With the end of this historically challenging year finally in sight, I want to once again thank you for the incredible sacrifices you and your families have made to keep our neighbors healthy and safe. Your efforts have literally saved lives, and a grateful community thanks you.
Like every American, Congress has been working tirelessly since March to adapt to this “new normal” we find ourselves in. It has not been easy, but our work has not slowed a bit since the last constituent services summary I sent to you in June.
So, today, I want to take a moment to provide you with a comprehensive look at what my team and I have been up to since this crisis began:
While we've had to continue limiting in-person meetings and events, I've made it a priority to connect virtually with as many of you as possible. Since Virginia’s stay-at-home guidance was issued in March, I’ve held 64 virtual town halls and webinars with community members, leaders, and organizations. These included Delegate Hala Ayala’s Unite for Racial Justice webinar and Supervisor Margaret Franklin’s Virtual Education and Schools Update, as well as virtual events with federal employees and retirees, local nursing homes, and high school and college students in the 11th District. We covered many issues in these discussions, including gun violence prevention, protections for individuals with disabilities, affordable housing, racism, and police brutality.
I also held my 35th telephone town hall and teamed up with Senator Jennifer Boysko, Delegate Hala Ayala, Supervisor Andrea Bailey, Supervisor Kenny Boddye, and Mayor Earnie Porta for four separate town halls on the issues most important to our constituents.
Since March 1st, we've responded to more than 55,000 of your emails and messages on a wide array of issues -- from PPE and the Postal Service to COVID-19 testing and support for small businesses. As your representative in Congress, it's always important that I hear directly from you about your concerns and opinions, but it's especially critical in times of crisis. Please don't hesitate to give us a call or send me an email here to share your thoughts.
In addition to those 55,000 email responses, we've sent 68 e-newsletters like this one since March, with important updates, resources, and information to help you more easily navigate this crisis. In total, that's more than 2.8 million individual e-newsletters delivered to members of our community since the pandemic began. You'll find an archive of all those e-newsletters here, and I encourage you to read through them for any useful information you may have missed.
This crisis has not slowed our legislative and oversight efforts in the House. In fact, since March, I've cosponsored nearly 150 pieces of legislation and signed several hundred letters requesting information and documents from federal agencies and the White House. Additionally, as a senior member of the Oversight & Reform and Foreign Affairs committees, and chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, I've participated in or chaired 65 committee hearings and briefings, whether virtually or on Capitol Hill, over the past seven months. The topics included:
- our response to COVID-19,
- the pandemic's effects on the federal workforce,
- the Trump Administration’s outrageous assault on the Postal Service,
- our ability to conduct a fair and accurate census,
- Russia’s alleged bounties on U.S. troops,
- the unsustainable cost of prescription drugs,
- the status of the IRS during the pandemic, and
- the Trump administration's outrageous attacks on the independent Inspectors General tasked with weeding out waste, fraud, and abuse across the federal government.
I have been in close, consistent contact with my colleagues in the House Democratic Caucus whether the House is meeting in person or not. I've joined 73 caucus calls and meetings since March. These calls often feature conversations with policy experts, and have been vital to crafting our legislative response to COVID-19. During these discussions, we crafted six COVID-19 relief bills with funding for unemployment insurance, testing and contract tracing, small businesses, public health support, state and local government fiscal relief, virtual learning, and much more.
This has been a hectic and trying year, both in Congress and across our country. Still, I am more determined and hopeful than ever. Please know that nothing, not a global pandemic nor anything else, will deter me from continuing to fight for our community.
Please take care of yourselves and each other. As always, my office stands ready to help if you or a loved one need assistance. Please don't hesitate to call us at (703) 256-3071, or visit my website here.
Gerald E. Connolly
Member of Congress