Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Delegate Mike Watson Newsletter

Letter from Mike:

As you are aware, the General Assembly officially wrapped up the 2012 session around 1:30 am on May 15th.  Our last order of business included votes on budget amendments, judicial appointments and last minute resolutions.   Unless we are called back for a special session, of which there is some discussion, we will report back to Richmond in January 2013.

With few exceptions, the recent ‘End of Session Letter’ that we sent out covers the majority of the final results of our work in Richmond, so I will not readdress it here.  However, there is at least one very meaningful issue that has been passed since my letter that offers an incentive to port related employers.  We will cover that in more detail later in this newsletter.  Over the summer, I will continue working on several initiatives, some of which will have an impact within the next year, while others may take more time to realize.  These initiatives relate to topics such as business development, education, and transportation.  I will do my best to keep you updated as we make gains in these areas.

This summer I will also focus on activities that most reserve for years in which there is an election.  Already, my staff and I have started walking through neighborhoods to connect with citizens and gain valuable insight and suggestions in the ‘off-season.’  I will be calling citizens later this summer in areas that do not permit walking to ask for input on issues of concern.  In addition, we will be hosting several town hall meetings to take feedback and update everyone on progress we have made on our legislative initiatives.  We will advise you as these meetings are scheduled in your area.  Finally, we will be hosting several fundraisers throughout the year to ensure we maintain the resources necessary to send updates and letters to citizens in the 93rd District, host townhall and teletownhall events, print literature with contact information to hand out to citizens, and maintain full-time constituent services operations on the off-season.  The first of these events is little more than a week away on June 7th, and although we will cover details later in the newsletter, I would like to ask you now to please consider joining me if you believe that my efforts so far warrant consideration for reelection.  

In all, I think this has been a successful first session.  I was able to introduce and pass bills, spearhead successful budget amendments and help others with legislation I felt was important for this region and the state.  I was especially pleased to advance several economic development initiatives, for which I later received recognition from organizations that gauge our efforts in the area of business and economic growth, including the announcement just last week from Virginia Free.  Of course, as a part-time legislator, I must spend some time this summer catching up with family and my own business; however, my helpful and competent staff are always available, even when I am not, to respond to your inquiries and I encourage you to contact them at one of our two district offices. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter and thank you for granting me the privilege to serve the citizens of the 93rd district.


Contact Me:

As always, we are at our offices in Williamsburg and Newport News/York to serve you. We want to hear what you think about  legislation pending before the House, or if there is anything we can do to help you.

My office can be reached at:

(757) 345-6310

or via email at

"Like" Me on Facebook

The most up-to-date information can be found here

Port Related Employer Incentive Budget Amendment

Perhaps one of the most meaningful issues that were addressed during the last few weeks was the Governor’s initiative to offer employment grants to companies that move or start their port related business in Hampton Roads and adjacent localities while creating full time permanent jobs.  Mike is generally not a proponent of grants, as he prefers performance tax credits to incentivize growth.  However, after an extensive Q&A session that he held with the Governor’s office on the subject, he is confident that adequate protections are in place to ensure that taxpayers will have a good return on this investment.  This program, which is triggered by the hiring of full time employees by companies, will provide a major incentive to draw employers to the area, not only directly creating jobs but also increasing the port traffic that is needed to generate the revenue for addressing transportation and other needs of the region.  In consideration of these factors, Mike supported the amendment.  It remains to be seen if this amendment will be implemented, as there is some question about whether the objectives outlined would be better achieved through a bill separate from the budget.  Recognizing the potential delay this may cause, our office has begun the process to draft a separate bill to replicate the intent of this budget amendment.  Should it become necessary, this bill could be heard in early January and would be enacted immediately upon signing with the addition of an emergency clause.  We will continue to provide updates on this important issue.

