Welcome to today’s edition of the Dogwood Daily. We’ve got a round-up of all of today’s Virginia news coming right up. And if you’re a fan, please forward to three friends who need to know what’s going on in the Commonwealth and tell them to subscribe here

But first…

Check out this excellent profile of Ghazala Hashmi, Virginia’s first Muslim state Senator, in the New York Times.

Five things you need to know today …

  1. Virginia’s Legislative Black Caucus Expands— Virginia’s Legislative Black Caucus has expanded to include 23 members. Democrats flipped six seats in the Tuesday’s election, adding three more black representatives to the roster, and one new member who took over a seat previously occupied by a black representative. Del. Lamont Bagby, chairman of the Black Caucus, said he hopes to use the increased numbers to push for criminal justice reform, increased funding for schools in low-income neighborhoods and more money for the state’s historically black colleges and universities. -Virginia Mercury
  2. Elevated lead levels at Virginia Beach schools-– Twenty-seven of 33 Virginia Beach schools had water with lead levels above state and federal limits, according to school officials. After repairs officials say the schools’ lead level in water is now below the level required by the government, and the Virginia Beach Health Department reported that the risk to children had been very low. Ten Virginia Beach schools still need to be assessed, until then students and staff will be provided with water bottles. –The Virginian-Pilot
  3. Democrats win big in local government races, too-– In addition to taking the General Assembly, Democrats also had major victories in northern Virginia county governments. Democrats took control from Republicans in both Prince William and Loudoun counties, and retained control of Fairfax County. The shift signals more funding to come for housing, transit, schools, efforts to fight climate change, and creating more immigrant-friendly communities. –The Washington Post
  4. Northam’s agenda— At a cabinet meeting on Wednesday morning, Governor Northam laid out components of his agenda for the state. Among the topics covered were the gun safety laws Northam had initially proposed earlier this year at a special session adjourned by Republicans after only 90 minutes. The governor promised swift action on a host of other issues as well, including environmental policy, reproductive healthcare, and increased education funding. “Virginia is blue. I want everyone to know that,” Northam said. -The Washington Post
  5. Hampton Roads companies win big government contracts— The Newport News-based Airborne Tactical Advantage Co. was one of seven firms named in a new $6.4 billion Air Force contract. The company will provide outside help to train fighter pilots and in-air support personnel. While this deal was one of five large contracts recently awarded to Hampton Roads-based companies. -Daily Press