Dear Friend,

Happy Halloween! I hope you’re enjoying the cooler temperatures as much as I am.

As we have reached the end of the month, I wanted to update you on a few things that took place this past month and offer some important election reminders. I hope you find these monthly updates helpful and informative.

CDC Action on COVID Vaccines for Children

Earlier this month, the CDC voted to add the COVID vaccine to the list of recommended immunizations for children. I have subsequently received numerous emails and calls concerned about the impact this will have on Virginia. I want to quickly clarify this matter.

The CDC’s decision does not mandate the COVID vaccine for Virginia children. In fact, the CDC does not have the authority to set these policies for our state. Only the General Assembly or the Board of Health can make this decision. To date, both have declined to make the COVID vaccine mandatory for Virginia children. Both Governor Youngkin and Speaker Gilbert have publicly stated that they will not support efforts to make the vaccine mandatory.

I strongly believe that the COVID vaccine must be optional for both children and adults, and I will vote against any effort to make the vaccine mandatory. The vaccine is widely available for any individual who wishes to receive it, and it will remain that way.

Supporting Canine Officers

I have been busy at work these last few months preparing for the upcoming legislative session. Starting in January, the House and Senate will meet for a short 46-day session (even number years have a longer session). Because of the condensed nature of session, the House Rules limit members to just fifteen bills.

One such bill that I am planning to introduce would help take care of our canine officers in retirement. In Virginia, law enforcement agencies pay for all relevant veterinary expenses while a canine is on the job. When retirement comes around, canines are often purchased from the department for $1 by their handler. At that point, the handler is responsible for medical costs. After a lifetime of hard work, many of these canines can develop significant health issues like arthritis and cancer. The veterinary costs can quickly start to add up.

To help support these retired canine officers–and their handlers–I am introducing legislation to create a fund to help assist with veterinary costs. Virginia takes care of our retired human law enforcement in retirement, and we should make an effort to also assist our canine officers. The fund will be set up to receive both funds appropriated by the General Assembly and donations from the public.

This bill will be modeled after a similar bill that unanimously passed the Florida Legislature earlier this year and signed into law by Governor Ron Desantis. I thank the Chesterfield County Police K9 Association for bringing this request to me earlier this year.

You can learn more about the role of law enforcement canines and the proposed bill in this Wayne’s World segment from CBS6 reporter Wayne Covil.

Upcoming Election

Election Day is next week! Have you made a plan to vote?

Polls will be open from 6am to 7pm on Tuesday, November 8th. You can double check your polling location by checking your voter registration card or by clicking here. Polls are usually busiest during the lunch hour and after work. I will be traveling to several different polls throughout the district on Election Day and hope to run into you!

Early voting is also open through this Saturday (November 5th). Early voting is a quick and secure method of casting your vote if you will be out of town or at work on Election Day.

Sample ballots are available for both Colonial Heights and Chesterfield voters. You can view the Colonial Heights sample ballot by clicking here. Chesterfield voters can find several sample ballots by clicking here (scroll down for different options based upon your congressional district.)

Additionally, Colonial Heights voters may find this local candidate survey from the Colonial Heights Republican Committee helpful when it comes to deciding who to select in the voting booth.

If you have additional questions, please contact your local registrar’s office.

  • Colonial Heights: (804) 520-9277
  • Chesterfield: (804) 748-1471

Around the District

October was a busy month! Here’s just a few highlights…

Virginia State University took on Bowie State University earlier this month for their annual homecoming game. Even though VSU came up short in the end, I had a great time. The fans were full of energy!

Chesterfield hosted its annual Praying For Our Schools event that brought the community together to pray for students, teachers, and administrators. Prayer is powerful and is needed now more than ever.

Thank you to Colonial Heights Superintendent Dr. William Sroufe for giving me a tour of Colonial Heights High School and Lakeview Elementary School. I was very impressed with the career and technical education courses being offered to our high school students.

I’ve also enjoyed supporting worthy causes. In October, I attended the Pregnancy Help Center of Chesterfield gala fundraiser and the 3rd annual First Responder Appreciation Event hosted by Chesterfield Gives Back.

It really was a busy month, but I’m looking forward to all that November brings!

It’s an honor to represent our community in the House of Delegates. If I can ever assist you or your family with a state-related matter, please let me know.

Mike Cherry