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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Constitutional Amendments on Your Ballot

Ballot Question One – Right to Work:

“Should Article I of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to prohibit any agreement or combination between an employer and a labor union or labor organization whereby (i) nonmembers of the union or organization are denied the right to work for the employer, (ii) membership to the union or organization is made a condition of employment or continuation of employment by such employer, or (iii) the union or organization acquires an employment monopoly in any such enterprise?”

This year voters will have an opportunity to place our right to work law in the Virginia Constitution. I fully support this measure.

While Virginia has been a right to work state for decades through statute, ballot question one will add an additional layer of protection to ensure this measure cannot be repealed at the whims of an individual governor or legislature. This law ensures that Virginians are not forced to join a labor union as a condition of employment or when seeking new employment. This guarantees that workers have the freedom to choose where they work based on their talents and abilities, rather than their willingness to join a union and pony up money for dues, even if they may not support the efforts and positions of the union.

Beyond freedom for workers, our right to work status is one of the main factors that makes us attractive to businesses that are growing and relocating. 26 states have right to work laws, with Michigan and Wisconsin becoming two of the most recent additions. The numbers show right to work states are creating more jobs than forced-unionization states. Over the past decade, private sector employment in right to work states grew by 15.9% compared to 9.6% in forced-unionization states. Over this same time period, income growth has been nearly 6% higher in right to work states. The medium unemployment rate in right to work states is 4.6%, compared to 5% in forced-unionization states. Businesses, and especially large manufactures, strongly prefer to operate in right to work states, with one estimation conveying that almost 40% of manufacturers will only operate in right to work states.

Recent efforts by the National Labor Relations Board make the need to affirm our right to work status all the more critical. Federal provisions that went into effect last year significantly shorten the amount of time between when a labor union petitions to unionize a business and when the vote is held to form the union. This gives the union the ability to campaign ahead of the petition filing for support, leaving the employer little time to respond. The employer also has legally mandated responsibilities in this process that significantly increased with the new rule, despite the shorter time table. This simply means the legal costs for the business increased, all while tilting the process in the union’s favor, opening the door for coercion and confusion. This is yet another example of federal bureaucrats in the executive branch overreaching to enact policies that make it more difficult for American businesses to operate.

At a time when our economy and Commonwealth is still struggling to fully recover from the Great Recession, we need to retain every tool in our tool belt to keep the jobs we have and recruit new private industry that will foster new job growth. It would be unwise to entertain removing that tool, and thus taking off the table a large portion of employers that will not hire in a forced-unionization state. While those opposed to this amendment may claim that it is unnecessary because it is already current law, make no mistake, their real motivation is to repeal right to work if ever given the opportunity. This is evident in the fact that in the same breath they claim placing right to work in the constitution is unnecessary, they espouse their position opposing the underlying law. They know that once approved by the voters and included in our state constitution, their efforts will be significantly more difficult.

Passing this amendment will send a clear message to entrepreneurs and job creators that Virginia is open for business. It will make Virginia a stronger state by guaranteeing that no employee can be fired just because he or she refuses to join a labor union. By enshrining it in our constitution, we can permanently protect our right to work status.

I encourage you to vote “Yes” on ballot question one.

Ballot Question Two – Property tax exemptions for spouses of first responders:

“Shall the Constitution of Virginia be amended to allow the General Assembly to provide an option to the localities to exempt from taxation the real property of the surviving spouse of any law-enforcement officer, firefighter, search and rescue personnel, or emergency medical services personnel who was killed in the line of duty, where the surviving spouse occupies the real property as his or her principal place of residence and has not remarried?”

I also support the second constitutional amendment that will give localities the option to provide a property tax exemption to the surviving spouse of a law enforcement, firefighter, or emergency service member killed in the line of duty.

Virginians previously approved a similar provision to the surviving spouses of military members killed in action. It seems reasonable and appropriate to allow for that same courtesy to the surviving spouses of law enforcement and first responders. Just like so many service members, many have given the ultimate sacrifice to keep us safe. While it is optional for localities to participate, this amendment is a small recognition for the efforts of our first responders who put their lives on the line each and every day.

I encourage you to vote “Yes” on ballot question two.

