Monday, October 13, 2014

Fall Update from Mike Watson




October 13, 2014



I hope you're enjoying our mild fall.  It's been great weather for a wide range of regional carnivals, feasts, and other events, many of which Amy & I have attended.  Fall is also the time to get serious about November elections and the 2015 General Assembly session.


Regarding the election, we can't overemphasize the importance of voting on Nov. 4th.  The future we leave our children will be greatly impacted by the outcome of the U.S. Senate races and make no mistake, Virginia is in play.  Please call a friend or neighbor and ask them to vote for Ed Gillespie. And, depending on their district, Congressman Wittman or Rigell.


The Business Development Caucus remains busy this fall. I attended each of its five town halls, VA Beach, Yorktown, Christiansburg, Martinsville, and Chantilly, meeting with 160 businesses in all.  A total of 13 Republican & Democratic legislators from the House & Senate attended events as did representatives from the Nat'l. Federation of Independent Business and Virginia Chamber of Commerce.  Mayors, college presidents, and local chambers also participated.


Last week, BDC leaders gathered in Richmond, narrowing 72 different recommendations to 17 legislative prospects.  We've divided these ideas among us and are now in the process of research and drafting legislation.  This year, I'll have the opportunity to introduce some of these ideas to the VA Chamber for  consideration in its 2015 legislative agenda. 


Although I can't patron these bills directly, like last session, I look forward to drafting & presenting them in house sub-committees as I find it extremely rewarding when a citizen or business owner comes to me with a problem and I'm able to help improve their situation. 


Just two weeks ago I received a letter that read in part, "Mike, Thank you personally for all you've done on behalf of licensed Onsite Soil Evaluators. You and the Business Development Caucus brought impeccable attention to an otherwise challenging struggle." That was in response to a bill that I drafted & was carried by my BDC colleague Del. Michael Webert in the 2014 session.


I occasionally hear grumbling that I should have walked away last November but I do sincerely strive to help solve problems when I can, especially if it affects jobs. We should all strive for that.  For now, the grumbling will have to continue.


Thanks for your support,





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This Newsletter paid for by

Friends of Mike Watson

Save the Date    

Friends, please take a moment and

mark your calendar for December 14th to join us for the third annual 'Christmas Town with Friends of Mike Watson' celebration.  As always, the afternoon will be filled with food, friendship, and an evening in Busch Garden's beautiful Christmas Town.  We're working on the final plans now and invitations will go out soon via email.  If you've not received your invitation by November 14th, simply email for details. 


Proposed Constitutional Amendment 

On November 4th, you'll be voting for members of Congress of course. However, you should be aware of a Constitutional Amendment on the ballot as well.  This amendment addresses a tax exemption offered to surviving spouses of soldiers killed in action. 


Under current law, a veteran with a one hundred percent permanent and total disability and their spouse are exempt from taxation on real property.  This exemption continues with the surviving spouse until such time that he/she might remarry.  However, the same consideration is not currently offered to the surviving spouse of a soldier killed in action.  Passage of this Amendment will remedy that. 


This is the result of a bill that I proudly co-patroned with Delegate David Ramadan in 2013 (rememberConstitutional Amendments must be passed in two General Assembly sessions in order to make it to the ballot) and is a small step to acknowledge the families and members of our armed forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice. I hope that you'll vote yes.


Manufacturing Day with WJCC Students

Earlier this month I spent a day with nearly 100 Jamestown, Layfette, and Warhill High School students for Manufacturing Day.  This event led by the Association for Manufacturing Excellence, members of the WJCC School Board and administration, and several community leaders was an excellent opportunity to highlight the importance of manufacturing in our community and the types of jobs created by each. 


Students toured six area facilities to learn about their operations, products, and career opportunities.  It was followed by lunch at Legacy Hall in New Town where I led a discussion on manufacturing, workforce development, and careers.  We also heard from Thomas Nelson Community College who brought along a 3-D printer for a brief demonstration of one aspect of advanced manufacturing. 


Every student and parent should have the opportunity to learn about the types of careers available here and across the nation before making their post-secondary education decisions.  It just might save them tens of thousands of dollars in college debt.  I'd like to extend a special thanks to the facilities that opened their doors and dedicated time for these students:  Walmart Distribution Center, Anheuser Busch, Coresix Precision Glass, Printpack Manufacturing, Ball Metal, and Owens Illinois.


Governor's Energy Plan

In my role with the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, I was invited to participate in the Energy Industry Council presentation in Richmond a few weeks ago.  We received a preview of the Governor's proposed energy plan for Virginia as well as details of the latest round of EPA mandates for air quality and emissions under the Clean Air Act.  Most importantly, we learned how these new mandates are likely to impact our state's energy producers and consumers. 


It's a bit much to go into detail in a simple newsletter, but speaking as someone with considerable experience in power generation and stack emission control systems, I can speak with some confidence when I say that our General Assembly will soon be faced with another federally created dilemma.  In short, it will be asked to agree to a plan that will ultimately shut down each and every coal-fired power station in the state and to commit to a technology that does not yet exist.  I've spent enough time in the House of Delegates to know that this will not be an easy sell.  This is not a comment on the Governor's plan as I think agreement could be achieved with modest work.  The problem is that even the Governor's plan cannot comply with Article 111d of the Clean Air Act that mandates tighter restrictions on existing generators than it does on new ones.  This Article can only be intended to achieve one outcome…and we thought Medicaid expansion was a challenge.


Know your firearm

Whether for home and personal protection or for shooting sports and competition, individual firearm purchases continue to rise. To promote responsible ownership, Lafayette Gun Club in Yorktown is offering the NRA FIRST Steps Pistol course designed to provide a hands‐on introduction to the safe handling and proper use of a handgun. The course is at least three hours long and includes classroom and range time learning to safely handle and shoot a semi‐automatic pistol or revolver and is available for members and non-members.  Consider enrolling yourself or a loved one.  It's also a great Valentines Day gift...ask me how I know.  For more information email:


Friends of Mike Watson - Contributions

Please consider contributing to the The Friends of Mike Watson campaign committee today.  You can do so via mail or on-line using PayPal or any major credit card. Contributions will support mail, web & social media, office expenses, and help place the committee in an advantageous position for its next campaign.  If you would like to help please click here or mail your check to:


Friends of Mike Watson

PO Box 6628

Williamsburg, VA 23188



Thank You
Amy & I want to again thank the  nearly 200 guests who attended our 2011/13 local donor open-house reception on September 19th. The music, the food, and the friendship made for a wonderful evening.

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