Winter 2018 Issue


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Legislative Update

Mark P. Hickman

By Mark P. Hickman
Manager of Government Affairs
Commonwealth Strategy Group 

November 7, 2018

2018 Elections Recap
The elections held November 6 resulted in record voter turnout numbers in many states, including Virginia. Registrars in one Virginia Congressional district compared this year’s turnout to a presidential election turnout. Voters came out in high numbers on both sides, which resulted in several nail-biting races in Virginia and throughout the country.

U.S. Senate
Republicans retained control of the Senate and, while some races are still too close to call, it appears they will expand their majority when the votes are all counted. They took out three Democratic incumbent Senators, including Senators Claire McCaskill, Joe Donnelly and Heidi Heitkamp. In Texas, Senator Ted Cruz narrowly won re-election against Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke. Virginia Senator Tim Kaine easily cruised to victory against Republican challenger Corey Stewart, wining 57% of the vote.

Notable Congressional Elections
Perhaps the biggest news from election night is that the Democrats have taken control of the House of Representatives. Virginia played a major role in accomplishing this. Democrats were able to flip three Republican Congressional seats. Democrats now represent seven of Virginia’s 11 congressional seats.

In District 10, which encompasses parts of Northern Virginia and some suburbs outside of Washington, D.C., Virginia State senator Jennifer Wexton (D) defeated the incumbent, Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R). This was one of the first races called of the night, with Wexton winning over 56% of the vote.

While we knew District 2 would be close, it is still a surprise to many that the Democratic challenger, Elaine Luria, was able to defeat the incumbent, Congressman Scott Taylor. This district is usually reliably Republican, but Luria won a narrow victory with 51.1% of the vote. 

Virginia’s District 7 received a lot of national attention and was an extremely close race. Abigail Spanberger, the Democratic challenger, beat incumbent Dave Brat by about 5,000 votes. Two voter precincts in this district were ordered by a judge to stay open until 9pm due to long lines.

Other Updates
The Democrats picked up six seats in gubernatorial races, including Wisconsin where Republican Scott Walker lost his re-election. The race between Stacey Abrams (D) and Brian Kemp (R) in Georgia has received a lot of national media attention. At this time, it appears that Kemp will win, but Abrams has said she will not concede until the absentee ballots are all counted. The voter turnout numbers were not the only historic aspect of last night’s elections. A record number of women have won seats in the House of Representatives. At this time, it appears that at least 96 women were elected.

In Virginia, there was a special election for the House of Delegates for District 8, which is in the Roanoke region and very Conservative. Delegate Greg Habeeb resigned his seat this past summer. The Republican candidate, Joe McNamara easily won with over 61% of the vote.

Impact on Virginia
While there was not a national “blue tsunami” as some pollsters predicted, the results specifically in Virginia are different. Democrats flipped three Congressional seats and easily won the Senate race. In 2016, we were the only southern state to go to Hillary Clinton. Last year, the Democrats won an unprecedented 15 seats in our House of Delegates. The results from last night confirm that the Virginia electorate is turning bluer in the cities and suburban areas. Republicans in Virginia will be paying very close attention to this as our entire General Assembly is up for election next November.

With Senator Jennifer Wexton and Delegate Ben Cline winning their Congressional races, there is an opening in the Senate and one in the House of Delegates. There will be special elections to fill those vacancies. Delegate Jennifer Boysko, a Democrat from Northern Virginia, is planning to run for the Senate. If she does indeed win that, there will then be a special election for her House seat. We will keep you updated as we learn more.


Senator Jeremy McPike Recognized as the Psychiatric Society of Virginia’s Legislator of the Year

Legislator of the Year
Pictured from left: Mark Hickman, Commonwealth Strategy Group; Meredith Lee, DO, FAPA, PSV President and Senator Jeremy McPike.

The Psychiatric Society of Virginia (PSV) recognized state Senator Jeremy McPike (D-Dale City) as the 2018 Legislator of the Year at PSV’s Fall Meeting.

Sen. McPike has led successful efforts in Virginia’s General Assembly to enhance mental health instruction, training, and access in schools.

He co-sponsored, along with PSV’s previous Legislator of the Year, Sen. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath), a bill that passed this year requiring health instruction to incorporate standards that recognize the multiple dimensions of health by including mental health nd the relationship of physical and mental health so as to enhance student understanding, attitudes, and behavior that promote health, well-being, and human dignity.

Last year, he successfully sponsored legislation requiring school counselors to complete training in the recognition of mental health disorders and behavioral distress, including depression, trauma, violence, youth suicide, and substance abuse.

Senator McPike represents the 29th Virginia senate district, which includes Manassas City, Manassas Park City, and part of Prince William County, where the Senator and his wife Sharon live in Dale City with their three daughters.

He serves on the General Laws & Technology, Local Government, and Rehabilitation and Social Services committees.

For the last 16 years, Sen. McPike has served as a volunteer firefighter and EMT with the Dale City Volunteer Fire Department, where he is a Captain and has been honored with Life Membership. He helped found and serves as president of the department’s Foundation, well known in the community for its support of public safety initiatives and Santa visits to kids fighting cancer. 

We were honored to have Sen. McPike join PSV at our fall meeting in Staunton, where he spoke of the importance of mental health, access to psychiatry and healthcare coverage, especially for children and youth. He thanked PSV, its members and the profession for their work and service to Virginia’s patients.

PSV again expresses its congratulations and thanks to Senator McPike as we name him our Legislator of the Year in recognition of his dedication and leadership in enhancing mental health in the Commonwealth.


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