month of online learning, I want to hear from parents and teachers about what is going well and what needs improvement. It is imperative that we provide the best learning environment possible for our students while also keeping them safe from the COVID-19 pandemic. If there is an opportunity for me to help – whether that is through increased federal funding, legislation to improve access to child care or federal grants to address broadband issues – I want to know about it. Please visit https://bit.ly/VA04OnlineEd to share your experiences or feedback with me.
Additionally, I want to remind our high school students that there is just under a month left for them to submit their application to receive a Service Academy Nomination from me. Each year I am able to nominate a very limited number of students for appointment to the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. These schools are some of the finest higher education institutions in our country, and students who attend have the chance to learn from some of our smartest and most promising future leaders. The process is very competitive, so please do not wait until the last minute to submit your application. Visit my website at https://mceachin.house.gov/services/military-academy-nominations to start your application today.
I hope you have a great weekend and get a chance to enjoy the beautiful fall weather.
A. Donald McEachin
Member of Congress
Virginia’s 4th District
Washington, DC Office
314 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Central Virginia Office
110 North Robinson St.
Richmond, VA 23220
Hampton Roads Office
131 N. Saratoga St.
Suffolk, VA 23434