Economy and Jobs
In the Senate, Rosalyn will continue working to bring new and 21st century jobs to the 16th Senate District. In order to foster development there must be a skilled and trained workforce. She believes that job training programs and workforce development are critical to the success of our economy.
Virginians deserve the opportunity to earn a living wage and be able to provide for their families. For the last three sessions, Rosalyn has introduced legislation to raise Virginia’s minimum wage from the federally mandated minimum of $7.25 to $15.00 over a period of years.
In the past, she received an “A” from the Virginia Chamber of Commerce for her pro-business voting record. Her record includes helping to bring thousands of new and innovative jobs to the 16th District and creating millions worth of investment.
As a member of the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee, Rosalyn has been a staunch supporter of growing Virginia’s agribusiness industry. During the 2019 Session, she was awarded the Distinguished Friend of Agribusiness Award for her commitment over the years. She introduced successful legislation that would allow for the research and production of industrial hemp in Virginia. Our rural communities need resources and innovative ideas that allow them to flourish just like our urban and suburban communities.
Affordable housing is a pillar of strong and vibrant communities. Rosalyn is committed to increasing affordable housing across the 16th Senate District. When the New York Times came out with an appalling study that showed Virginia leads the nation in eviction rates, she went to work and co-sponsored legislation to reduce the rate of housing evictions.
The access to affordable and nutritious food is crucial to the survival of many communities that suffer from “food deserts”. This is why Rosalyn called for the creation of the Virginia Grocery Investment Program and Fund to provide funding for the construction, rehabilitation, equipment upgrades, or expansion of grocery stores, small food retailers, and innovative food retail projects in underserved communities.
Being able to travel back and forth to work is instrumental in economic security and opportunity. In 2014, Rosalyn requested funding to continue the GRTC Express Route between Petersburg and Richmond so that residents could travel to work.
Rosalyn is the product of good public education and she understands the need for a quality public education system that is equitable and fair.
Working to increase education funding to allow for increases in the number of school counselors and a deserved 5% pay raise for teachers. She has sponsored legislation to increase education funding by millions for underserved divisions like Richmond and Petersburg.
Access to pre-k education is instrumental in charting the paths of our children. Rosalyn has been an advocate at the state and federal levels for increasing funding by over $17 million to provide 1600 additional pre-k slots across the Commonwealth of Virginia.
While in the House of Delegates and the Senate, she sponsored legislation and budget amendments that provided additional funds for financial aid at Virginia State University to make sure that students were able to graduate on time.
Rosalyn has been an advocate for teacher residency partnerships between one or two university teacher preparation programs and the Petersburg and Richmond school divisions to help improve new teacher training and retention for hard-to-staff schools.
As a former healthcare administrator and registered nurse, Rosalyn has been on the front lines and experienced the impact of a healthcare system that provides quality and accessible care for everyone.
Rosalyn introduced legislation and voted countless times to expand Medicaid to bring healthcare to 400,000 Virginians and 12,500 residents in the 16th Senate District. Medicaid coverage will ensure that these Virginians have access to quality healthcare.
In 2019, she worked with her colleagues in the Senate and the House to obtain over $315 million to rebuild a new Central State Hospital in Dinwiddie County and replace over 13 buildings on the campus. Rosalyn understands the need for a strong mental health system that provides quality care in every corner of the Commonwealth.
She currently chairs the State’s Joint Commission on Healthcare that ensures that the Commonwealth as provider, financier, and regulator adopts the most cost-effective and valuable means of delivery of health care services so that the greatest number of Virginians receive quality health care.
Criminal Justice Reform
Rosalyn knows that minorities are disproportionately affected by a criminal justice system that creates barriers to reentry for returning citizens. As a member of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, she remains committed to making reform a priority.
Rosalyn joined her colleagues in the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus in calling for an end to the suspension of drivers’ licenses due to unpaid court fees. This practice affects over 500,000 Virginians and disproportionately affects minorities while making it more difficult for citizens to gain employment.
For years, she has introduced legislation to “ban the box” on job applications. This practice would prohibit employers from asking whether an applicant had been convicted of a felony on an initial application. Many citizens who are looking to reenter society are confronted with the difficulty of obtaining employment.
Restoration of voting rights remains an important issue and Rosalyn has worked to add an amendment to the Virginia Constitution allowing for the automatic restoration of voting rights.
Defending Women’s Rights
In 2019, women should be afforded the same rights as men and should not be subject to unjust policies that seek to rollback protections under the law.
Rosalyn believes that women should be empowered to make their own reproductive decisions and has co-sponsored legislation to repeal the mandatory ultrasound requirement for women seeking an abortion.
As an African American woman, Senator Dance co-sponsored legislation and has been fighting hard to make sure that women have an equal voice and representation through ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Energy and the Environment
Climate change is real and we must address these issues directly. Virginia’s policies should reflect this reality and seek to curve the devastating impacts such as sea level rise.
During the 2019 session, Rosalyn served as a chief co-patron on a compromise, bipartisan bill that laid out a plan to tackle the hazards of coal ash. The dangers of coal ash have a direct impact on many residents in Chesterfield County. This legislation will protect our environment for generations to come.
Rosalyn has been a tireless advocate for the expansion of solar energy in Virginia. Virginia currently lags behind its’ border states in the utilization of solar energy. Rosalyn believes that we must turn our focus from fossil fuels to creating more opportunities for renewables. Her past legislation doubled (to one megawatt) the amount of energy that non-residential utility customers can generate as part of a net metering program.