Dogwood Weekly: What happened this week
By Keya Vakil
June 3, 2019

We are mourning with you, Virginia.

Friday’s horrific mass shooting at a Virginia Beach municipal building left 11 city employees and one contractor filing a permit dead. There are no words that adequately capture the horror of these increasingly common tragedies. If you want to get involved, Virginia Beach has a dedicated site on how to help.

ICYMI: 5 things that happened this week…

  1. Trump’s proposed Mexico tariffs could devastate Virginia economy – On Thursday, President Trump announced a plan to impose 5% tariffs on Mexican imports, starting on June 10, as a form of punishment for Mexico’s failure to stop the flow of migrants from reaching the American border. The White House said the tariff would jump by 5% increments each month until it reached 25% in October, unless Mexico takes action. What impact would these tariffs have on Virginia? We took a look at the numbers and the story they tell isn’t pretty.
  2. Trump administration eliminates rural Jobs Corps program in Virginia – On top of the tariffs, the Trump administration also announced that the Flatwoods Job Corps Center in Coeburn, which employs dozens of Virginians and creates nearly $6 million in economic impact in the area, would be shut down. The Mayor of Coeburn said closing Flatwoods would be “an economic blow to the community” and there was bipartisan backlash to the announcement, but the Trump administration doesn’t appear to be backing down.
  3. Who benefits from a minimum wage hike? – This is a question that gets asked a lot, and opponents of increasing the minimum wage like to depict teenagers flipping burgers or waiters pocketing cash tips, a.k.a. people who don’t depend on wages because they get tips or kids who only work part-time. But according to an analysis from the Economic Policy Institute, this is a very incomplete portrait of the low-wage workforce, so we decided to completethe portrait.
  4. Virginia public colleges freeze their tuition for the first time in almost 20 years – After a decade that saw public college tuition in Virginia skyrocket by 79% and the average public college graduate’s student loan debt surge to $30,000, the General Assembly finally stepped in, allotting $57.5 million in this year’s state budget for colleges that agreed to freeze their in-state tuition rates. All 15 eligible school agreed to freeze their in-state tuition, marking the first time in nearly 20 years that students will get some tuition relief.
  5. Republican candidate Tina Freitas wants to ban abortion, compares herself to abolitionists – Another week, another Virginia Republican making extreme comments about wanting to ban abortion. Tina Freitas, a Republican challenging an incumbent state Senator in Virginia’s 24th district, said that she wants to ban abortion, calling it an “abhorrent, barbaric act.” She also compared her efforts to those of the abolitionist movement and claimed that abortion providers were covering up for rapists and domestic abusers.
  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He previously worked as a researcher in the film industry and dabbled in the political world.

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