U.S. Senator Tim Kaine held a roundtable with Mayor John Tarr and other local leaders in Chincoteague today following a tour of Assateague Island.
During the tour of Assateague, Kaine visited the beach and discussed the issue of preserving access to Assateague beach with Park Service and Fish & Wildlife Service officials, noting that preservation of this Virginia landmark needs to remain a top priority while still protecting Chincoteague's local economy that relies heavily on tourism.
"This community is closely affected by the federal management of the seashore and wildlife refuge and it's been a very strong partnership for many decades," said Kaine. "I'm pleased federal agencies have abandoned some ideas that would have been detrimental to tourism and the local economy and look forward to working with local leaders and federal agencies to protect access to this beautiful beach while also doing what's best for this protected area."
Following the beach tour, Kaine kicked off the roundtable in Chincoteague by describing his tour of NASA's facility on Wallops Island Thursday, highlighting the facility's importance to the future of NASA and its ability to continue attracting talented people to the area. Throughout the roundtable discussion, Kaine heard from town officials about beach access and other issues impacting the Eastern Shore.
"There are important things to consider as folks on all sides determine the right way to manage Assateague Island to protect beach access and provide visitors with a good experience and a pristine beach. But the direct effects any plan could have on Chincoteague and the safety of its people and property must also be considered," said Kaine. "This tour and dialogue was helpful to give me good insight to advocate for the best interests of this national treasure so we can find the right balance as plans are written."
In addition to announcing his first Senate bill, the Troop Talent Act, in Richmond this week, Kaine visited Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, participated in a roundtable discussion with military families in Norfolk, toured Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach, visited Fort Lee, toured CCAM and Rolls Royce manufacturing facilities in Prince George County, met with veterans in Lynchburg, and spoke with students at the University of Virginia, before touring the NASA facility on Wallops Island yesterday. Since taking office in January, Kaine has traveled around the Commonwealth meeting with students, members of the defense community, educators and business owners.