It is an honor to represent the citizens of Harrisonburg and Rockingham in the Virginia House of Delegates. I thank you for your support as we work to make Virginia a better place to live, work and raise a family.

As your Delegate, I represent your voice in the General Assembly. I want to know your concerns and ideas pertaining to state issues. Never hesitate to contact me, I am here to serve you!

Wilt Signature 2014

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Final Veto Update

Since I have been back from Richmond, I have enjoyed the opportunity to attend a number of meetings and events to offer a legislative update. There are several additional events scheduled in the coming weeks, and I always welcome the opportunity to speak with constituents in the interim.

All work related to the 2017 Legislative Session was completed Friday, May 5. Last Friday was the deadline for the Governor to take final action on amended legislation that was taken up at the Reconvened Session on April 5. Given this, I want to offer a few thoughts on the Governor’s recent veto actions.

While there were accomplishments this session, many of them bi-partisan, unfortunately the Governor opted to focus on partisanship during the waning days of his administration. Rather than focusing on accomplishments, the Governor has been taking a victory lap for his veto record (49 bills this session). Many of these vetoes were common sense measures that received bi-partisan support with veto-proof majorities during the legislative process. However, for vetoes taken up at Reconvened, the Democrats that initially supported the legislation flip-flopped to vote to sustain the vetoes.

Thankfully the Governor has signed the budget bill, but not before attempting several item vetoes to the measure. The amended budget is a responsible spending plan that addressed the shortfall we faced, while maintaining additional funding support for some key priorities. Among his item vetoes was an attempt to remove the language prohibiting the Governor from unilaterally expanding Medicaid. Governor McAuliffe tried the same trick last year. However, just as last year, the Clerk of the House of Delegates, Paul Nardo, informed the Governor that such action is not in accord with Article V, Section 6 of the Constitution of Virginia. Supreme Court precedent has made it clear that an item veto to the budget can not carve out a particular portion of an item without removing the appropriation.

He attempted the same feat with a language provision that ensures public-private transportation projects are not required to use contractors with a labor agreement in place. The budget amendment does not prohibit labor agreements, it simply states they may not be mandated for these projects. Similarly, Clerk Nardo found this item amendment to be improper. It is disappointing that Governor McAuliffe would use the budget to try to curry favor with union bosses. If we want to improve our jobs climate in the Commonwealth, we need to support and strengthen our right-to-work policies, not erode them.

To view the Clerk’s official letter to the Governor, please click here.

I’m in, Join Me!

It’s official! Today I filed the appropriate paperwork to run for reelection to the House of Delegates as the Republican nominee for the 26th District.

It has been an honor to serve as your voice in Richmond for seven years and I would be privileged to continue to be that voice for the next two. While there have been accomplishments and successes, for better or worse change is often incremental. I am confident we can do more to address our challenges…and to be clear, Virginia has its challenges right now. While we used to consistently be rated as the top state for business, a major indicator of our economic vitality, we have begun to slip.

I believe the solution for Shenandoah Valley families and small businesses involves less unnecessary regulation, lowering the tax burden for all citizens and adopting education policy that ensures every child has the opportunity to succeed and meet the current needs of employers in the 21st century. We need to foster an economic environment that encourages job growth with not only more jobs, but higher paying jobs.

As you may have heard, two Democrat challengers have announced and intend to vie for their party’s nomination to run against me. While I expect they will have a starkly different approach to what I outlined above, I wholeheartedly believe that conservative governing is the right approach. I expect a strong majority of 26th District Citizens will agree.

I hope I can continue to count on your support. If so, I have three simple asks that should not take more than five minutes of your time, but will go a long way in helping to kick start my campaign…

1. Support the Campaign

The reality is that spreading our message and advocating our shared values and principals takes resources. While fundraising is far from my favorite part, it is necessary. We have a big reporting period that ends this Friday evening (March 31). Virginia law prohibited me from raising funds during session (which I think is a great law), but I need to catch up to ensure I have a solid show of support out of the gate.

Please consider contributing any amount by Friday, whether it’s $5, $25, $100 or $1,000. As someone who is frugal (my wife may say cheap!), I can assure you every donation is appreciated and every dollar will be put to good use.

You can donate securely online by clicking here and following the instructions.

You can also mail contributions to P.O. Box 1147, Harrisonburg, VA 22803. Please make checks payable to “Wilt for Delegate.” As long as they are postmarked and dated by March 31 they still count towards this report.

Thank you in advance!

P.S. – As a reminder, I’m hosting my 6th Annual Sporting Clays Shoot on Friday, May 5. If you want to have a great time with fellow sportsmen and support the campaign at the same time, please consider joining us. Please view the invitation here for more details.

2. “Like” my Page on Facebook!

Please click here to “like” my page on Facebook and follow the campaign. Already have? Encourage your friends to do the same and consider sharing my posts throughout the campaign to maximize the reach. Social media is one of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to spread our message!

3. Sign up for Email Updates!

The majority of you reading this likely already receive my emails. However, if you are reading this on our website, social media or if it was forwarded by a friend, please click here to sign up.

Unlike some groups, I make a point not to bombard you with constant emails. In addition to campaign updates, I also provide legislative updates at various times throughout the year and a weekly update during session.

With your help, we can continue to stand strong for our conservative values and principals in Richmond.

Session Wrap-Up Edition

The 2017 General Assembly adjourned sine die Saturday, completing our work on time.

However, before I highlight some of our work this session, I want to take a moment to thank Speaker Howell for his years of public service to the Commonwealth. The Speaker announced his retirement last week. Speaker Howell has served honorably, placing the well-being of our historic institution and the Commonwealth over partisan politics. During his tenure as Speaker, he implemented numerous initiatives to bring transparency and fairness to the legislative process. It has been a privilege to serve with Speaker Howell and I wish him and Cessie all the best.

