August 27, 2021 Newsletter
Yesterday, the world watched the aftermath of two separate explosions outside of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. My heart breaks for the United States Marines, the Navy Medic, and the Afghans that were killed in the explosion. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of our troops as we mourn the loss of our fallen heroes. I commend the tireless work of the United States military and State Department officials who continue to risk their lives to evacuate as many Americans, diplomats, civilian personnel, SIV-holders, and other Afghan allies out of the country. We must continue working to provide every available and necessary resource to ensure the expeditious completion of this dangerous mission and the safety of our troops. You can read my full statement on the situation here.
I would also like to share with you some important updates for our district, including the continued arrival and processing of thousands of Afghans at Fort Lee, the opening of a new passport office, my efforts to rename Fort Lee in honor of Lt. General Arthur Gregg, helpful information on how to replace your Social Security card, and a concerning new report detailing the impacts of climate change for Virginia.
Processing Afghan Refugees at Fort Lee
The rapid fall and takeover of the recognized Afghan government by the Taliban is terribly concerning and has serious implications for the stability of the region and the safety of all Americans and our allies in the region. Right now, our focus and energy must be on the safe and efficient evacuation of all Americans, our Afghan allies, and the safety of our troops who are carrying out this dangerous mission.
Over the past few weeks, thousands of Afghan allies, who aided U.S. operations abroad, and their families have arrived at Fort Lee for their SIV processing. I am grateful for their courageous assistance to our troops for two decades in Afghanistan and am relieved they are safe in the United States. My staff and I are working tirelessly to prioritize and assist any constituent who filed a case with our office regarding a family or loved one in Afghanistan. I will continue to do all I can to coordinate with the Biden administration, the Department of State, the Department of Defense, and our local leaders and organizations to support this important work.
Need Passport Help – New Passport Center Opens in Chesterfield
Last week, my staff attended the grand opening of a new passport intake center in north Chesterfield at the Bon Air Post Office. The facility will help expedite passport applications, both initial requests and renewals. It is located at 101 North Pinetta Drive, North Chesterfield, 23235, at the intersection of Pinetta Drive and Midlothian Turnpike. It is open Thursday through Monday 6:00am to 9:00pm and closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
At this location, you will be able to have your photo taken (for a fee), apply for a passport, and make and pay for photocopies. Expedited processing is also available, including Priority Mail Express delivery of your passport with options for tracking and insurance. For information, including the costs of passports and passport cards, application forms and to check current processing times, visit this website.
Independent Commission Calls for Fort Lee to be Named after Lt General Arthur J Gregg
Working with Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (SC-06), we organized an independent commission to consider alternate names for Fort Lee. I have been working for a long time to remove Confederate names from our military installations. These individuals were traitors to our nation, fighting to preserve slavery and keep Black Americans enslaved.
This independent commission has recommended the fort be named in honor of Lt. General Arthur Gregg, who was a thirty-five-year veteran of the U.S. Army, a celebrated military logistician, and a barrier-breaker for African American armed forces. He worked to combat racial and institutional obstacles hampering minority servicemembers. Upon his retirement in 1981 as the Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, he was the highest-ranking minority general, and the second-highest ranking Black servicemember. Renaming Fort Lee after Lt. General Gregg would not only honor him, but it would uplift all Black service members and would be an important reminder of their long-standing military service to this country, dating all the way back to the War of Independence in 1776.
Social Security Replacement Card
If you are in need of a replacement social security card, you now have the option to submit that request online. You may not need the actual card in all instances – often times, you will only need to know your social security number. However, if the need arises, you can do file your request from the comfort of your home, which is particularly convenient during the pandemic.
New Independent Report Details Deleterious Climate Change impacts in Virginia
A new independent report details the very concerning climate change impacts we will continue to see in eastern Virginia and throughout the Commonwealth. Among the many serious findings of the report, increased sea level rise caused by climate change will have severe impacts for the Hampton Roads region. These increased water levels threaten flooding, loss of homes and communities, and serious damage to our infrastructure and the agriculture industry. This article details the findings of the report. We have a two-pronged issue – how to combat climate change and stop its ever increasing problems and how to address the challenges that are already negatively impacting life in the Commonwealth, the country, and the world.
Climate change remains one of the greatest challenges of our time and threatens the longevity of our planet and our future. It is imperative that we continue taking steps to protect the Earth and ensure a healthy, livable planet for our children and grandchildren.