Following the Independence Day District Work Period, my colleagues and I returned to Washington this week with only 23 days to complete the work of the 117th Congress. The biggest remaining hurdle is the passing of the twelve Appropriations bills that fund the government over the next year. Additionally, a smaller but still inflation-causing “Build Back Better” bill may see new life in the Senate. But I have listened to story after story of Sixth District residents who have seen their paychecks shrink, gas and grocery bills rise, and expressed a lack of confidence in future economic opportunity because of skyrocketing inflation over the past year. It will be with them in mind that I will fight to restore energy independence and reduce the inflationary spending, higher taxes, and Green New Deal agenda that is causing damage to the American dream.
Dog Days of Summer for Congress
Funding the Federal Government
Congress has much to finish but very few legislative days in which to do it this year. Two remaining priorities are funding the Federal government through Fiscal Year 2023 and reauthorizing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Just recently, after completing the Appropriations Committee markup, we learned yet again that House Democrats are committed to continuing their relentless spending spree. House Democrats’ Appropriations spending bills, while encompassing some areas of bipartisanship, reflecked much of President Biden’s $5.8 trillion tax and spend budget. It will still be an uphill battle for Republicans to add bipartisan amendments on the House Floor that can reverse course from the failed agenda of Speaker Pelosi and President Biden.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)
The next task for Congress is to pass the NDAA for FY23. The NDAA provides authorization for the training, equipment, and resources of our men and women in uniform and the thousands of civilian DoD employees. While we must have the best-trained and equipped military in the world, we must also make sure it is funded by a policy that meets the needs of 21st century warfare and threats and allows us to respond when America’s interests are threated.
There are likely to be some important provisions in this bill which I support and will continue advocating for, such as a 2.4% pay bonus for enlisted personnel to counteract the impacts of inflation on low income military families, $500 million for additional housing allowances to counteract the skyrocketing cost of rent on military families, and an additional $750 million to reduce costs of food and other necessities at military commissaries, and much more needed targeted support to our military.
However, if history is any indication, Democrats will try and politicize our military and inject woke indoctrination theories and mandated training into our Nation’s defense funding. To be sure, supporting our troops and Veterans has remained a top priority. But I will not shy away from fighting against regulations that diminish the cohesiveness and readiness of our troops in an increasingly dangerous world. America’s men and women in uniform need to be properly funded and not bogged down by a radical agenda that distracts them from their core mission of keeping our country safe and advancing our interests abroad.
Bypassing the Supreme Court and Federalizing Abortion Law
As the political debates continue on multiple issues, I will continue to stand for life and against Democrats’ attempt to federalize abortion law across the country following the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs. President Biden recently signed an executive order to expand abortion services at the federal level, and Democrats in Congress are attempting to codify expanded abortion rights into law. Speaker Pelosi is set to bring to the Floor a number of radical pro-abortion bills, provisions of which include no restrictions on abortion even 9 months into pregnancy. These actions will be met with fierce opposition by myself and other Republicans. Rest assured that I will continue be a leader in the charge to defend the voiceless.
New Veterans Crisis Line
For Veterans struggling with their mental health there is a new resource to help. Starting on July 16th, the Veterans Crisis Line will have a new option for phone contact. Dial 988, then Press 1 when prompted. You can learn more about the new launch in an article here.
Last week in Virginia there was an average 31 daily cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents, down from 33 daily cases last week. This week’s COVID-19 test positivity rate rose to 21%. For more information, click here.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Congressman. If my office can ever be of assistance, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431.
5 breast cancer myths
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month in America. Although more people are surviving a breast cancer diagnosis than ever before, it’s still the most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death among American women. Therefore, it’s important to know the facts. Here are five breast cancer myths.
1. Only people with a family history of breast cancer are at risk. Only about five to 10 percent of breast cancers are considered hereditary.
2. Breast cancer only affects women. Although rare, men can get breast cancer too. In 2022, about 2,710 American men are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer, and 530 will die from the disease.
3. Antiperspirants and deodorants cause breast cancer. There’s no conclusive evidence linking the use of antiperspirants or deodorants and the development of breast cancer.
4. Breast cancer always causes a lump you can feel. Although regular breast self-exams can help detect lumps, breast cancer doesn’t always manifest itself this way. Other symptoms include pain, swelling, redness, and skin thickening.
5. All breast cancers are treated the same way. Breast cancer treatment plans vary widely depending on the tumor’s characteristics, the cancer stage, and the patient’s preferences.
This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, donate to help create a world where no American fears breast cancer.
