On February 14th, 17 lives were tragically taken in a shooting at a high school in Florida. Several others were injured. The events that unfolded there are absolutely devastating. Our hearts and prayers as a nation are with the students, teachers, staff, and their family members as well as the entire Parkland community during this very difficult time. Students should feel safe in their schools, and our country must continue working to deter gun violence by helping those suffering from mental illness, ensuring that the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database has all relevant information, and enforcing our nation’s gun laws.
In the wake of this tragic shooting, authorities have sifted through the past of the shooter, Nikolas Cruz, to determine whether there were warning signs that he was capable of such monstrous actions. There were. On Friday, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy and I sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray requesting a briefing on why FBI protocols were not followed regarding tips the agency received on Cruz. We are seeking to understand these protocols and know why they were not followed in this case.
Stopping by Page One in Luray
On Tuesday, I had the chance to visit Page One in Luray. Page One runs a thrift shop and food pantry, which serves many families in Page County. They are staffed by a dedicated group and have partnered with several organizations in the community. Recently, Page One purchased a new building so that they could continue growing their good work. This is a great example of a community working together to help meet its own needs. Thanks to Connie and Lois for the tour!
Protecting Athletes from Abuse
With the Olympics underway, I’m sure many of you have marveled at the skill and talent of America’s athletes. It’s truly remarkable! At the same time, many of you have likely followed the disturbing stories of abuse in the USA Gymnastics organization by Dr. Larry Nassar. The sentencing of Dr. Nassar highlights the need for serious reforms to protect young athletes and hold predators accountable.
Recently, the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act was passed by Congress, and last week it was signed into law by President Trump. This bill mandates that amateur athletics governing bodies immediately report allegations of abuse, including sexual abuse, to law enforcement. It also establishes best practices for preventing abuse and provides governing bodies with guidelines about reporting abuse. These changes respond to the needs of victims and will make amateur athletics safer for future Olympians. I was proud to support this bill and help work to see it signed into law.
The Next Generation of America’s Leaders
Recently, I announced my nomination of several young men and women from the Sixth District to compete for an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, or U.S. Naval Academy. America’s military has produced some of our country’s most distinguished leaders. These individuals have expressed an interest in following in their footsteps, and I applaud them for their willingness to protect and defend the United States.
At our nation’s service academies, students have the opportunity to receive a quality education and training to become the next generation of leaders. I am confident that those selected for an appointment will serve the United States with distinction. For a full list of the nominees, please visit Goodlatte.House.Gov.
In Case You Missed It…
• On the road again: Goodlatte Responds to General Assembly Members on I-81
• VIDEO Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue recently testified before the House Agriculture Committee on the “State of the Rural Economy.” I agree with him that reforming the system for agricultural guest workers and ensuring a stable, legal workforce for farmers and producers is one of the most important issues facing American agriculture.
• What is the Securing America’s Future Act? Click here to learn more about my bill that closes many gaping loopholes in our existing immigration enforcement laws, makes important reforms to our legal immigration programs, secures the border, and provides a legislative solution for the current beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
• WATCH: Last week, I joined America’s Newsroom on Fox News to discuss the latest on immigration reform efforts in the House.
• Tax season is here! The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to those who qualify. Click here to learn more or find a VITA site near you.
Welcome to Washington!
As co-chair of the Congressional Independent Colleges Caucus, I enjoyed welcoming several representatives from independent colleges and universities in the Sixth District to D.C. earlier this month. Pictured here is Dr. NL Bishop, President of Jefferson College of Health Sciences in Roanoke, and his wife, Sylvia. I am fortunate to represent so many excellent schools in the Sixth District.