Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Delegate Mike Watson - 11-21-12 Newsletter






Congratulations Will, Ben, Eli & Luke.

New Eagle Scouts, BSA Troop 135

November Update


Nov. 21, 2012


Happy Thanksgiving


    Thanksgiving, a national tradition and holiday, that started just down the river from our homes, is an opportunity to reflect and to give thanks for many things, among them, this great nation that we call home. Not a day goes by without my family giving thanks and praying for our country, our freedom and for those who have and do sacrifice so much for us to have it. 


    This of course includes our nation’s founders, men and women in uniform of past and present and their families.  We are often reminded of our troops through news clips and in the sobering remembrance in our papers but just as deserving of thanks are the families of these brave warriors who stay behind the scene but must struggle though the daily challenges of life, financial hardships, raising children and dealing with the routine crisis, all while worrying about their loved one in a place far away. 


    As we gather with friends and family tomorrow and bow our heads to ask blessing of our meal, I hope that we will each give pause to remember those parents, husbands, wives and children who are praying for their loved one to return home safely and that we will join them in that prayer.  The Watson family certainly will.


    From my entire family to yours, I thank you for the opportunity to serve you in Richmond and wish you a safe and Happy Thanksgiving. 








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please click on the link below.

Delegate Watson 11-21-12 Survey




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As always, whether in Richmond or in the district, we are here to serve you. Contact our district office at:  (757) 345-6319 or email:


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Aquatics Center

    Early last year I was in Christiansburg where a 93rd district year- round swim team was competing in a large statewide meet.  Over the weekend most competitors would swim in 5 or 6 events, averaging about 3 minutes each.  The rest of the time we tried to keep our families occupied. The town’s limited restaurants had long waits and because the swim families had filled all the area hotels, many were forced to stay in Roanoke.  I was thinking then, we wouldn’t have these problems back at home. 

    A few weeks later, a group of swim parents approached me about revisiting the idea of an Aquatics Center in James City County and had information on a 50 meter Olympic training pool that was available for about 1/3 the cost of new.  We discussed the fact that many area high school swim teams have no home pool, there are several year round teams in the 93rd district that travel long distances for their events, even William & Mary had given up their dive team due to inadequate facilities.  Each of these programs could bring thousands of visitors to the region staying anywhere from a few days to a week for each event and several area organizations could utilize it as well. 

    To follow up, I met with a group who had promoted the idea earlier, checked into state incentives that might be available and sought input from area leaders.   In the last 6 months, I’ve met with various county administrators and supervisors, public school representatives, College Presidents, Economic Development and Chamber representatives as well as hoteliers, restaurateurs and area attraction leaders and a number of individual citizens.  In every meeting, attendees recognized the potential that such a facility could bring to the region.  The question we all acknowledge is, can it generate the revenue to pay for itself? 

    This of course should be the key question before any investment.  In my own business, before I buy or upgrade equipment or even commit to hiring new employees, I always make sure there is a return-on-investment.  That question is where we are on this concept today.  Since meeting, two of the potential stakeholders are doing additional research.  The next prudent step is to order a thorough feasibility study that would evaluate potential for events, visitors, hotel stays, tourism and meals as well as user fees at the facility.   Only then will we know if this warrants further action.  In my meetings, several pledged to contribute to the cost of a study.  I’m interested in your thoughts on the concept.  If you have thoughts on this subject, please let me know by visiting the survey link on the left side of this newsletter.


Interstate 64

If you’ve been keeping up with my web page, Twitter or Facebook, you know that I’ve been to numerous Transportation meetings across the Commonwealth in the last year.  Clearly funding is the issue that you read and hear about the most.  I’ll cover that more in a moment.   But another concern I’ve had is that I-64 on the Upper Peninsula is not nearly close enough to the top of priorities for statewide projects, or even Hampton Roads projects for that matter.  Some will argue that it’s in its proper place based on a complex rating system, but in practicality, I don’t believe it is. 