‘Bikers Against Child Abuse’ support victims and families as Garrett Dean sentenced to 7 years on sexual abuse of minors plea agreement convictions
A 26-year-old man who plead guilty to several charges related to the sexual abuse of two minor girls as part of a plea agreement with the Commonwealth was sentenced to seven years in prison Friday, September 30, in Warren County Circuit Court. Somewhat convoluted sentencing guidelines indicated a range of from 2-years-1-month on the low end (with special circumstances possibly lowering that to zero time of incarceration and only probation served) to 9-years-11 months on the high end. Should Garrett Dean break the rules of 10 years of probation he faces upon his release, the first five years supervised, the second five unsupervised, he could face imposition of three 5-year suspended sentences imposed on two Indecent Liberties with a Minor charges and one Child Pornography charge he was convicted of in the plea agreement. The seven years he was sentenced to serve was on an Aggravated Sexual Battery of a Minor guilty plea.
It was noted by a representative of Blue Ridge Legal Services present for the hearing that a “Lifetime Protective Order” against Dean had been filed on behalf of the two victims and their families.
Judge Dennis L. Hupp heard testimony from six Commonwealth witnesses concerning victim impacts from four relatives of the two victims and two counselors/mentors who have treated the children for trauma through a Warren Coalition program cited as Project Courage. Defense counsel Tyler Simmers presented four witnesses, two sisters of the defendant and his stepfather, as well as the defendant himself. The gist of his relatives’ testimony was that the Garrett Dean they knew had been a good, caring, and helpful person who had gone bad under the influence of hard drugs.
Dean testified to addiction issues, particularly with crystal methamphetamine during the time frame of the abuse. In fact, the 26-year-old testified he had done crystal meth since he was 17 “almost every day” – “I lost my life, I lost my job of three years … I lost who I was and made poor judgments,” Dean said in response to his attorney’s questions about his addiction issues, which Dean indicated during his testimony at least one family member of a victim was proactively aware of during that time-frame.
Questioned about treatments he was undergoing in the wake of his arrests in March-April 2021 on these charges, Dean also noted he has been treated for mental health issues, citing schizophrenia or bipolar disorder and depression. He also expressed remorse for his actions, apologizing to the victims and their families for what he had done. “I wish I could take back what I’ve done,” he said on the witness stand.
The defendant also told the court he had adhered to the terms of home-release status as he awaited his sentencing hearing. However, the prosecution presented one rebuttal witness who testified they had seen Dean with his mother at a Salvation Army thrift store in Winchester during his home incarceration. And while Commonwealth Attorney John Bell admitted being at a Salvation Army store with one’s mother wouldn’t normally be “a bad thing” – in this case it was a technical violation of his pre-sentencing release terms, the prosecution noted.
Commonwealth’s Attorney John Bell countered the good-boy-gone-bad-under-the-influence defense scenario on two fronts. One was Dean’s 2016 arrest on a Schedule 1 or 2 drug distribution charge at age 20. Rather than rehabilitate following that experience, Bell pointed out that once out of the control of the judicial system, he had returned to the addictive behavior he now blames for his sexual predatory behavior five years later.
“He was given a chance to remove drugs from his life but went back and ruined these two families lives. He has taken an opportunity and rejected it as soon as he was out from under the thumb of the court,” Bell told the court of the defense contention Dean was committed to kicking his drug habit and bad behavioral choices this time around.
The second and perhaps most nefarious aspect of the cases Bell told the court, was the way the defendant ingratiated himself into the lives of the two victims’ families over time so that he became a trusted caretaker of the young girls he ended up abusing. The personal consequences and impacts reverberated beyond the victims throughout their families, Bell reminded the court during closing arguments, referencing the victim impact statements previously submitted to the court in writing, four examples of which were heard on the witness stand that day.
Commonwealth witnesses described the traumatic emotional impacts on the victims, essentially changing how they perceive the world around them and how they now lead their lives. Asked how the victim she treated was doing, a Warren Coalition counselor replied, “Not very good … I feel I will be a part of her life as long as I can, as long as she’s (age) eligible for treatment. It breaks my heart – you shouldn’t have to lose your childhood like that, especially with someone the family trusted,” the counselor told the court. Asked by Judge Hupp if she had treated the victim before the sexually abusive incidents occurred, the counselor replied, “No,” adding that she began treating the girl two weeks before her 10th birthday in the wake of discovery of the abuse.
