Lawmakers promise to be there

Published 8:45 am Friday, January 6, 2012

Wednesday’s pre-legislative “Eggs and Issues” breakfast sponsored by the Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce was another opportunity for our community to meet with and hear their state legislators’ plans for the upcoming General Assembly session.

With an opportunity for attendees to submit questions to their delegates and senators, it is usually an informative event, and this was no exception.

An issue that has been making the rounds as of late, and one which was posed to the legislators in attendance, questions the quality of representation we can have in the General Assembly when no resident of Franklin or Southampton County has served in the legislature for years, and our community makes up such a small portion of each district’s electorate.

It is a fair question but, quite simply stated, with 100 seats comprising the House of Delegates and only 40 in the State Senate, only a fraction of Virginia localities has a hometown advocate working on their behalf at the state capitol.

Delegates Roslyn Tyler and Rick Morris and Sen. Harry Blevins gave credible responses to the question. They said they would do their best to be available to residents of Western Tidewater, to hear concerns and work on behalf of our requests.

Tyler has a proven record. Blevins is representing our district for the first time this year due to redistricting, but has a distinguished record of service to his district. And Morris, a freshman lawmaker, seems eager to serve constituents in this part of his district and has been at a number of local functions since winning office in November.

Sen. Louise Lucas, a frequent attendee of these legislative events in her 21st year in office, did not attend.

We are hopeful that all will do their best to represent the interests of Western Tidewater.

Yet the fact remains that we have no local resident representing our concerns at the highest levels of state government. It has been six years since the late Paul Council retired after three decades of service in the General Assembly.

It has also been that long since a local resident ran to fill his or any of our other seats at the legislative table. Perhaps the solution is as simple as this; let us not protest the outcome of the contest unless we are willing to come off the sideline and participate in the game.