Solid Mix September

Local Registration Fraud Reaffirms Need for Photo ID
Regardless of the outcome this November, we need to be confident that our elections are carried out fairly and with integrity. While I believe nearly everyone has this same desire, unfortunately there will always be those individuals that want to cheat and do whatever is necessary to tip the scale in their candidates favor. By now, I am sure you have heard about the case of a JMU student that submitted the names of roughly 20 deceased individuals to our local Harrisonburg registrar.

I do not believe voter/registration fraud is rampant in our Commonwealth, but anyone that says it does not exist is either extremely naive or simply pushing their preferred partisan agenda. This case in our own backyard proves the necessity in reasonable voting laws like the photo ID requirement, to ensure the integrity of our elections. I was proud to support the photo ID law. Our law provides ample accommodations to ensure no legally qualified voter is disenfranchised, while still acting as a necessary tool to prevent fraudulent voting.

Thankfully we have a diligent registrar and staff that caught the fraud in this particular instance, but our voter ID requirement could have been the only thing standing in the way of allowing this individual or recruited accomplices to vote under multiple names.

Unfortunately, liberal interests groups continue to challenge our photo ID law in court, despite the fact that polls consistently show that citizens of all partisan persuasions support a photo id requirement by strong majorities. While we initially won a case in federal court, it is currently being taken up on appeal. This local fraud case continues to highlight the need for common sense policies that ensure one person, one vote.

Voter Registration
The first step in making your voice heard this November is making sure you are registered to vote. If you are not registered or if you have moved since the last election, it is critical that you register. The deadline for registering or updating your current registration is Monday, October 17. For information on how to register or to check your current registration status, please click here.

Absentee Voting
If you will be out of town or otherwise unable to make it to the polls in November, you can vote absentee, either in person or by mail.
The deadline for requesting an absentee ballot by mail is November 1. Your local registrar must have the application in hand by 5:00 pm on November 1. The last day to vote in person absentee is Saturday, November 5 at 5:00 pm.
For more information on absentee voting, click here.

Multiple Ways to Get Involved!
This coming Wednesday (10/5), Governor Mike Pence will be at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall for a rally starting at 11:30 am! Doors will open at 9:30 am. NO homemade signs, banners, professional cameras with a detachable lens, tripods, monopods, selfie sticks, back packs or large bags will be permitted into the venue. Please click here to get tickets to this free event.

Right now our local party is staffing our headquarters, and they could use more help to ensure that it remains open during the regularly scheduled hours. The job simply entails that you greet visitors, hand out signs and materials and get contact information. Please contact me if you are willing to man the headquarters and I will put you in touch with the appropriate individuals. The headquarters is located at 182 Neff Avenue, Suite S7, Harrisonburg (behind the Valley Mall). You can also get your Trump/Pence and Goodlatte signs at the headquarters when they are open.

Another opportunity is going door to door for our candidates. While some may find this intimidating, I assure you that citizens in our community are most always polite, even if they don’t agree with you. If you are interested in door to door, please call Kristen Retter (Team Virginia Field Director) at (540)303-9496 or email kretter@rpv.org.

Page Application Deadline Approaching
Applications are being accepted until 5:00 pm on Monday, October 17 for the House Page Program. Any 13 or 14 year old student (as of Jan. 11, 2017) can apply online to serve as a page for the 2017 General Assembly Session. It is a highly regarded program that immerses students in the legislative process. Participants gain knowledge and experience that is difficult to obtain in a classroom setting.

All applicants are required to obtain a letter of endorsement from their Delegate. Before submitting a letter of support, it is my requirement to speak with the applicant. If you are interested in becoming a House Page, please contact my office at (540) 208-0735 or DelTWilt@house.virginia.gov to set up an appointment. To access the online application, please click here.

New Laws

As of July 1, most of the legislation passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor went into effect. Of the 780 bills signed into law, some may have an impact on your day to day life, while many may not.

Every year the Division of Legislative Services publishes a document, titled In Due Course, that offers a summary of legislation that could have the most significant impact on the day to day life of citizens. I encourage you to take a look at this publication. Please understand that it’s not a comprehensive list of the new laws. To learn more about other legislation, I encourage you to visit the website, lis.virginia.gov. You can also contact my office if you have any questions.

In Due Course: http://dls.virginia.gov/pubs/idc/idc16.pdf