Delegate Watson Receives Recognition for Pro-Business Legislation

In the last newsletter, we were able to announce that the Virginia Chamber of Commerce had just named Delegate Watson ‘Freshman Legislator of the Year’.  On May 9th, we traveled to McLean, VA where he was presented with this award in addition to another as “Champion of Free Enterprise”.   Now, just two weeks later, Mike has been recognized by Virginia Free, a non-partisan business coalition, for being just one of three Delegates to have a 100% pro-business voting record.  Mike was also tied for 2nd place for the highest Cumulative Business Rating out of all 140 Virginia Senators and Delegates.    According to Virginia Free, the Business Rating is a score based on a legislator’s performance on important business issues in the General Assembly session.   This rating combines General Assembly voting records with evaluations completed by leading business advocates.  When asked about this rating Mike commented, “Throughout my 2011 campaign, I promised the citizens of the 93rd district that I would focus on business, employment and workforce training.  I appreciate that these groups, through these recognitions, confirm that I did just that. “   To see the reports on all legislators, visit

Business Development Caucus holds its first Regional Business Roundtable

The General Assembly’s new Business Development Caucus (“BDC”) recently founded by Freshman Delegates Mike Watson (James City), Chris Head (Roanoke), David Ramadan (Loudoun) and Mike Webert (Fauquier) held its first regional business conference in Roanoke last week.  The event was a great success with nearly 40 businesses represented and attendees including 5 members of the House of Delegates, Deputy Secretary of Commerce & Trade, Mary Rae Carter, and the Roanoke Area Chamber of Commerce.  Legislators were able to hear directly from business owners who offered first-hand accounts of the challenges they currently face and ways in which legislation could facilitate business growth and development.  In a post-conference meeting the BDC was able to share what it learned and is already tossing around legislative ideas to address some of the concerns.   Future regional conferences are planned in Hampton Roads, Richmond, Northern Virginia, and Danville.  Once all 2012 conferences are complete in October, the BDC will review the results from each and begin drafting legislation to be introduced in the 2013 session.  

Commencement Address - NRCC Class of 2012

On May 11th, Mike was honored to offer the Commencement Address for the Class of 2012 at his Alma mater, New River Community College in Dublin, VA.  Twenty-nine years after graduating with an AAS degree in Instrumentation Technology, Mike spoke to an audience of over 1500 graduates, family members and friends.   His message was focused on the opportunities that exist in America and a challenge for the graduates to preserve the American Dream for future generations.   It was met with several stops for applause and a standing ovation by the graduates, faculty and guests.  The entire speech, including introduction, is available for viewing at under the Photos & Video header.  A condensed version with excerpts will be available soon.   On June 15th, Mike will also be giving the Commencement Address at ECPI University, School of Technology in Newport News.

‘Watson for Delegate’ hosts its first annual Golf Outing and Seafood Buffet

The Watson for Delegate campaign will host its first annual Golf Tournament and Seafood Buffet fundraiser at Kiln Creek Country Club in Newport News on June 7th.   Registration for the golf tournament will begin at 11:00 am and will be followed up by a Seafood Dinner at 6:30 with Special Guest, Speaker of the House of Delegates, William J. Howell.  In addition, we have learned that Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment, House Majority Whip Jackson Miller and several other members of the House of Delegates will be in attendance.  This annual event will serve as the primary fundraiser for Mike’s campaign and proceeds will go to support his district offices, constituent mailings and of course, campaign efforts in the 2013 election season.  Golfing packages include dinner or you can join us just for dinner with discounted pricing for couples.  The invitation may be found here

If you’re interested in supporting Mike’s constituent outreach program and reelection effort, please join us by calling Barret Sowers at (757) 345-6310 or email at  If you are unable to attend but still wish to support Mike, you can visit right away and click on the ‘Contribute’ link in the header.   You can also see latest news, pictures and video at this site.  Visit often.
Contact Delegate Watson
Phone: (757) 645-5298     Email:
Mail:  P.O. Box 6628 Williamsburg, Virginia 23188

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