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Episode 30:The continuing politics of redistricting

There’s been some new developments in everyone’s favorite topic – redistricting. An anti-gerrymandering group on Thursday said it wants to amend the Virginia constitution to create a 10-member commission made up of three Republicans, three Democrats and four independent voters. To amend the Virginia Constitution, legislators must first approve it in two annual sessions separated by an election — in this case, in 2019 and 2020 — before it can be added to the ballot as a statewide referendum...


Episode 29: Helping inmates following prison sentences

What happens to an inmate after he or she gets released from jail or prison? Sandra Brandt with Step Up, Inc. has built an agency that helps recently-released inmates get back on their feet and stay out of jail. She started the company 43 years by happenstance, first offering female inmates opportunities for job training and placement, and later expanding the services to men. Today, she and her staff help inmates prepare for release by helping them prepare for and find a job and a place...


Episode 28: The life of a freshman legislator: Part IV

Del. Cheryl Turpin, D-Virginia Beach, spent her first year in the General Assembly focusing on education, voting and coastal flooding. A high school teacher for decades, Turpin is not new to politics. She ran in the special election for the 85th district seat in 2016 when Scott Taylor got elected to Congress and gave up his state delegate seat. She lost by 342 votes to Republican Rocky Holcombe, a captain at the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office. In 2017, she ran against him again, and...


Episode 27: The life of a freshman legislator (Part III)

Kelly Fowler's goal of one day representing Virginia Beach residents was born after she attended the Women's March in Washington, D.C. in January 2017. Coming home with a desire to change the political atmosphere after the events of 2016, Fowler, a Democrat, ran a campaign to defeat Republican incumbent Ron Villanueva. She was successful in flipping the seat blue, along with 14 others in the state which brought the House of Delegates to 51-49 for Republicans. In our third episode...


Episode 26: The life of a freshman legislator (Part II)

When Del. Emily Brewer was 10 days old, she was adopted. Thirty-four years later, the first-time Suffolk state Republican representative has brought her experiences with adoption to the capitol, where she's filing legislation for adoption and foster care reform. In the second episode of our series on freshman Hampton Roads legislators, we talk about what her first session was like, what she thinks are going to be big topics of conversation in the 2019 session (hint: it involves money) and...


Episode 25: The life of a freshman legislator (Part I)

On this episode of Virginia Politics, and for the next few episodes, we speak with freshmen Hampton Roads delegates about what went well — and what didn't — in the 2018 session, and what we can expect in 2019. This week, Del. Jay Jones from Norfolk is on the show. He's no stranger to the General Assembly, but he called his first session "surreal". Music: Puzzle Pieces by Lee Rosevere.


Episode 24: Responding to a natural disaster

On this episode of Virginia Politics, we look at what it means when the governor declares a state of emergency during a hurricane. While Hurricane Florence largely missed Hampton Roads, our neighbors to the south needed help. Andy John, who works in the Virginia emergency management department, shared his experience helping North Carolinians in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane. Music: Puzzle Pieces by Lee Rosevere.


Episode 23: School accreditation and graduation rates on the Peninsula

On Episode 23 of Virginia Politics, we talk school accreditation with education reporter Jane Hammond. The Virginia Department of Education has new standards for rating schools. We look at what the new standards mean for Hampton Roads schools, and how students fared on the tests. Music: Puzzle Pieces by Lee Rosevere.


Episode 22: Why people don't register to vote

On this episode of Virginia Politics, we look at the reasons people aren't registering to vote. With a little more than a month until the Nov. 6 elections, we hear from organizers -- including Del. Cia Price, D-Newport News -- on their efforts to sign people up ahead of the Oct. 15 registration deadline. We also introduce a new feature on called Glad You Asked, where you ask us questions, and we answer in the form of a story. Music: Puzzle Pieces by Lee Rosevere.


Episode 21: Racial gerrymandering and the opposing redistricting maps

This week, Dr. Quentin Kidd from Christopher Newport University comes back on the show to talk about the latest in redistricting. We explore how the Republican map seeks to address racial gerrymandering for 11 unconstitutional districts and what a new map could mean for voters in 2019. We also say goodbye to Reema Amin, who's off to cover New York City Public Schools for Chalkbeat. Music: Puzzle Pieces by Lee Rosevere.


