Friday, January 15, 2010

First Week in Richmond

It was an interesting first week in Richmond. I started the first day (Wednesday) by running over the Clerk's Desk in the House Chamber to file my 17 bills before the filing deadline. You can view them here, and I'll have more information on my website soon.

I had some family come into town. My uncles, parents, cousins, and a few other friends were in the Chamber along with my wife and kids who got to be on the floor for the swearing in. After my kids played with my voting station and finished fighting over my chair we got started, took the oath, and I became official.

It was a very humbling experience for me on a number of levels. First, being the grandson of a pair of Brooklyn jews who were not exactly welcome to Virginia when they first arrived. Second, I am also the grandson of a long line of Virginia farmers who struggled to make a living from Virginia's red clay with limited education and opportunities. My grandmother once told me that her father would never believe he had a lawyer in the family. A legislator would have really been a impossible to imagine accomplishment for my family.

After the swearing in, we were given our committee assignments. I was placed on the Cities, Counties, and Towns Committee and the Science and Technology Committee. The CC&T Committee will put me in a good position to help work towards giving Fairfax County the tools it needs to function more efficiently and the Science and Technology Committee will help me work to bring jobs to Mount Vernon by working with Northern Virginia's Technology Section that is our job engine.

On Wednesday night, Governor Kaine gave a great State of the Commonwealth Address reviewing his terms as Governor. Afterwards, there was a reception for all legislators and cabinet at the Governor's Mansion. It brought back memories from when I was a Governor's Fellow in 1993.

On Thursday, the parade of lobbyists, special interest groups, and concerned citizens started coming by the office. I met with church groups, concerned state and local officials, a few lobbyists, and some other delegates. One of my cousins, a fraternity brother, and some other friends stopped by to lobby on banking issues. My law school roommates brother came for the physical therapists. It was great to see old friends.

Some questions have also started to filter in about my legislation. If you have any questions or feedback, you can provide it here. A link to this will be on my website shortly.

One of the real eye openers was the extent of partisanship that exists down here. Several of my colleagues were removed from long-term prestigious committee assignments. This was presumably due to their involvement in our Caucus Leadership for candidate recruitment and fundraising. There were also several members moved off the the Privilege and Elections Committee who have supported bipartisan campaign redistricting.

Apparently, Friday everyone works to get out of town as soon as possible and the Republicans are busy doing the Inaugural Pre-Parties so us Democrats have lots of time to get some work done. It is going to be a contentious but be fun and rewarding session.

1 comment:

  1. Might I suggest that statements such as those in your last paragraph add to the rampant partisanship?

    A bipartisan representative would be willing to work with the incoming administration, would celebrate a fresh start, and would not imply that only Republicans are pleased to inaugurate a new Governor. The composition of the house and senate did not change; working together will gt us a lot farther than worrying about parties.

    Remember, you were elected as the MT VERNON delegate, not the Democrat.