Congresswoman Elaine Luria Recaps Active District Work Period

February 25, 2020
Press Release

VIRGINIA BEACH – Last week, Congresswoman Luria engaged in prolific community outreach during February’s District Work Period. She recognized the service of Vietnam War era veterans, discussed important priorities with community leaders, and met with countless constituent groups.

“Connecting with constituents back home is integral to the work I do in Congress,” Congresswoman Luria said. “It was wonderful to get back to Coastal Virginia to take part in local events and discuss important issues with people in our community. This district work period was an opportunity for me to learn how I can best serve the hard-working people of Coastal Virginia.”

During the district work period, Congresswoman Luria participated in two pinning ceremonies paying tribute to local Vietnam War era veterans. During both ceremonies, veterans were presented with pins honoring their heroic sacrifices. These pins were commissioned under the Presidential Proclamation Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War. Under the proclamation, the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War will be celebrated from May 28, 2012, through November 11, 2025.

Congresswoman Luria pins a veteran at the American Legion’s Second District Spring Conference.

Congresswoman Elaine Luria recognizes the service of Vietnam War veterans at the Black History Month Pinning Ceremony in York County.

“As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, it is important that we thank these veterans for their heroic service,” Congresswoman Luria said. “After returning from their tours of duty, many Vietnam veterans never received a proper welcome home. These long-overdue ceremonies play a small role in correcting this mistake by letting these veterans know that they are appreciated.”

Last Monday, the Congresswoman toured small businesses in Virginia Beach to discuss challenges faced by African American small business owners and to learn how she can best advocate for an economy that works for all.

During her tour, Congresswoman Luria first met with Jemmalyn Hewlett, an entrepreneur who has opened several businesses ranging from WeCare Salon + Spa to WeCare Medical Transport. Next, Congresswoman Luria visited Dr. JaNaè Taylor, founder of Taylor Counseling and Consulting Services. Dr. Taylor works with clients in a variety of settings including juvenile justice systems and college counseling centers. The final stop of the Congresswoman’s business tour was at Event Junkie to visit founder Shenelle Latham and her husband. Event Junkie is an affordable venue to hold small events.

Congresswoman Luria speaks with Jemmalyn Hewlett and the staff at WeCare Services.

Congresswoman Luria tours Event Junkie and meets with Mr. and Mrs. Latham.

“As a former small business owner, I am dedicated to helping local businesses thrive,” Congresswoman Luria said. “It was wonderful to tour these businesses and to have productive conversations with owners about their concerns. I look forward to applying the lessons that I learned to ensure that people of all backgrounds reap the benefits of our local economy.”

"I see a need, I start a business,” Jemmalyn Hewlett said. “I knew how to work hard for someone else, so I shifted my focus to put that same energy into building successful businesses for myself, and that's how the WeCare chain of businesses was born. My daughter was my inspiration. Now just a few short years later, she's following in my footsteps is an indescribable feeling."

On Presidents’ Day, Congresswoman Luria met with Virginia Wesleyan University (VWU) President Dr. Scott D. Miller. President Miller and Congresswoman Luria discussed VWU’s new nursing program partnership with Sentara College of Health Sciences. They also spoke about important educational priorities, such as the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

President Miller and Congresswoman Luria enjoyed a productive conversation.

“In today’s economy, it is critical to invest in robust higher education to unlock new opportunities for Coastal Virginians,” Congresswoman Luria said. “I will continue to work with President Miller to ensure that we meet students’ educational needs.”

Later that week, the Congresswoman visited NASA Langley during Vice President Mike Pence’s tour of the facility. The Vice President’s visit came just after the President announced his budget proposal, which would increase funding for NASA overall, but cut funding for critical programs like the CLARREO Pathfinder. During Pence’s tour, Congresswoman Luria expressed her satisfaction with the increased funding for NASA but voiced her concern about cuts to NASA’s STEM engagement and science accounts.

Congresswoman Luria meets with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

Congresswoman Luria speaks with Christopher Gersch. A lunar lander is in the background.

The following day, Congresswoman Luria toured Pancopia Inc. in Hampton. Pancopia is an R&D and engineering company specializing in creating innovative wastewater treatment for NASA and the civilian sector. During the tour, Congresswoman Luria spoke with staff and representatives from Old Dominion University, the Hampton Roads Sanitation District, and Virginia Tech Agricultural Research and Extension Centers about how they strive to use new technologies to combat environmental issues.

Congresswoman Luria meets the team at Pancopia Inc.

“As an engineer, I was very impressed with the phenomenal work coming from Pancopia Inc.,” Congresswoman Elaine Luria said. “It was exciting to see their innovative solutions that aim to address problems such as environmental degradation and pollution. I look forward to seeing the continued progress and development of the cutting-edge technologies that I saw at Pancopia Inc.”

Congresswoman Elaine Luria represents Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee, where she is the Vice Chair of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, where she serves as Chair of the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee.