Infrastructure is the lifeblood of our economy and vital to ensuring we all get home safely each day. We need to continue to invest in improvements to provide the safest roads in the nation.
Edwards will keep working to ensure all Virginians age 65 and older can vote absentee without having to provide a reason or excuse. Edwards believes voting should be made more convenient, and not more burdensome.
Edwards has voiced opposition to plans to build the Mountain Valley Pipeline through our mountains and neighborhoods on both environmental and safety grounds.
Accepting the Medicaid dollars we have already sent to Washington will grow our economy, create 30,000 new jobs, and provide up to 400,000 Virginians the health care they need.
Roanoke Higher Education Center
Senator Edwards was the chief patron of SB 1180 in 1997, which established the Roanoke Higher Education Center; he currently chairs the Center's Board of Trustees.
Since opening in 2000, the Roanoke Higher Education Center has enhanced opportunities for college, graduate and workforce training programs for our region and has boosted higher paying jobs for graduates.
According to a recent study, the Center has a $32 million annual economic impact on our region.
- Those completing bachelor's degrees at the Center saw an average increase in income of $17,477 per year.
- Those completing masters and doctorate degrees saw income increases of $10,145 and $16,166, per year, respectively.
- Among those completing teacher licensure programs, salaries have increased by an average of $14,000 per year.
Thus, incomes have increased an estimated $35 million per year for those completing degrees at the Roanoke Higher Education Center.
In 2008 the Claude Moore Education Complex was established from rehabilitating and preserving the historic Henry Street shops - the cultural and economic center of African Americans in Roanoke for many years. The facility houses the Culinary Arts Institute, offering Associate Degrees to prepare students to be Executive Chefs and to operate restaurants and catering services.
Now Edwards is working to double the size of the popular program, which will create even more jobs.
Amtrak is coming to Roanoke in the fall of 2017, and in a few short years, to the New River Valley. We will have "same seat" rail service to Washington, New York and Boston on the Northeast Corridor.
Edwards' "crowdfunding" legislation, which was signed by the Governor, allows Virginia-based companies to solicit to a larger number of small investors, giving them more options to put their creative ideas to work.
Edwards obtained funding to double the size of the Culinary Arts Institute. This popular program educates students to operate a restaurant or catering company, or to become an executive chef.
Improving Security On Campus
Following the tragedy at Virginia Tech of April 16, 2007, Senator Edwards co-chaired the Senate subcommittee, and sponsored bills, that lead to a number of improvements to the mental health system of Virginia in 2008 and 2009. Additionally, in 2009, Senator Edwards introduced legislation (SB 608) that will require annual review of Crisis and Emergency Management Plans put in place by schools.
In 2010, Senator Edwards further sponsored legislation for the families of victims to improve on-campus security by better monitoring those students known to have troubled histories. Edwards' bill (SB 207) authorized administrative Threat Assessment Teams to receive confidential health, academic and criminal information on identified students in order to assess and intervene as necessary to prevent potential tragedies.