Press Releases

Rep. Wexton Announces VA-10 Mom and Health Care Advocate as Guest to State of the Union

Washington, DC  – Today, Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (VA-10) announced Walewska Watkins as her guest for the State of the Union address on February 4, 2020.

Watkins, a constituent from Ashburn, is the mother of an 8-year old boy named Aire. She and her family depend on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to get Aire the care he needs. The ACA’s affordability measures and protections from discrimination for preexisting conditions ensure that children like her son will have access to quality medical care. Watkins and her son are active members of the Little Lobbyists, a family-led group that advocates for children with complex medical needs and disabilities like Aire, who is Autistic.

Wexton invited Watkins to highlight her story and the stories of families across Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, where over 365,700 constituents live with preexisting conditions. 

“I’m honored to have Walewska join me as my guest for the State of the Union address,” said Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton. “Walewska’s story illustrates the challenges that so many families in my district are facing. Right now health care is under attack by this administration and costs are at a record high. Health care is a right -- it’s why I’m fighting every day in Congress to make it more affordable for all Virginians and to safeguard protections for people with preexisting conditions.”

“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, my family has been able to provide my son with the care he needs to live a healthy and happy life,” said Walewska Watkins. “We desperately need to strengthen and expand the ACA, not scrap it. Without protections for preexisting conditions, families like mine simply wouldn’t be able to get by. Kids like Aire need the ACA to survive and thrive. Every time Congresswoman Wexton votes to protect our care, she’s working to save the lives of kids like mine.”

Health care has been Wexton’s top priority in Congress, and she has helped pass 11 bills this Congress to lower drug costs, protect people with preexisting conditions, and reverse health care sabotage by the Trump administration. She has also introduced a bipartisan bill to give families more flexibility to save money on health care.

Most recently, the Congresswoman helped pass the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, landmark legislation that would give Medicare the power to negotiate directly with drug companies to bring down prices and make those savings available to hardworking families across America.

Wexton’s efforts to lower health care costs come as President Trump and Senate Republicans continue blocking legislation to lower costs and protect patients. Meanwhile, three days into this year, Pharma already increased drug prices on more than 400 medicines. Additionally, President Trump’s lawsuit to repeal the Affordable Care Act is ongoing, once again putting the health care of millions in jeopardy. On her first day in Congress, Wexton joined her colleagues in authorizing the general counsel of the House of Representatives to enter the legal battle over the ACA on the side of the American people.

Wexton’s first constituent meeting as a member of Congress was with the Little Lobbyists, which included Walewska and Aire, and she has been a fierce advocate for children with complex medical needs and disabilities. In May, Wexton authored an amendment to call attention to the dangerous impact that junk insurance plans have on children with complex medical needs, she organized a “Congressional Playdate Made Possible by the ACA” to raise awareness of the health care needs of families like the Little Lobbyists, and in December she hosted a “story time” with the Little Lobbyists at the Library of Congress to raise awareness of disability justice and representation. 

Wexton’s guest, Walewska M. Watkins, originally from Puerto Rico, is a practicing attorney who resides in Ashburn with her son and husband who is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air National Guard. In addition to her advocacy with the Little Lobbyists, Watkins is a Partner in Policymaking at the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities and a member of the Virginia Latino Advisory Board.

Photos of Watkins and her son Aire can be found here.

Photos of Wexton and Aire can be found here.