This past Friday, Congressman Scott Taylor (VA-2) spent time traveling throughout the Eastern Shore to meet and greet constituents and local elected officials to discuss some of the community’s top priorities and provide a legislative update on his activity in Washington. Recently, Taylor helped secure funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to replenish Sandbridge’s beaches to protect the area from erosion-induced storm damage.
“As someone who grew up on the Eastern Shore, I always enjoy the opportunity to return and meet with the people and visit the sites that make the Shore one of coastal Virginia’s greatest treasures,” Taylor said via a press release.
Taylor delivered a community update to the Town of Chincoteague and the Federal Community Chincoteague Cultural Alliance, hosted by Mayor Arthur Leonard and the Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce. The congressman spoke about his child care directive, which encourages the Department of Defense (DOD) to improve and expand child care program opportunities by utilizing excess infrastructure as child development centers located in rural areas.
In June, The congressman explained that “service members and federal employees in rural locations across Virginia’s Second District and the Eastern Shore, where access to child care programs is even more limited,” causes a problem for families who have a member in the military. Therefore, in the near future, the DoD will also look to explore partnerships with other federal agencies to coordinate joint accessibility to development centers to reduce stress on military families and help with troop retention and readiness through Taylor’s amendment in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Defense Appropriations Bill.
Moreover, Taylor discussed his efforts to protect and grow investments in the NASA-Wallops Flight Facility. He has an upcoming amendment to the FY19 Commerce Justice Science Appropriations Bill that gives NASA the authority to reimburse the town of Chincoteague for its costs in relocating wells that have been contaminated by “per- and poly-fluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS),” according to the news release.
Congressman Taylor spoke on the hiring of Eastern Shore Refuge Manager Nancy Finley and Stacey Loew as the new Cape Charles Refuge Director. He has also been working to bring Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to the Eastern Shore to meet with local officials.
“Since being elected,” Taylor said, “my office has been working hard to resolve the issues facing the Eastern Shore, such as expanding child care for military families, supporting Wallops Flight Facility, ensuring that Chincoteague has safe drinking water, and fully staffing our Wildlife Refuges.”
At the Club Car Café in Parksley, Taylor joined local veterans and volunteers for lunch to celebrate their work on the Parksley Veterans Memorial. Ground was broken on the site just over two years ago and the installation honors a Vietnam War hero from the town, as well as all Accomack County veterans who died in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
In Onley, Taylor met with Board Members of Eastern Shore Rural Health and participated in a facility tour. In a report from DelmarvaNow, earlier this year, the system had raised nearly a third of the funds for a $250,000 matching grant that will help build its new Eastville Community Health Center.
As Taylor traveled through Onancock, he met with Mayor Fletcher Fosque and Town Manager Bill Kerbin to speak about issues surrounding the shore’s people, then joined Sheriff Todd Godwin to travel to Tangier Island.
In tandem with Tangier Island Mayor James “Ooker” Eskridge, Taylor announced that the new Tangier jetty had received final approval from the Army Corps of Engineers, with construction beginning later this year. The jetty is designed to protect against wave erosion that is causing damage to Tangier Harbor, and sea level rise threatening the island’s 722 inhabitants.
Sitting just three feet above sea level, the Accomack County island has lost over two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. Many residents believe the erosion is to be blamed for the increasing severity of flooding.
“I want to thank Mayor Ooker for inviting me to Tangier Island today. The new jetty, that is set to begin construction this year, will protect Tangier from erosion and preserve this vital piece of our Commonwealth’s history,” said Congressman Scott Taylor.