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Tim Kaine to discuss impact of COVID-19 lockdowns with communities across Virginia

coronavirus politics
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U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine will hold a series of virtual discussions with Virginians across the Commonwealth to address the health and economic crises resulting from COVID-19.

Kaine will listen to the concerns facing these Virginia communities and carry their voices with him back to Washington as he pushes for additional coronavirus relief legislation.

On Tuesday, Kaine will hold a video conference focused on rural broadband in Western Virginia and efforts to expand access to internet connectivity – especially in light of the coronavirus. Earlier this month, Kaine introduced the Emergency Educational Connections Act, legislation aimed at ensuring K-12 students have adequate home internet connectivity and devices during the coronavirus pandemic.

Later, Kaine will hold a video conference with members of drug court teams in Southwest Virginia to learn how drug courts in the region are faring under the challenges of COVID-19 and hear their suggestions for future federal support. Kaine has long been an advocate of drug courts and believes they are one of the most effective tools in combating drug abuse and reducing recidivism. Afterwards, Kaine will hold a video conference to talk about the challenges the tourism economy in Southwest Virginia is facing as a result of COVID-19 and hear from local groups about what support is needed to address those challenges.

On Wednesday, Kaine will hold a video conference on economic development with Roanoke County officials to discuss local needs during the pandemic and regional job training opportunities. Kaine will then hold a video conference with New College Institute (NCI) in Martinsville to receive an update on NCI’s workforce development programs, challenges the organization faces due to COVID-19, and opportunities for collaboration across the Commonwealth. Earlier this month, Kaine introduced legislation with Rep. Bobby Scott to invest $15 billion in America’s workforce training infrastructure as well as career and technical education.

Later, Kaine will hold a video conference with members of Feeding Southwest Virginia. Kaine has worked to strengthen food assistance throughout the Commonwealth in the midst of rising food insecurity due to COVID-19. Earlier this month, Kaine pushed Senate leadership to increase SNAP benefits by at least 15% for all participating households, as well as successfully urged the USDA to include Virginia in the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot Program. He recently cosponsored legislation to make it easier for states and restaurants to participate in the SNAP Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) during emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Thursday, Kaine will hold a video conference with Loudoun tourism industry leaders to learn more about their experiences with the implementation of the CARES Act as well as what additional support is needed to respond to the pandemic. Afterwards, Kaine will hold a video conference with representatives from the Asian American Chamber of Commerce, based in Tysons Corner, to discuss the challenges faced by Asian-American businesses in Virginia amid the pandemic.

On Friday, Kaine will hold a video conference with Neighborhood Health, Casa Chirilagua, Community Lodgings, and Our Lady Queen of Peace to discuss the work being done to support the Latino community in Alexandria and Arlington, which has been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.  Senator Kaine has been focused on reducing racial and ethnic health disparities across the Commonwealth and ensuring equal access to care in the face of this crisis. Last month, Kaine introduced legislation that would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to collect and report racial and other demographic data on COVID-19 testing, treatment, and fatality rates.

Later, Kaine will hold a video conference with members of the Virginia Beach hospitality industry to hear about their experience dealing with COVID-19.