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DeSteph, in letter, requests that governor address issues at VEC

virginia economy
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State Sen. Bill DeSteph is pressing Gov. Ralph Northam to address ongoing issues at the Virginia Employment Commission, including a backlog of tens of thousands of unprocessed unemployment claims.

“At a time of great need, Virginians are floundering from their inability to receive unemployment benefits,” DeSteph wrote in a letter to Northam that went to the governor on Friday.

In the letter, the Virginia Beach Republican reported that his office has heard from thousands of people from across the Commonwealth seeking assistance with matters concerning the VEC.

“We are fortunate to have a good working relationship with the folks at the VEC, and they do their best. But they are limited by staff numbers and what appear to be antiquated computer and phone systems,” DeSteph wrote.

“The VEC needs your help. They need your resources. And with COVID numbers on the rise and extended unemployment benefits ending tomorrow, things will only get worse.”

The letter included criticism of the governor’s priorities on items like “the removal of statues, parole board releases, mask protocol, a coronavirus app, and a Health Department postcard targeting teens and sexual health.”

“Your recent budget amendments included $1 million to fund a study at VMI, a school with substantial endowment. How can taking money from our budget for a study be more important than providing additional funding for an essential agency like the VEC?” DeSteph wrote.

“Again, I submit that there is no single effort your office can undertake that is more important than ensuring our citizens receive the financial assistance they so desperately need. The safety and security of our citizens depend on this.”

Story by Chris Graham

augusta free press
augusta free press