    This section of I-64 is the primary artery to Hampton Roads.  It is a critical corridor for Tourism, Department of Defense, Freight and commuting traffic in and out of the region.  The bottleneck that occurs on this roadway limits economic activity and growth potential for the entire region and must be addressed as a priority.  I have made it a mission to promote this idea.  I recently attended a meeting with the Commonwealth Transportation Board.  With close to 100 attendees discussing priority projects in their regions, I took the opportunity to highlight my concern with the current priority level of this project.  I did the same in front of the Urban Crescent Mayors and Chairs meeting in Richmond last week as one of only six legislators to attend.  I’ve had similar opportunities at other venues and will continue to promote the importance of this project.

    That said, although we will  not see a $3.1 billion check written for this 53 mile stretch in the near future, it is reasonable to expect the 6.5 mile section between MM-247 and MM-253 to be addressed.  This, of course, stretches from Lee Hall to the wider section of I-64 in Newport News and encompasses the dreaded Ft. Eustis interchange. 

    Earlier this fall, I met with Transportation Secretary Connaughton in my district office and reviewed the idea of addressing this segment as an incremental step towards the long-term project.  By adding two inside lanes and with the addition of a direct access interchange to Rt. 143 off of west bound I-64 to handle Williamsburg bound local traffic, we would see a significant improvement in the flow of traffic on the Peninsula.  I’ve since had meetings with VDOT engineers and other transportation officials on this concept and will continue to promote this idea along with future options for points west of Williamsburg utilizing Rt. 60. 

    Regarding transportation in general, you’ve certainly seen an uptick in the conversation and ideas from both the Legislature and the Governor on funding strategies; more are on the way.  Whether you like one idea or another, it is a good sign that we are actively promoting and evaluating different strategies.  I spoke with Senator Watkins on his proposal last week and was with the Governor just yesterday discussing his.   I will be meeting with a group of Hampton Roads legislators very soon to consider other strategies and I look forward to sharing my input.  I have consistently said that this is no small issue and will not be resolved with small ideas.  It will take both sides agreeing that the problem is bigger than political egos and everyone must come to the table.  In 24 years of owning a business and negotiating with companies much larger than mine, I’ve learned to think outside the box which sometimes means outside our comfort zone.  I’m finally beginning to believe that we might just be getting enough people who think this way to make some progress in the coming year.  I will keep you informed throughout the session.  In the meantime, let me know your thoughts on what funding strategies you might see yourself supporting in the right circumstances though the survey link on the left side of this newsletter.


Business Development Caucus

By now, you’ve heard about the Business Development Caucus (“BDC”), a group that I am proud to be a founding member of.  The BDC has completed this year’s round of business town hall meetings and have now submitted 16 pieces of legislation, taken directly from the minds of over 130 business owners and leaders across the Commonwealth.  I along with Delegates Head, Ramadan and Webert will meet in Richmond next week to review the drafts received from Legislative Services and then submit them as bills patroned by some of the 27 members of our caucus representing both parties and chambers.  Each bill will address an issue that has hampered economic growth, some in a small way, others much larger.  The response we have gotten from the business community has been extraordinary and upon passage of some of these bills, I expect that we’ll have requests to visit additional localities next year.  We appreciate the recognition that we’ve received through regional newspapers including our own Virginia Gazette and Daily Press and hope that it will spawn even more interest in our effort.  Just a week ago, the Virginia Capitol Connection magazine did a story on our group.  You can see that by clicking on this link.

 Virginia Capitol Connection - BDC


Watson For Delegate Christmas Town Event

One of the great things about Virginia is that every year is election year.  Ok, after coming off of 18 months of presidential campaigning, maybe that’s not great for everybody, but it is important.  And, since we have a two-year term in the House of Delegates, as hard as it is to believe, my first reelection campaign is about to get underway.  On December 9th, with Governor McDonnell by my side, I am going to kick-off my 2013 campaign and I would like for you to be there.  This festive family event will be held in Christmas Town at Busch Gardens.  We’ll have a little political fun and food at Das Festhaus between 1:00 and 3:00 and when the park officially opens at 3:00, everyone can go and enjoy the lights and shows of Christmas Town.  One ticket covers it all.  You can click on the link belowfor the invitation and to order tickets.  The number of tickets is limited so reserve yours today.

 Christmas Town with Del Watson and Gov McDonnell

Contact Delegate Watson

Phone: (757) 345-6310     Email:

Mail: PO Box 6598 Williamsburg, VA 23188

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