Following the Speaker’s announcement, the House Republican Caucus unanimously elected Kirk Cox as Speaker-Designee. Delegate Cox currently serves as our Majority Leader. Delegate Todd Gilbert, our local Shenandoah Valley representative to the North, was unanimously elected as Majority Leader-Designee. I have every confidence this new leadership team will continue the legacy of proactive, responsible and conservative governance that Speaker Howell initiated. Congratulations to both Delegates Cox and Gilbert on their new leadership roles.

To bolster the sluggish economic environment in the Commonwealth, we advanced proposals aimed at promoting a positive, pro-business climate and protecting small businesses through regulatory reform. Republicans in the House of Delegates are also leading the effort to review Virginia’s economic development spending to ensure that we are maximizing the effectiveness of your tax dollars. In light of the disappointing report last year that revealed poor performance and mismanagement at the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the General Assembly approved specific legislation this session reforming that entity.

Improving our education system is always a top priority for the legislature. Despite the shortfall, we were able to protect the new investment made in K-12 education last year and restore funding for the 2% teacher pay raise later in fiscal year 2018.

While overall Virginia’s public schools perform extremely well when compared to the other states, there are some school divisions that are struggling. There are also individuals students, even in high performing school divisions, that slip through the cracks. We approved several proposals and funding initiatives designed to support both struggling school divisions and individual students. The General Assembly invested over $7 million in a proposal designed to offer support for school divisions that have seen at least a 5% decline in enrollment the past five years. It is no coincidence that in many instances the lower performing divisions also have seen significant enrollment decreases. In addition, we approved a charter school proposal specifically targeted towards poor performing schools. This legislation allows the Department of Education to create a charter school on a regional basis. Under this new legislation, local school boards still maintain significant decision making authority. Finally, we took steps to finalize the establishment of Virginia’s virtual school.  This legislation would greatly benefit students that may not thrive or even be able to participate in the traditional classroom setting. The bottom line is we want to make sure all students have the opportunity to succeed, despite their unique circumstances.

The most critical task every year is crafting and revising the two year state budget. Despite facing over a billion dollar shortfall heading into session, I am happy to report that we passed a responsible, and structurally-balanced amended budget that continues to offer targeted investments in core services

Here are some of the highlights of the amended 2016-2018 state budget:

 

  • The budget does not contain any tax or fee increases on hardworking Virginians.
  • 3% salary increase for state employees, as well as starting pay increase for State Police, sheriff and jail compression adjustment, and other targeted increases for various groups of state employees and state-supported local employees.
  • Revised budget invests an additional $18 million in new funding for K-12 over the Governor’s proposal. Our funding also gives local school divisions added flexibility to spend the money as best suits them.
  • Includes $32 million for a 2% teacher pay raise, with no local match required, effective February 2018.
  • The budget does not include Medicaid expansion. Given the likely replacement of the Affordable Care Act, it would be pure folly to consider Medicaid expansion when it is highly likely the federal funding for expansion will be eliminated or significantly reduced in the near future. Instead, we continued to build on our work to strengthen the healthcare safety net through targeted investment in mental health and substance abuse treatment services.
  • The final budget maintains the Governor’s accelerated sales tax expansion to a larger pool of retailers. However, I was somewhat encouraged to see budget language that directs the Department of Taxation to convene a workgroup for the purpose of reviewing the accelerated sales tax and making recommendations to the General Assembly. Time will tell if this initiative leads to a successful effort to eliminate its use.

 

We will return to Richmond on April 5 for the Reconvene Session to consider the Governor’s amendments to the budget and other legislation, as well as any legislation he has vetoed.

 

Need Regulation Relief?

Now that session has concluded, many of the various boards and commissions that meet in the interim are beginning to develop their work plan for the coming year. The Chairman of one of these entities that I serve on, the Small Business Commission, recently sent out a call to the membership to solicit feedback from small business owners on what state regulations might be in need of repeal or revision.

So with that, I want to hear from you. If you have a specific regulation in mind that impacts small businesses that needs to be repealed or revised, please let me know! I will be sure to share your suggestions with the other Commission members. I expect that once all of the feedback has been considered, the Commission will pick a number of suggestions to investigate further and present possible remedies for later in the year.

Even if your suggestions are not picked up by the Commission for formal review, I welcome the opportunity to follow up on your concerns as part of my normal legislative duties. Doing so over the course of my tenure has resulted in a sizeable portion of my legislation.

Save the Date!

This year my annual clay shoot fundraiser will be held on Friday, May 5 at the Flying Rabbit in Mount Crawford. Please mark your calendar for this fun event! Even if you have never shot clays before, I would encourage you to join us. There are always several folks new to the sport and there will be plenty of seasoned marksmen on-hand to help you out. More details to follow.

Given that the 2017 General Assembly session is complete, we are now able to resume fundraising activities. If you wish to contribute to my campaign, please click here to donate. You can also mail contributions to P.O. Box 1147, Harrisonburg, VA 22803. Make checks payable to “Wilt for Delegate.” Thank you in advance for your support!

Contact My Office

I appreciate all of your calls, emails and personal visits over the course of session. Please know that this critical feedback is an important factor in my decision making process when considering my vote on legislation.

I hope you will continue to stay connected with me over the coming months. Please do not hesitate to contact my office if we might be of assistance to you in any way.

 

We are once again working out of the Harrisonburg district office. You may call (540) 208-0735 to reach us by phone. The district office is located at 420 Neff Avenue, Suite 130, Harrisonburg. Please continue to email DelTWilt@house.virginia.gov.