On Wednesday, April 24, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) will travel to the Eastern Shore and Hampton Roads for two days of events with local leaders.
On Wednesday, April 24 at 12:00 PM, Sen. Warner and U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA), along with Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine, will visit the Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, where they will be joined by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. During the visit, Sen. Warner will tour MARS Pad 0A, where just last week an Antares rocket successfully launched to the International Space Station and which Sen. Warner was instrumental in securing federal funding to rebuild following a launch failure in 2014.
In addition, Sen. Warner will tour additional recent infrastructure upgrades, including a newly-constructed MARS payload processing facility that will provide the capability to process and load classified cargo aboard rockets for launch from Wallops Island. Immediately following the tour, Sen. Warner, Rep. Luria and Administrator Bridenstine will take questions from the media. In the Senate, Sen. Warner has introduced bipartisan legislation to support innovation, research and development in the aeronautics industry occurring at Wallops.
Afterwards, at 2:30 PM in Accomack County, Sen. Warner will host a town hall meeting with community leaders from the Eastern Shore. During the informal conversation, Sen. Warner will provide an update on his work in Washington, including his legislation to protect healthcare for Virginians living with pre-existing conditions, and take questions from local leaders. Rep. Luria will also be in attendance and will provide brief remarks.
On Thursday, April 25 at 10:00 AM, Sen. Warner will host a press conference in Norfolk with Del. Jay Jones and the parents of Ashanti Billie to call on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to swiftly implement the Ashanti Alert System as required by legislation passed by Sen. Warner and signed into law in December of 2018. The Ashanti Alert law is named after a 19-year-old woman who was abducted in Norfolk in 2017 and whose body was discovered in North Carolina 11 days after she was first reported missing. It requires the DOJ to establish a national communications network to assist regional and local search efforts for missing adults between the ages of 18-64 years.
Last month, Sen. Warner wrote to Attorney General William Barr to request an update on the implementation of the alert system. In response to Sen. Warner’s letter, the DOJ indicated that little progress has been made on the implementation of the federal Ashanti Alert system, with only a program coordinator and internal working group members identified. No timeline for a full implementation was provided.
Then at 10:45 AM in Norfolk, Sen. Warner will convene a follow-up meeting with Hampton Roads military families, Navy leadership, and executives from Lincoln Military Housing regarding pervasive health hazards in privatized military housing. Last month, Warner met with several Hampton Roads families to hear firsthand about the safety issues they have experienced living in privatized military housing, and pledged to follow up to ensure that the horrifying problems the families reported get fixed. For the second meeting with the families this Thursday in Norfolk, Warner will bring with him Navy officials and executives from Lincoln Military Housing, which operates 4,400 homes in Hampton Roads, to make sure that they understand the urgency of addressing the problems reported by Virginia military families. In the Senate, Warner has introduced Ensuring Safe Housing for our Military Act, legislation to address health, safety and environmental hazards and protect military families living in private housing.
Also on Thursday at 12:45 PM, Sen. Warner will join local leaders in Smithfield for a downtown walk and meet-and-greet, where Warner will visit local businesses and discuss ways to grow the local economy.