The prosecution’s victim impact testimony continued in that vein for both victims, with relatives often sobbing through their description of the emotional impacts on the victims and how the abuse had come about through the defendant’s connections to the families.
Following closing arguments in the hearing that began shortly after 10 a.m., at 11:50 a.m. Judge Hupp retired to his chambers to ponder his sentencing decision. It might be noted here that present throughout the proceedings in support of the victims and their families was a contingent from the Virginia Chapter of “Bikers Against Child Abuse.” Those bikers sat among family members throughout the sentencing hearing and stood with them in and around the courthouse second-floor lobby and witness rooms during recesses.
At 12:22 p.m., just over a half hour after adjourning to chambers, Judge Hupp returned with his sentencing decision. First, he asked the defendant if he had anything else to say. “I’m really sorry … I’m trying to move on one day at a time,” Dean said in a final expression of remorse for the devastation he had brought to those in two families who had once believed him to be a trusted friend and companion.
Judge Hupp pointed to the potential impact of surrounding mental health issues on the defendant’s behavior, adding, “That doesn’t diminish this case. You have stolen the innocence of two young girls … who are still dealing with the pain and trauma and consequences.” The judge then referenced the long-term nature of the abuse citing the defendant’s first gaining the trust of the victims’ families and the victims themselves. However, the judge acknowledged the defendant accepting responsibility for his actions and expressions of remorse as tempering his decision somewhat. But he then noted that Dean’s past history suggested: “a continued risk on the other side” of returning to drug abuse with whatever impact that might have on his future behavioral decision-making.
Judge Hupp then gave his sentencing as cited above: suspended 5-year sentences on the two Indecent Liberties with a Minor convictions, another five years suspended on the solicitation of child pornography conviction, and the seven years to serve on the Aggravated Sexual Abuse of a Minor conviction; followed upon his release by the five years of supervised probation, then five years of unsupervised probation. Dean was also ordered to continue treatments for his sex offender behavior and mental health issues.
The judge denied a defense request to delay imposition of the sentencing, ordering him to be taken into custody for processing into incarceration immediately. Dean will also be required to register as a sex offender after his release and abide by the Lifetime Protective Order prohibiting any contact with the victims and their family members. Noting the increasing dependence on electronic communications in today’s world, Judge Hupp did not prohibit Dean from owning electronic communications devices after his release. However, related to the solicitation of child pornography conviction, Judge Hupp prohibited Dean from having any social media accounts in the future.
Amy Blanche Jenkins (1948 – 2022)
Amy Blanche Jenkins, 74, of Browntown, Virginia, went home to be with her Lord and Savior on Thursday, June 16, 2022, at her home in Browntown.
A funeral service will be held on Friday, June 24 at 2:00 pm at Maddox Funeral Home with Pastor Jack Campbell and Brother Tony Cubbage officiating. Interment will follow in Prospect Hill Cemetery.
Amy was born April 28, 1948, in Warren County, the daughter of the late Lovel Partlow and Verda Smelser Partlow. She was a member of the Flint Hill Pentecostal Church.
Surviving is her loving and devoted husband of 54 years, Bobby Wilson Jenkins, whom she married on August 14, 1968; three sons, David Jenkins and wife Christel of Browntown, Daniel Jenkins and Wife Frankie of Linden, and Bobby “Buster” Jenkins and wife Misty of Strasburg; two brothers, Earl Partlow of Winchester and George Partlow of Stephens City; 8 grandchildren, Laura Corathers and husband Anthony, Matthew Jenkins, Jacob Jenkins, Courtney Davis and husband Justin, Brooke Robison and husband Cameron, Andrew Jenkins, Katie Funk, Linkyn Bosworth; and 7 great-grandchildren, Bradley, Lincoln and Charlie Corathers, Waylon and Aubrey (and Alana on the way) Davis and Charlotte and Bonnie Robison.
Amy was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Robbie Partlow; and sisters, Clemmie Henry, Polly Matthews, and Louise Seal.
Pallbearers will be Matthew Jenkins, Jacob Jenkins, Andrew Jenkins, Linkyn Bosworth, Anthony Croathers, Justin Davis, and Cameron Robison.
Honorary pallbearers Laura Croathers, Courtney Davis, Brooke Robison, Katie Funk, and Michaela Banzhof.
The family will receive friends on Thursday, June 23 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the funeral home.
Memorial contributions may be made to Blue Ridge Hospice, 333 West Cork Street, Winchester, Virginia 22601, or the Flint Hill Pentecostal Church, 161 Aileen Road, Flint Hill, Virginia 22627.