As the Virginia state legislature opened for business this week, Northern Virginia legislators scored more than half the standing committee chair positions – as well as providing the Senate Majority Leader, Speaker of the House, and House Majority Leader.
Senators and delegates from our region will hold 14 of the 25 committee chairs, covering topic such as agriculture, commerce, transportation, health and police.
NoVa sends the largest delegation of lawmakers to Richmond – approximately 30, depending on how the region is defined — so it is not surprising that it looms large in legislative leadership. And almost all of them are Democrats, accounting for around 40% of the 76 Democratic seats in the 140-seat General Assembly.
With the return to majority control in the November elections, Democrats now hold 21 of the 40 Senate seats and 55 members in the 100-person House of Delegates.
The dominance of our region is shown not only in numbers but in seniority, as local Democrats now fill the positions of Senate Majority Leader (Dick Saslaw, dist. 35), Speaker of the House (Eileen Filler-Corn, dist. 41) and House Majority Leader (Charniele Herring, dist. 46).
With local leaders at the head of the legislature, issues that particularly resonate in NoVa like gun control, transportation, the environment and the justice system should receive focused attention in Richmond during the current session, which began on Jan. 8 and will run 60 days until Mar. 7.
Committee chairs from Northern Virginia are:
Agriculture, Conservation & Natural Resources: Chap Petersen (dist. 34)
Commerce & Labor: Dick Saslaw (dist. 35)
Finance & Appropriations : Janet Howell (dist. 32)
General Law & Technology : George Barker (dist. 39)
Rehabilitation & Social Services: Barbara Favola (dist. 31)
Transportation: Dave Marsden (dist. 37)
House of Delegates
Agriculture, Chesapeake & Natural Resources: Ken Plum (dist. 36)
Counties, Cities, & Towns: Kaye Kory (dist. 38)
Courts of Justice: Charniele Herring (dist. 46)
Finance: Vivian Watts (dist. 39)
General Laws : David Bulova (dist. 37)
Health, Welfare, & Institutions: Mark Sickles (dist. 43)
Militia, Police & Public Safety: Patrick Hope( dist. 47)
Rules: Eileen Filler-Corn (dist. 41)
Photo: Del. Eileen Filler-Corn and Sen. George Barker are among the northern Virginia legislators with leadership positions in the new session which opened this week in Richmond
Reporting and photo by Susan Laume
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