Getting It Together (in Staunton)

This past weekend we had the first meeting in Staunton of the new Democratic majority for the Virginia State Senate (sounds good, doesn’t it?).  The meeting came on the heels of our Finance Committee briefing in Blacksburg last Thursday and Friday on our state finances (more on that later). 

The very first thing that struck me was the diversity of our Democratic Caucus.  Of our twenty-one members, we have seven women and five minorities. 

More importantly, we represent districts from Big Stone Gap in the Appalachians (Phil Puckett) to the island of Chincoteague off the Eastern Shore (Ralph Northam).  That’s a spread of about 400 miles.  Ideologically, we have a good spread also from rural conservatives to urban liberals and everywhere in between. 

Our backgrounds are impressive in their variety.  We have a former shipwelder (Louise Lucas), a television news anchor (John Miller), a former school teacher (Yvonne Miller), a pediatric neurologist (“Doc” Northam), the owner of a regional airline (Chuck Colgan), a gas station owner (Dick Saslaw) and many more. 

To the shock and dismay of the media, we get along quite well.  We’ve all come a long way to participate in this process and we will be working together.

When we roll out our agenda in the next few weeks, it may be different than many people suspect.  But we will be united behind it and I hope our policies will unify the people of this state.

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