HAMPTON, Va. — Congresswoman Elaine Luria introduces the Fort Monroe National Monument Land Acquisition Act on Tuesday.
If passed, it will allow the Commonwealth of Virginia to transfer about 40 acres of coastal land to the Fort Monroe National Monument. It would unify the two divided sections of Fort Monroe, creating an unbroken and federally managed coastline along the Chesapeake Bay.
This bill comes after federal officials refused to accept these approximately 40 acres of land from the Commonwealth of Virginia as a donation to the Department of Interior.
Rep. Luria said she introduced the bill to make sure Fort Monroe’s rich history can be properly remembered and make sure it's accessible for future generations.
The entire bipartisan Hampton Roads delegation – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04), and Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) – are original cosponsors of this bill.
The House version of the Fort Monroe National Monument Land Acquisition Act is a companion bill to an identical Senate bill that was introduced in July by Virginia Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner.
Local political leaders reacted to the bill:
Congressman Scott said:
“Recognizing the great need for continued stewardship of Fort Monroe, interpretation of its history, and care for the surrounding beaches, I am pleased to join Congresswoman Luria as a cosponsor of the bipartisan and bicameral Fort Monroe National Monument Land Acquisition Act. Adding this land to the Fort Monroe National Monument will not only foster expanded economic and educational opportunities for the City of Hampton and the Commonwealth of Virginia, it will also unify the park for future generations.”
Congressman Wittman said:
“We have the opportunity to better preserve the natural, cultural, and historic resources at Fort Monroe as well as conserve the shoreline of one of Virginia’s most valuable treasures – the Chesapeake Bay. I look forward to working with my colleagues, in a bipartisan fashion, to preserve historic Fort Monroe.”
Congressman McEachin said:
“I am honored to cosponsor the bipartisan Fort Monroe National Monument Land Acquisition Act to expand and protect Fort Monroe. The site of Fort Monroe has immense historical significance – it is where the first slave ships landed in the English colonies and where 250 years later, escapes slaves found safety at ‘Freedom’s Fortress.’ As we continue to struggle in reckoning with Virginia’s history and complex role in our shared American story, it is important that we further protect this site in order to tell a more complete and inclusive American history. Including this additional land in the Fort Monroe National Monument will unify the site and help provide greater educational, conservation, and recreational opportunities for all Virginians.”
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