Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2014 Virginia General Assembly Session: Get Ready, Get Set, Go!

January 7th 2014 Election Winner:

New Delegate 11th District - Samuel Rasoul  (D)

Original Post:
As most readers know over the last 2 months I have been preparing for the 2014 Virginia General Assembly session to begin on January 8, 2014. 

Already there have been many posts, early action-items and pages created in it’s anticipation. 

This will be my 6th session as a volunteer advocate. 

Today (the day before session convenes) I made my bi-annual trip (a session after a November election) to the G.A. building to “pop-in” to the offices of the newly elected Delegates and hopefully get to meet them and if not, then speak to their Legislative Assistant for a few minutes, leave a brochure and a card and let them know I’ll be scheduling an appointment for a meeting in the next few weeks. 

I also stopped by some veteran Delegate and Senator offices to discuss any bills that have already posted that they are patroning that I have questions or concerns about but many of them were not yet in Richmond. My main goal of today’s trip was to leave brochures across the 6 floors of Representatives offices and to meet the new Delegates as I will be in the building too many times to guess over the next 5-8 weeks. 

There are 14 newly elected Delegates this year, they are:
Michael Futrell           (D)                               Marcus Simon          (D)        
A. Benton Chafin Jr. (R)                                H.F. Buddy Fowler  (R)     
Jeffrey Campbell       (R)                                Les Adams                 (R)        
J.A. Jay Leftwich       (R)                                Terry Austin              (R)               
Bill DeSteph Jr.         (R)                                Mark Berg                  (R)               
Glenn Davis Jr.          (R)                                Dave LaRock             (R)             
Scott Taylor                (R)                                T. Monty Mason       (D)

Of these 14:
  • 4 were not in their offices this morning, they were either arriving in Richmond later in the afternoon or tomorrow.
  • I sat down for more than 10 minutes with 4 of the Delegates,
  • I spoke while standing for 4-5 minutes with 1 of them
  • 1 new Delegate I stopped in the hallway (with his coat on to go outside ) was disappointed he would miss my pop-in so I advised him I’d schedule an appointment in the near future and he agreed.
  • I spoke for 3-4 minutes to 2 Legislative Assistants
  • I spoke for 2 minutes to 2 other Legislative Assistants 
Every single one of them immediately recognized my name from the many email’s I have sent them since they became candidates in August and elected Representatives in November which meant they know about this platform and blog. 

To be an effective advocate the policymakers must know your name, your platform and your face. If they’ve never met you one-on-one they then they will be disconnected from anything you say. Email and phone calls are good but personal contact is the best. If they only see you once and never again at committee hearings or in the hallway coming or going from appointments they don’t consider you relevant advocate and hope you’re just a flash in the pan.  

Many of the veteran representatives have told me previously, we thought you’d give up, we can’t believe you’re still here. 

Persistence is important in this platform, I don’t expect miracles, big changes or immediate results and I hope you all understand that holding back the tide of new and harsher laws is the most important goal I have and in the last 5 sessions we’ve had many successes in that area. 

Virginia General Assembly, you can track bills on-line, you can check daily schedules for House and Senate sub-committee (the only time citizens can speak “for” or “against” a bill) and full-committee hearings you can also watch House and Senate floor debates on the bills that have passed through committee and on to the 3 votes it takes to move to the second chamber.

Get ready, get set and go…….at noon tomorrow the 2014 session begins. 

Stay tuned! 

Mary Davye Devoy  

Citizens Guide to the Virginia General Assembly, January 8, 2014

Virginia Public Access Project: Guide to the Virginia General Assembly, January 7, 2014

Here is the 2014 Handout: