Tim Kaine to make swing through Shenandoah Valley this week
U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine will hold events in the Shenandoah Valley this week to hear from business owners, education and economic development officials and other community members to discuss the challenges they’re facing and to highlight key provisions included in the American Rescue Plan that will help Virginia defeat COVID-19 and recover from the economic impacts of the virus.
On Wednesday, Kaine will hold a discussion with city leaders and economic development professionals on current challenges facing Staunton and gather feedback on what additional federal support is needed. Next, Kaine, along with Staunton Mayor Andrea Oakes and the Staunton Downtown Development Association, will visit several downtown businesses to meet with the owners and talk about their experiences amid COVID-19 and the help provided through federal COVID relief efforts.
In a COVID-19 relief package passed in December, Kaine worked to secure a second round of PPP forgivable loans for small businesses and nonprofits, and fought to include additional funding to expand the program in the American Rescue Plan passed in March.
In the afternoon, Kaine will visit the Jones Garden in Staunton to learn more about the organization’s work and growth amid COVID-19. Here, Kaine will also meet with Shenandoah Green, an environmental organization in the area, to hear about their grassroots efforts to support a more sustainable community.
Later, Kaine will tour the newly constructed Staunton High School, where he will meet with staff and school board members to hear about the city’s investment in this state of the art facility. As a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Kaine has long focused his efforts on supporting public education institutions.
Kaine recently introduced the Reopen and Rebuild America’s Schools Act to modernize K-12 classrooms across the country and help schools upgrade their physical and digital infrastructure.
Kaine will end the day touring Staunton’s Blackburn Inn & Conference Center, where he will speak with the general manager and developer about challenges the region’s tourism industry has faced and the role of federal assistance.
The tour includes a concert from performers with the Virginia-based Heifetz International Music Institute.
On Thursday, Kaine will tour the Blue Ridge Community College Aviation Maintenance Technology Program to learn about the program and meet with aviation business leaders in the area to discuss the industry’s workforce development needs.
BRCC is the only public college aviation technician credentialing program in Virginia. In April, Senator Kaine introduced bipartisan legislation to support training for skilled infrastructure jobs, including aviation jobs, and he is working to include the bill in the next infrastructure package.
Kaine then will meet with faculty and staff from James Madison University in Harrisonburg to hear how the school has managed during the pandemic. During the visit, Kaine will tour the College of Health and Behavioral Studies Nursing and Healthcare lab space and then receive an update on College of Education teacher support initiatives and university workforce development program efforts.
Kaine is pushing for passage of his bipartisan Preparing and Retaining Education Professionals (PREP) Act to address teacher and principal shortages, especially in rural communities.
Later in the day, Kaine will meet with volunteers and elected officials to hear more about a potential project to transform an unused single-track railroad corridor from Broadway to Front Royal into a multi-use, nearly 50-mile trail re-connecting communities, businesses, schools and many local cultural and historic resources.
In the evening, Kaine will participate in a roundtable discussion with Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton and business owners in Winchester to discuss COVID relief and the American Rescue Plan.
On Friday, Kaine will meet with elected officials and regional transportation stakeholders in Winchester to discuss infrastructure needs for the I-81 corridor as Congress works on a comprehensive bill to improve our infrastructure.
After, Kaine and Winchester Mayor John David Smith Jr. will visit four local businesses to hear from the owners about their challenges amid COVID-19.
In the afternoon, Kaine will join a roundtable discussion with Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger, Culpeper Mayor Michael Olinger and other officials to hear how the community has used CARES Act and American Rescue Plan funding and what additional support is needed.
The roundtable will be followed by a walking tour of downtown Culpeper, where Kaine, Congresswoman Spanberger, and Mayor Olinger will visit four local businesses.