Education has always been one of Del. Van Landingham's priorities. She has been chair of the Public Education Subcommittee of Appropriations on which she has served since 1985. She was on the House Education Committee from 1982-2000.
Her legislative initiatives include the establishment of a formula to help fund English as a Second Language Programs for students for whom English is not the native language, and the Omnibus Education Act of 1995. The latter reduced class sizes in K-3rd grade, increased support for program for at-risk students, and dedicated lottery funds to education.
Budget language submitted by Del. Van Landingham in the 2000 Session mandated a study by the Joint Legislative Review Commission of the criteria used by the state to
set the Standards of Quality that guide state funding of public education. The report issued in November, 2001, challenges the state to greatly increase support of K-12.
Del. Van Landingham is also a strong supporter of Higher
Education and served for several years on the Higher Education Subcommittee of Appropriations. While a member of the Education Committee, she chaired its Higher Education Subcommittee. She was influential in the establishment of Virginia Tech's Alexandria Research Center, a graduate education center for cutting-edge engineering research.
Transportation has also been a major interest because of its impact on Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax County. She was chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation for 7 years and also served 5 years on the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission and the regional Transportation Coordinating Council, and three years on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Study (which she has described as an extremely frustrating experience for a representative of Alexandria). "It is my belief that we must begin coordinating land use development with transportation systems--particularly mass transit--if we are to begin to meet transportation needs," she says.
Through her long service on the Health/Human Service Subcommittees of Appropriations, and her work on related study committees and the Disability Commission, Del. Van Landingham is very knowledgeable about the programs that serve some of our most vulnerable citizens. She has been especially concerned about the lack of adequate funding for mental health, mental retardation, substance abuse, and needs of the aging, the physically and sensory handicapped, the homeless, and child care for poor working mothers. Del. Van Landingham has sponsored numerous budget amendments over the years to increase dollars in these areas. "We never have the money to begin to meet documented needs, however," she explains. "Budget deliberations are very difficult and our subcommittee works hard to do the best we can for Virginians with special problems."
Her HB873 passed in 2004 requiring urban localities to develop plans for emergency early warning systems to notiy citizens of natural or terrorist disasters.
In her legislative career, Del. Van Landingham has been chief sponsor of 183 bills and resolutions and 161 amendments covering a wide range of subjects.