We made our voices heard across Virginia Wednesday, Jan. 7 at the state’s Budget Hearings. The hearings are an opportunity for the public to advocate for state funding for the year. Members from all over the state attended and spoke at these hearings to advocate for Quality Jobs and Quality Public Services for all working Virginians.
Members spoke out about quality services and quality jobs, asking General Assembly members to do six key things:
— Expand Medicaid so that every hard-working Virginian has access to healthcare and to ensure that providers have the resources we need to do our jobs
— Raise the minimum wage
— Ensure every Virginian has access to affordable higher education
— Ensure affordable housing to hard-working Virginians across the Commonwealth
— Build a Quality Home Care system for all Virginians by providing a living wage and paid sick days to Medicaid home care providers
— Protect and strengthen the retirements promised to our public employees who serve our communities
Here are reports from each hearing we attended:
Home Care member Karen Wynn and Julia Newton spoke at the Williamsburg hearing.
The legislators overseeing the hearing were Delegates Johnny Joannau, Chris Jones, Mamie BaCote and Dawn Hester, as well as Senator Kenny Alexander.
Karen Wynn shared this about the day: “This is my second year doing this. I am not comfortable speaking in front of people, but I do it on behalf of my mother who has dementia and Nigel who has cerebral palsy. They are the reason I muster up the courage to speak to our Senators and Delegates to fight for their rights and the rights of all who live in the state of Virginia. And for all the Home Care workers who are underpaid and do not get sick days or vacations or health care. Also, I spoke on raising the minimum wage for all of Virginians just to be able to take care of their families and Medicaid Expansion. I will keep speaking knocking on doors and phone banking. I want to make a difference, and I will be the voice for those who can’t speak for themselves.”
Home Care member Queenie Jett and Home Care Chapter Board member Shana Boston-Allen spoke to the legislators at the Martinsville Budget Hearing.
The legislators overseeing the hearing were Senators Emmett Hanger and Steve Newman and Delegates T. Scott Garrett, Charles Poindexter and Steve Landes.
Shana shared: “It was great to have a voice and know that the legislators were listening. It was hard to say everything in three minutes, but I told them we will see them again in Richmond so we can continue to advocate for health care, stagnant pay and the American Dream!”
Home Care Chair Lauralyn Clark and Home Care member Barbara Lee spoke at the Richmond hearing.
The legislators overseeing the hearing were Delegates James Massie, John O’Bannon III, Riley Ingram and Kirk Cox and Senators Walter Stosch, John Watkins, Frank Ruff and Ryan McDougle.
Home Care member Thomasine Wilson was in attendance and shared: “When you advocate, your issues are heard and given opportunity to be addressed and it paves the way for a better life for families, community and future generations.”
SEIU Virginia 512 President David Broder, Home Care member Kenny Ulmer and Loudoun Chapter Chair Patti Nelson spoke at the Manassas hearing.
The legislators overseeing the hearing were Senators Janet Howell, Chuck Colgan and Jill Vogel and Delegates Scott Lingamfelter, Ed Scott and Richard Anderson.
After speaking, Kenny shared: “I’ve never spoken at a budget hearing before, but it was great. We need to keep doing this until we win.”
These budget hearings were the first step in winning a state budget that supports SEIU Virginia 512 members and all working families in Virginia. But if we’re going to win, we need to do more. The next step is attending Lobby Day on Jan. 26-27 to meet one-on-one with legislators to share your personal story. These stories are what move legislators to make the right decisions on our priorities.
Will you join us at Lobby Day to win for working families? RSVP today here!