Passing of Owen Pickett

Yesterday, a major figure in Virginia politics and history passed. Here’s the story .

I met Congressman Owen Pickett in the fall of 2004, when I was visiting Virginia Beach prior to my statewide run. Four years after he resigned from Congress, he was still the man to meet in the Beach.

Congressman Pickett was still actively practicing law but took thirty minutes out of his day to talk to a young state Delegate with big ambitions. We met often after that and he always remembered our first meeting — and followed up with additional advice.

The Congressman, who also served 14 years in the House of Delegates, was a little bit before my time. When I was elected as a Delegate, he had just left politics. However, I knew him by reputation as a highly-regarded Blue Dog Democrat with a laser focus on his region and its needs, especially militarily. I’m sure he will be greatly missed.

An interesting side note which I recollected today …

When I “started” in politics in spring 1992 — as a volunteer for Bill Clinton — Virginia had the following Congressmen:

1st Herb Bateman (R)
2nd Owen Pickett (D)
3rd Tom Bliley (R)
4th Gerald Sisisky (D)
5th L.F. Payne (D)
6th Jim Olin (D)
7th George Allen (R)
8th Jim Moran (D)
9th Rick Boucher (D)
10th Frank Wolf (R)

Six Democrats, four Repubs. All white males at that time. (In 1992, the Dems lost the Sixth to Goodlatte but picked up Leslie Byrne in the new 11th. They also welcomed Bobby Scott in the 3rd. So the ratio was 7-4 Democratic).

The Democrats held the House of Delegates (59-41) and State Senate (21-19). All three statewide officials were Democrats.
Those were pretty much the salad days.

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