The October 15, 2020 Luncheon Speaker Will Be Benny Zhang,
retired Councilman for City of Williamsburg.


Benming "Benny" Zhang was elected to the Williamsburg City Council on May 3, 2016. He was sworn-in on July 1, 2016.  Benny has been an active member of the Williamsburg community since entering the College as a Sharpe Community Scholar in the fall of 2012.

He is a proud resident and homeowner on Burns Lane. He has been involved in various initiatives to better the lives for all residents of Williamsburg.

In 2013, Mayor Clyde Haulman appointed Benny to the Public Housing Advisory Committee (PHAC) for a four year term. Benny’s role with the PHAC requires him to advise the Williamsburg Redevelopment and Public Housing Commissioners on relevant HUD and Virginia Housing Development Authority guidelines. As a citizen advocate, he is responsible for addressing various public housing resident issues and grievances. Benny is currently a member of the Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance, and sits on the Government Affairs Committee. Benny is also a member of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation Revolutionary Society, a group dedicated to attracting young professionals to become more involved with the historical Jamestown area and its wellbeing.

His passion for community service began in high school. As a student at Choate Rosemary Hall, Benny founded a program that formed relationships with schools in Cayambe, Ecuador. The program sent high school students to partner with the community to help renovate their schools. Benny entered William & Mary as a Sharpe Community Scholar, focusing on opportunity gaps in United States education. During his freshman year, Benny worked with a fellow Sharpe scholar to start a tutoring program at the local juvenile detention center, now known as Merrimac Mentors, an initiative that later turned into a full-fledged group mentoring program that serves the whole center.

Benny is also involved with the Asian American Students Initiative. As a self-designed Asian-American Studies major, he wrote his senior honors thesis on Arthur Matsu, the first Asian-American to graduate from the College. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from Marshall-Wythe School of Law (William & Mary Law School) in May 2020 and is anticipated to start as an Associate with Kaufman & Canoles in the fall.
Benny is the oldest son to Dr. Han Zhang and Ms. Jinlan Liu. He and his wife, Kelsey, reside in the Burns Lane neighborhood. Benny worships at Bruton Parish Church, where he was baptized and confirmed. 
Benny previously served on the following boards and commissions:

  • 2019 Commemoration First Representative Legislative Assembly Committee (2016-2019)
  • Virginia Municipal League Legislative Committee (2017-2018; Vice Chair, 2019)
  • Virginia Municipal League Annual Conference Planning Committee (2017)
  • Governor-elect Ralph Northam's Transition Policy Council on Local Government (2017)
  • Participant, Dancing with the Williamsburg Stars; first place for most fundraising ($20,000) & tied second place for best dance routine
  • Greater Peninsula Workforce Development Consortium (Council Liaison) (2016-2018)
  • Public Housing Advisory Committee (2012-2019)

The September 17, 2020 Luncheon Speakers were,
Dot Mathews, Steve Mains, and Chris Woodfin.

CARMA Luncheon Speaker Notes - 09/17/2020

Due to storm related concerns at his home in Virginia, Jarome Bell was unable to attend the luncheon. Three speakers were summoned to provide status and updates for their respective campaign responsibilities:

Dot Mathews, Chairperson of WJCCRC began by explaining the urgent need for poll workers. Both inside and outside persons are needed on election day, and they are requested to sign up using the app. (The link is located top left of the Articles page of this website, or on the WJCCRC website.) It is desired to have an even number of workers for each party at the polling sites. She also mentioned that the RPV seems highly energized and that the RPV Chairman Richard Anderson is already working hard to help find and fund campaigns.

Steve Mains - Steve is responsible for the implementation of the new WJCCRC Facebook page which has over 1,000 likes and followers. This is giving the committee the opportunity to get the word out to all the folks who use the Facebook app. If you haven't already "Liked" the page, please do so.

