Gooditis, Vogel Recognized for Healthcare Efforts

Winchester Star • August 31st, 2019

By Onofrio Castigiia

WINCHESTER — State Sen. Jill Vogel, R-Upperville, and Del. Wendy Gooditis, D-Clarke County, were presented Friday with a “HosPac Healthcare Hero” award from the political action committee for the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association.

Valley Health President and CEO Mark Merrill, who presented the awards in the courtyard of the Winchester Medical Center, thanked Vogel and Gooditis for their votes to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in Virginia last year.

“Over 300,000 Virginians are now covered who were not covered a year ago,” Merrill said.

Merrill also thanked Vogel for supporting legislation to improve access to autism treatments.

“Nothing is changing more quickly than healthcare,” Vogel said upon receiving her award. As the chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Vogel said she struggles with the ever-present question of “how do you pay for it?”

Vogel said she was thankful for the expertise of the medical community. “I have an amazing ally,” she said.

Merrill said Gooditis has been “an unwavering champion” of healthcare access since she was elected in 2017. “Delegate Gooditis is one of the people who got Medicaid expansion across the finish line,” he said.

Gooditis said she is working on legislation to lower the cost of prescription drugs and help pay for community services boards in advance of the 2020 legislative session in Richmond.

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Vogel, Gooditis Named Healthcare Heroes

WDVM • August 30th, 2019

By Ellie Williams

WINCHESTER, Va. (WDVM) — Two Virginia lawmakers were honored Friday in Winchester for their work on the healthcare front.

Republican Senator Jill Vogel of the 27th district and Democratic Delegate Wendy Gooditis of the 10th district were honored at Winchester Medical Center with the 2019 HosPAC Healthcare Hero award.

Valley Health President and CEO Mark Merrill noted the lawmakers work in Richmond to pass the Medicaid expansion bill in Virginia, helping more than 300,000 Virginians qualify for coverage.

“It was a bi-partisan effort, supported by many many people around the commonwealth of Virginia, all of whom without whose work,” Vogel said. “Nothing would work in the commonwealth of Virginia.”

Gooditis said earning the award was an honor, especially as a new delegate.

“I cannot imagine being called anything nicer than a healthcare hero,” she said. “It’s a dream come true. It’s what I want to do, it’s what I will continue to work towards is healthcare for Virginians.”

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Faith Leaders Now Mandatory Reporters of Abuse Under New Law

WCVE PBS Richmond • July 11th, 2019

By Reed Canaan

Faith leaders in Virginia are now required to report suspected child abuse. Legislation that went into effect July 1 adds ministers, priests, rabbis, and imams to the list of mandated reporters. But victim advocates say they want the law to go further.

Becky Ianni with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said she hopes the law will increase reporting of child abuse, but is concerned about what she identifies as a loophole.

Clergy are exempt from reporting abuse if the religious organization requires the conversation to be confidential, like during confession.

“I’m afraid that that loophole will keep some cases from being reported,” Clergy said.

Jeff Caruso, Executive Director of the Virginia Catholic Conference, defended the importance of this exemption.

“This is an exemption that applies across the board to faith leaders and it’s important to respect religious practices and traditions. And the bill does that and at the same time strengthens protections for children, which is extremely important and necessary,” Caruso said.

Delegate Wendy Gooditis, chief co-patron of the legislation, agreed that this exemption is a loophole in the law.

“All I can say is we made progress with this. And there’s certainly more work to be done,” she said.

There are now 19 categories of individuals mandated to report child abuse in Virginia.

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Gooditis, Loudoun Farmers Discuss Agricultural Sustainability

Loudoun Now • June 6th, 2019

By Patrick Szabo

In a world that’s primarily focused on technology advances and increased development, small-time farmers don’t always get the attention they need. But that wasn’t the case this week.

Nearly 20 farmers, advocates and policymakers flanked Del. Wendy Gooditis (D-10) at the Middleburg Community Center on Wednesday night to discuss what they can do to support Loudoun’s small and family-owned farms. The agriculture policy roundtable solicited input from professionals representing more than a dozen different organizations and government agencies ranging from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to Loudoun Hunger Relief. Coming to the forefront in the hour-and-a-half conversation were topics of small farm marketing and visibility and voucher and farm-to-school programs.

Gooditis kicked the discussion off by noting that she’s lived in southern Clarke County for more than two decades on property that overlooks the Shenandoah Valley and that she’s a rural resident at heart.

