Senator Barker has worked for transportation improvements to Northern Virginia's inadequate transportation system for more than two decades. In 2013, he worked hard in both the Senate and the House to get enough votes for Virginia's first major transportation initiative in 27 years. This year, Senator Barker opposed legislation that would prevent Northern Virginia from getting our fair share of transportation funds and that would restrict resources for education and other services. With Northern Virginia population growth averaging more than 40,000 people per year, we must work hard to meet transportation needs. Each year, Senator Barker supports policies that ensure Northern Virginia gets its fair share of transportation funding. He regularly works with state and local transportation groups and agencies to find ways to reduce congestion, improve roads, and keep traffic moving.
Our Economy and Jobs
Senator Barker has a background in economics and is determined to strengthen our economy, our businesses, and bring high quality jobs to Northern Virginia. He, along with Senator Bill Stanley (R-Franklin), received the 2014 Economic Competiveness Award from the Virginia Chamber of Commerce for their effort to develop a “shared work” program that helps both businesses and employees. Senator Barker is currently working on research investment so that our PhDs do not go elsewhere after graduating. He also led a group developing options for increasing medical residencies so our new doctors do not have to go out of state for training, never to return. The State Chamber President said, “With the support of pro-business legislators like Senator Barker, we can continue to improve Virginia's business climate and maintain Virginia's ranking as the Best State for Business."
Senator Barker serves on the Education and Health Committee and sponsors the most education bills in the Senate. He has worked on funding to address class sizes, giving everyone the benefits of full day kindergarten, allowing elementary and middle school students to retake SOL exams they nearly passed, measuring school performance by student growth rather than a snapshot SOL test, getting International. Baccalaureate students the same credit as Advance Placement students, increasing teacher pay that lags far below the national average and making sure Virginia is not ripped off in funding of virtual schooling. Senator Barker will fight to get Northern Virginia schools the funds they are due and never stop working for our children and out future.
Military and Veterans
We all owe more than we will ever know to our veterans and service members. Senator Barker has worked on issues large and small to help ensure they receive the respect, care, and support they deserve. These include building a Veterans Care Center in Prince William, helping non-profit groups giving health and mental health services to veterans, granting tax exemptions for survivors of those who made the ultimate sacrifice, giving those who return from deployments a grace period to get their cars inspected, giving temporary car registrations to those returning from abroad when the military did not have the proper paperwork, and getting veterans, National Guardsmen, and members of the military appropriate in-state tuition.
Senator Barker knows that in order to get things done, we need to work together and put party politics aside. Senator Barker works closely with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get more bills passed than almost any other Senator. He partners with Republican leaders in the district to on common sense legislation that will create long-lasting solutions for all Virginians.
Common Sense Solutions
Senator Barker has led on many common sense issues in Virginia, including allowing Virginians to keep their health insurance plans, prohibiting censorship of the sermons of National Guard chaplains, allowing police to stop people who are texting while driving, giving Virginians a tax refund check rather than a debit card, ensuring those in a mental health crises get emergency care, making sure college students contemplating suicide are contacted and have the support of family and friends, ensuring students who are sexually assaulted get the support they need and help to decide whether to pursue prosecution, providing protection from financial exploitation to elderly persons, holding the line taxes, and putting more money in our Rainy Day Fund.