Monty has been a leading advocate for teacher pay raises and more funding for our public schools since he was elected in 2013. He knows the value of a good education is priceless and that we must ensure our future leaders are prepared for the 21st century workforce. Whether that’s learning a trade or going to college, Monty believes all children should have the opportunity to succeed and was a strong supporter of his predecessor, the late Sen. John Miller’s, plan to redesign graduation requirements for high school students. This legislation shifted focus from traditional graduation requirements to identifying the skills and knowledge needed to help contribute to Virginia’s economy. Additionally, Monty has passed legislation to ensure that ALL students are included by rewriting Virginia laws regarding homeless students to align with federal requirements, ensuring that Virginia students receive all resources possible from the federal and state governments to ensure they receive a good education.
One of Monty’s biggest accomplishments in the legislature is passing legislation to bring the Family First Prevention Services Act to Virginia. This legislation will draw down dollars from the federal government and enable local social service departments to offer prevention services to families instead of waiting for an incident that may result in a Child Protective Services complaint being filed. The key here is “prevention” and prior to this legislation there weren’t any state funds allocated that went towards addressing these issues on the front end. The goal and expectation of this legislation is to keep families together and offer them services that can help prevent a child being taken from the home and put into foster care. Virginia is one of the first states in the entire country to implement this Act which passed at the federal level in 2018. In conjunction with this legislation, Mason helped start the inaugural “Foster Care Caucus” in the 2019 General Assembly session. He serves as co-chair of the caucus alongside Del. Emily Brewer (R-Suffolk) and is a member of the State Executive Council overseeing implementation of the Children’s Services Act.
As the Virginia Chamber's Legislator of the Year in 2020 and former chairman of Williamsburg’s Economic Development Authority, Monty knows how important good jobs are and how to attract them. With one of the largest employers in the Commonwealth located within the 1st Senate District, Newport News Shipbuilding, he also knows how important workforce development is and the opportunity to learn the skills needed for a successful career. Whether it’s shipbuilding or cybersecurity there are many fields today that can’t hire fast enough. That’s why he has been a strong proponent of creating a workforce pipeline to fill the jobs we have vacant right here on the Peninsula.
When he started his career in the legislature, the Interstate 64-widening project had just begun. The 3-phase project between Newport News and James City County is nearly complete and the Commonwealth is now embarking on expanding the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel, one of the largest infrastructure projects in the country. Throughout the beginning of the 64 widening process Monty was engaged with local constituents on issues that arose during the construction, most notably with the Queens Lake neighborhood and the effect that construction had on the quiet neighborhood that was suddenly encountering a significant amount of noise pollution and sediment run off. Monty fought to get some stream-restoration included in the project and subsequently Queens Lake was awarded sound walls as well. Additionally, he is a member of the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission (HRTAC) that is charged with financing all road projects throughout Hampton Roads. As a member of the Commission’s finance committee Monty will have a hand in helping the region continue to improve its transportation infrastructure like the expansion of the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel.
Monty has been critical in bringing the offshore wind industry to the Commonwealth. He sponsored legislation in 2020 calling for 5,200 megawatts of offshore wind to be built that became part of the Clean Economy Act. Working closely with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science he has brought legislation to help clean up the bay by introducing bio-degradable rings for crab pots and worked to further measures enhancing Virginia’s coastal resilience. He serves on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, charged with balancing the conservation of all species of fish along the East Coast with commercial industry. He serves as Virginia’s legislative representative for the ASMFC, the 13 state Commission comprised of each state along the East Coast. Additionally, he serves on the Agriculture, Conservation, and Natural Resources committee in the Senate where he recently sponsored the ConserveVirginia legislation, SB1290, which uses several different data points to identify parcels of land that would be best suited for conservation, adding a data driven approach to the process. Lastly, he hosts an annual clean-up each year at College Creek in Williamsburg where he and many volunteers pick up trash and debris along the headwater of College Creek to help preserve one of the Peninsula’s natural treasures.
During Monty’s tenure in the legislature he has worked for seniors consistently and was given the AARP’s “Super Savers” award in 2018 for his work helping all workers grow their retirement savings. He has also worked to help prevent fraud and elder abuse by passing legislation to help address it with Senate Bill 543. This legislation would enable a temporary conservator to be appointed by a court to handle financial affairs when Adult Protective Services identifies fraud and elder abuse occurring. It’s one of the tougher crimes to identify because it is usually perpetrated by someone close to the victim and in a position of trust.
Mason has worked for Veterans throughout his time in the General Assembly including his service as an active participant in the Military and Veterans Caucus. The 1st District is home to several military installations and several thousand veterans and active duty service members. One of Monty’s more significant pieces of legislation came in the House when he championed employment protections for members of the National Guard. House Bill 921 ensured that if a member of the National Guard was deployed that they were entitled to retain vacation or other accrued leave as well as their old job upon their return. He also fought last session to provide an additional $1.5 million in state tuition assistance funding for Virginia’s National Guard. He also knows the value our veterans have in the workforce and has continued to support and highlight the V3 program (Virginia Values Veterans) which aims to connect veterans with job opportunities.
Monty has been focused on improving Virginia’s mental health system since he took office and in doing so has carried legislation directly drawn from working with our local Community Services Boards and advocates. He was inducted in to the Hampton Newport News Community Services Board Hall of Fame in 2017 and has continued to advocate for the individuals who can’t advocate for themselves. In 2018, he carried the “Joe Hudson” bill, named after an individual who had been working at a local CSB for several decades that was prohibited from being employed as a peer-recovery specialist because of a felony related to his addiction in his youth. Joe credits the local CSB for saving his life decades ago. He simply wanted to be able to give back and provide guidance to those who were going through the same thing he did in his youth. Monty fought to get the bill through and, with bipartisan support, Governor Northam signed the legislation in to law in 2018. Finally, Monty is working to relieve the pressure on our state mental hospitals where census numbers are beyond acceptable capacity. He is working towards more community-based care and evaluating the best facility for the individual based on their current needs.