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Gooditis Holds Child Abuse Roundtable with Experts, Legislators

Loudon Times • April 3rd, 2019

By Patrick Szabo

It’s National Child Abuse Prevention Month and Del. Wendy Gooditis (D-10) put the spotlight on the difficult topic during a policy roundtable Tuesday night at the Leesburg Town Hall.

Eleven child abuse experts from the county, state and other organizations participated in the forum, which focused on child abuse prevention and responses and aimed to give lawmakers recommendations to better protect children, along with state Sen. Jennifer Boysko (D-10), Del. Karrie Delaney (D-67) and Del. Kathleen Murphy (D-34) also participated in the conversation.

Better training and more access to affordable childcare services were two issues raised frequently during the discussion.

Buta Biberaj, a Leesburg attorney who is running for commonwealth’s attorney, pointed out that many cases of sexual abuse involve individuals that children trust, and not necessarily strangers.

John Walker, the Loudoun County Public School System’s director of Student Support Services, said that kids are more vulnerable to sexual abuse today because of their access to social media. He said it was important for school personnel to connect with parents and help to make kids comfortable when reporting sexual abuse.

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Gooditis to Introduce Four Bills to Combat Child Abuse

Winchester Star • January 5th, 2019

By Josh Janney

WINCHESTER — Del. Wendy Gooditis, D-Clarke County, said she will introduce legislation to combat child sexual abuse when the 2019 General Assembly legislative session begins Wednesday.

During a press conference in Leesburg on Friday, Gooditis said she will introduce four bills that would:

• expand the definition of sexual abuse,

• require the clergy to report suspected abuse,

• retain records of complaints about child sexual abuse for a longer period of time,

• enforce a harsher penalty for those who commit domestic violence in the presence of a minor.

Gooditis said her brother, at the age of 11, was raped multiple times by the leader of a children’s activity. Her brother later attempted suicide multiple times, and suffered from PTSD and alcoholism. He was found dead in March 2017, shortly after she announced her candidacy for the House of Delegates. Gooditis hopes to protect other children from a similar fate.

“My grief and loss have created an energy in me,” Gooditis said. “I couldn’t help my brother. I couldn’t fix it for him. If I can do anything to save that one child from being abused right now ... then I will do it.”

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Del. Gooditis Announces 4 Bills Aimed at Combatting Child Abuse

Loudoun Now • January 4th, 2019

By Patrick Szabo

Less than a week ahead of the 2019 Virginia General Assembly, Del. Wendy Gooditis (D-10) is striving to tighten Virginia’s laws to protect children from sexual abuse.

Gooditis today announced a slate of four bills aimed to combat child abuse that she’s filed ahead of this year’s General Assembly session, which begins Wednesday. Those bills would change Virginia’s definition of child sexual abuse, make clergy of all religious denominations mandated reporters of child abuse, maintain records of child abuse investigations for three years and penalize those who expose children to domestic violence.

“If I can do anything to save that one child who is being abused right now…then I will do it,” Gooditis said.

Alongside Gooditis in the Leesburg Town Council chambers were Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman; Loudoun County Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large); Leesburg Mayor Kelly Burk; Judy Hanley, the executive director of the Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter and the director of the Loudoun Child Advocacy Center; and Ian Danielsen, an assistant professor of social work at Longwood University.

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Del. Gooditis Announces Bills to Fight Child Abuse

Loudoun Times-Mirror • January 4th, 2019

By Veronike Collazo

State Del. Wendy Gooditis (D-10th) on Friday announced four pieces of legislation aimed at combating child abuse, specifically sexual abuse.

During a press conference in Leesburg, Gooditis shared that her brother developed PTSD after being sexually abused as a child by the leader of an after-school activity.

The lawmaker's brother died in 2017 days after she announced her House of Delegates candidacy, and now Gooditis said she wants to make sure what happened to him doesn’t happen to anyone else.

“My grief and loss have created an energy in me,” Gooditis said. “... I couldn’t help my brother. I couldn’t fix it for him. If I can do anything to save that one child who is being abused right now, with the help of the people in this you and all of you watching, then I will do it.”

Longwood University Assistant Professor of Social Work Ian Danielsen commended Gooditis and her team for doing research and speaking with stakeholders to find the gaps in the system and propose bills to better help child abuse victims.

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