Chris Woodfin - Is an attorney, and the treasurer for the Daniel Gade Senate Campaign. He spoke of many aspects of the campaign, citing many numbers and strategies being utilized. (The specifics will not be written here for obvious reasons!) His concerns were similar to those we have heard regarding voter fraud involving absentee voting and mail in ballots. An active conversation followed with many questions about Daniel Gade's campaign, and campaigns in general in Virginia.


CARMA Luncheon 8/20/20 Speaker Notes:

Dot Matthews - Chairperson WJCCRC

            1. Cheers to Terry Ricks who is really helping out with WJCCRC workload.
            2. She knows Richard Anderson who was elected the RPV Chairman.
            3. For next meeting at Greenwood Christian Academy masks are required and meeting will be at 7:30 to
allow cleaning from prior use. Temps will be taken at door.
            4. There is a Trump support regatta this Saturday, 8/22 on the Chickahominy.
            5. Thanks to all for supporting the Just Right Party, over $4800 raised.

Mike Watson - Former Delegate & Business Council Member

            1. Discusses the state of economy, as VA in 2019 wasrated best for business
            2. Dept. of Defense funds about 42% of Hampton Roads economy
            3. North Carolina business tax 2.5%, and VA is 6%
            4. Business license in VA costs $1,000s, in North Carolina was eliminated
            5. Machine and tool tax in VA, always calculated at the purchase price and
                        is never a depreciated value.
            6. In 2015, VA enacts education trades funding of 12.5 million, NC at 92 million
            7. Biotech firms in VA = 63, NC has 228
            8. NIH Research grants in 2019 - 3,840 for 1.9B in NC, 1,000+ for 527M in VA
            9. Summary, the best for business rating is very suspect.
            10. Business development Caucus watched 5 bills
                        a. SB7 - minimum wage bill - goes to $15 over next few years
                        b. SB868 - gender identity bill - 58 genders identified. Are you identified?
                        c. Publicly funded wage level - causes contracts to have inflated salary costs
                        d. HB1586 - shut down all coal plants
                        e. SB182 - project labor agreement - forcing union labor on public projects.
                        f. Del. Guzman -> His bill mandates 1 hour time off for every 30 hours worked.
                        g. Trying to eliminate right to work act
                        h. Equal pay for equal work removes ability to reward high performers
                        I. Suggested review of the “B” Hurd Act. (Not sure of spelling!)
            11. The legislature just voted themselves a $212 per diem while they are in session. They are
currently working from home.  GOP said they will refuse the per diems.



The July 25th Luncheon Speaker was Amanda Batten - Delegate 96th District of Virginia


Amanda Batten

Amanda spoke to the July CARMA Members about the challenges of representing the district in the Virginia House of delegates that were predestined to pass a large number of liberal agenda bills, and to ignore any legislative attempts from the GOP. While successful witha few items, it was a difficult session with the Dems being out of control with a their governor waiting to sign the various bills affecting gun control and ownership, to voting laws.

An active member of the community, Amanda Batten currently works as legislative aide to Delegate Brenda Pogge, representative of District 96 in the Virginia House of Delegates. She was previously employed as a fundraising manager for the Medical Society of Virginia and as legislative aide to Virginia Senator Thomas K. Norment, Jr. Before moving to Williamsburg and working in politics, Amanda homeschooled her son and consulted for a marketing firm.

Amanda resides in Toano with her husband, Rick, and son, Troy. She is currently a board member of the Virginia Symphony Society, and she previously served on the board of the Thomas Nelson Community College Educational Foundation and the Providence Classical School Board. A graduate of Ashford University, Amanda has also completed the University of Virginia’s Sorensen Political Leaders Program and the Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance’s LEAD Historic Triangle program.

For over ten years, Amanda has volunteered for Republican candidates and principles in James City County and York County. She completed three terms as chairman of the James City County Republican Committee, and she currently serves as First Vice President of the Jamestown Heritage Republican Women’s Club. She is also the Eastern Vice Chairwoman of the State Central Committee of the Republican Party of Virginia.

Republican Amanda Batten took leadership of the 96th District House of Delegates seat after a close vote in a longtime stronghold of the party. She succeeds Republican Brenda Pogge, who held the position for 11 years and retired.