Episode 20: The unique verbiage of the General Assembly

This week, we talk about those quirky phrases that lawmakers will use in the General Assembly that usually refer to legislation or official business -- most of the time. These sayings are probably odd and foreign to new observers of Virginia politics, but they are part of the tradition in the Capitol. We'll also introduce a new voice on the podcast. Music: Puzzle Pieces by Lee Rosevere.


Episode 19: Tommy Norment and taxes

This week, we air a conversation with Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment. As one of the state's most powerful lawmakers, Norment has a lot of influence over which topics get the spotlight in the General Assembly -- but not always. We talked to him about Gov. Ralph Northam's plan to give about $250 million in rebates to low-income Virginians who get earned income tax credits. Music: Puzzle Pieces by Lee Rosevere.


Episode 18: Debating tax breaks for Virginians

On this week's episode of Virginia Politics with Ress and Reema, we discuss a proposal from Gov. Ralph Northam that could deliver checks for several hundred dollars to low- and moderate-income Virginians. But House Republicans say the move ignores other classes of Virginians, so we explore the politics and what it could mean for tax reform in Virginia. Music: Puzzle Pieces by Lee Rosevere.


Episode 17: Campaign controversy in the 2nd Congressional District

In this week’s podcast, we talk about the growing controversy of how independent Shaun Brown got on the ballot for the 2nd Congressional District seat. Who signed the petitions? Were the signatures legitimate? Were the signers even alive? We also have more of a fishy tale for you, about menhaden in Virginia, and why they're the most political fish out there. Music: Puzzle Pieces by Lee Rosevere.


Episode 16: The minimum wage and Virginia

This week we talk about the minimum wage and where it stands in Virginia. Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, joins the podcast to discuss the issue. We explore why the wage hasn't changed for years and discuss the unusual political alliances that could be formed over increasing it. Music: Puzzle Pieces by Lee Rosevere.


Episode 15: Young voter misconceptions and Stewart vs. Kaine

On this week's episode, we talk about young voters and their growing involvement in elections, politics and even running for office. We talk to Virginia 21 policy director Gerica Goodman and get her take on some of the misconceptions about the millennial generation -- including an assumption on how they tend to vote. We'll also go over some highlights from the debate between Sen. Tim Kaine and his GOP challenger, Corey Stewart. Debate audio courtesy of PBS. Music: Puzzle Pieces by Lee...


Episode 14: Del. Brenda Pogge

On the 14th episode of Virginia Politics, Del. Brenda Pogge, R-Norge, joins the show to talk about her time as a legislator. She discusses her entry into politics and running for an office when she didn't want to be a politician. Pogge talks about her opposition to a tourism sales tax in the Historic Triangle, and she discusses her time as chair of the Virginia Disability Commission. Music: Puzzle Pieces by Lee Rosevere.


Episode 13: Sen. Tim Kaine

On the 13th episode of Virginia Politics, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) sits down for a conversation with Dave Ress about the latest news in Congress. Kaine talks about the recent U.S. Supreme Court opening, and he discusses Congress' role in the use of military force. He talks about disagreements with former President Barack Obama. He also looks back at his time as a mayor and a governor. Music: Puzzle Pieces by Lee Rosevere.


Episode 12: Redistricting and gerrymandering

This week, we talk about the possibility of redistricting in Virginia. Last week, a federal court decided that the House of Delegates had racially gerrymandered 11 districts -- six in Hampton Roads -- meaning that lines unfairly diluted the voting power of minorities. We explore how this affects the region. We also chat about the surprising resignation of John Whitbeck, the now ex-chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, and what it means for the party's future. Music: Puzzle Pieces...


Episode 11: High eviction rates in Virginia

On this episode, we veer away from the horserace of politics and focus on the issue of evictions in Virginia, which has received a spotlight over the past few months following a study from Princeton University that names five Virginia cities with some of the highest eviction rates. We hear debate on how to reduce evictions in the state of Virginia - both from affordable housing advocates and those who represent landlords - and we chat with two Newport News women who describe their past...