Virginia

Word on the Hill: Earth Day Celebrations
Smoothies and staffer shuffles

Tomorrow is the annual day to celebrate nature. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Happy Friday and last day of recess.

Tomorrow is the 47th annual Earth Day and here are ways you can celebrate Mother Nature.

Photos of the Recess: A Tax Protest, Special Election and 4/20 Event
The weeks of April 10 and April 17 as seen by Roll Call's photographers

A Hill staffer reads a book during the lunch hour on the East Lawn of the Capitol on April 18. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Warm weather punctuated the spring recess in Washington. As congressmen took two weeks back home in their states and districts, some Hill staffers were able to enjoy the sun on lunch breaks and head early to happy hours.

But it wasn't all that quiet on the congressional front. A Tax March on Saturday, April 15 brought protesters to Capitol Hill to demand President Donald Trump release his tax returns. CQ Roll Call hit the road to Atlanta for the special election to fill Tom Price's seat. And back in Washington, the recess neared its end as a 4/20 event resulted in seven arrests for marijuana possession and possession with intent to distribute near the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Comstock Gets Third Challenger
Virginia state Sen. Jennifer Wexton announced Thursday

Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., has three Democrats vying to challenge her. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock received a third Democratic challenger on Thursday when state Sen. Jennifer Wexton announced her candidacy.

Wexton joins two other Democratic challengers: Dan Helmer, an Army veteran and Rhodes Scholar, and Fairfax County teacher Kimberly Adams.

D.C. Home Rule Advocates to Continue Fight After Chaffetz Retirement Announcement
Others on Oversight Committee may be targeted next

Golf balls with Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s face imprinted on them were a party favor at the Americans for Self-Rule PAC launch party this week. (Courtesy Lynette Craig)

Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s announcement that he will retire from Congress at the end of 2018 has made some folks in Washington, D.C., very happy.

Advocates for District of Columbia sovereignty see Chaffetz, the chairman of the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, as one of their biggest tormentors. The Republican lawmaker especially riled local groups to action by attempting to exercise the committee’s authority to overturn D.C. laws under the Home Rule Act, long a sore spot for District residents.

Rising Stars 2017: Administration Staffers
A mix of fresh and familiar Washington faces

Four Trump administration staffers are among CQ Roll Call’s 17 Rising Stars of 2017. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Over the course of this week, CQ Roll Call is taking a look at 17 Rising Stars of 2017 — people who will now wield power and influence in a Washington that has been turned upside down by the presidency of Donald Trump.

Some of the names are familiar, others have recently burst on the scene. They include members of Congress, congressional and administration staffers, and advocates.

Wittman Answers Questions at Public Forum, Constituents Hold Mock Town Hall
Republican congressman says he favors smaller-scale meetings over massive town halls

Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., leaves a meeting of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors in Stafford, Va., on April 18, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

STAFFORD, Va. — Rep. Rob Wittman provided an update on congressional affairs to the local governing body here Tuesday evening. It was his fifth constituent meeting of the day.

Meanwhile, just over 30 miles northwest in Nokesville, Virginia, citizens held a mock town hall to discuss the congressman’s voting record.

Korean-American Candidates Enter ‘Final Frontier’
Only one Korean-American has ever served in Congress

UC Irvine law professor Dave Min, left, is running to unseat Republican Rep. Mimi Walters in California’s 45th District, while Robert Lee Ahn is in a runoff for California’s open 34th District seat. (Photos courtesy Dave Min for Congress, Robert Lee Ahn for Congress)

Two candidates running for Congress in California are entering what one calls a “final frontier” for Korean-Americans. 

The only Korean-American elected to Congress was Jay Kim, a California Republican who served three terms from 1993 to 1999. 

Word on the Hill: Things to Do in D.C. on Easter
Lots of brunch options in the DMV

Try a new restaurant this Sunday. (CQ/ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Chaplain’s Easter service is today in the Hart Senate Office Building, Room 902, noon - 1 p.m.

Whether you’re celebrating Easter or not, here are a few restaurants offering specials for brunch this Sunday:

To Save Millions, Military Grounds Planes Worth Billions
Economics ‘upside down’, expert says

The Air Force has grounded part of its fleet of C-5 Galaxy transport planes. (Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)

The Air Force has grounded a big portion of its newly refurbished, multibillion-dollar fleet of C-5 Galaxy transport planes, just to avoid spending the relatively small amount of money it costs to fly them. 

In order to save $60 million in annual operating costs, the Air Force has since fiscal 2015 placed eight of its top-of-the-line C-5s in “backup aircraft inventory” status, even though they are needed to ferry troops and gear around the world, said Gen. Carlton Everhart, the four-star chief of Air Mobility Command.

Opinion: In North Carolina, the Good and Not-So-Good News
Compromise on ‘bathroom bill’ but an attempt to ban same-sex marriage

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, left, is fighting a Republican supermajority in the state legislature that has sometimes seemed more intent on thwarting him than governing, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Courtesy Gov. Roy Cooper Facebook page)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It’s North Carolina, so, of course, the good news is followed by that pesky dark cloud every time.

You would think everyone in the state would welcome the end of the long saga over House Bill 2, the so-called bathroom bill, which was repealed recently in a compromise. That bill, which had compelled people to use the bathroom that corresponded to the gender on their birth certificates, also said cities could not follow Charlotte’s lead and enact their own anti-discrimination ordinances or a minimum wage and much more.