2005 Virginia Legislative Preview
Where They Meet: The assembly meets in Richmond in the historic Capitol designed by Thomas Jefferson and Charles-Louis Clerisseau and modeled on a Roman temple in France. Construction began in 1785. Visitors to Capitol Square will notice that the buildings and grounds are undergoing an extensive renovation.
Balance of Power: The governor, Mark R. Warner, is a Democrat. Republicans control both legislative chambers. In the House, there are 60 Republicans, 38 Democrats and two independents. The Senate has 24 Republicans and 16 Democrats.
Aftermath: The governor and legislative leaders don't want a repeat of the long, raucous 2004 debate over taxes and spending, though many Republican delegates would love to roll back last year's tax increases.
Elections: On Nov. 8, the offices of governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, as well as all 100 seats in the House, will be on the ballot. Look for plenty of campaign politics beginning with the legislative session and continuing through the June 14 primaries.
Transportation: Improving the road and transit network is a top issue for legislators from Northern Virginia. The governor and the House speaker have announced improvement plans that tap the unexpectedly large amount of tax money the state is collecting.
Death Penalty: Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore, the likely Republican candidate for governor, has proposed the Death Penalty Enhancement Act to expand the ability of prosecutors to seek the death penalty.
Social Concerns: Watch for a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages. There also will be proposals to tighten rules on abortions.
Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) presides over the Senate. He's likely to be the Democratic candidate for governor. Del. William J. Howell (R-Stafford) is House speaker.
Gov. Warner: He rolled the dice last year and won big on his plan to raise taxes in support of more spending on state services. Don't look for anything so bold in 2005.
Speaker Howell: Last year, he lost control of enough GOP delegates to allow passage of the tax increases. Watch for signs that he is punishing some of those who split with him in 2004.
The Mavericks: Will the GOP delegates who broke with the leadership last year return to the fold?
Sen. John H. Chichester: The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee played a crucial role in passage of the 2004 tax and spending plan. Like Warner, he plans no such major push for this session.
Northern Virginia Senators
Bill Bolling (R-Hanover); John H. Chichester (R-Stafford); Charles J. Colgan (D-Prince William); Ken Cuccinelli (R-Fairfax); Jeannemarie Devolites Davis (R-Fairfax); R. Edward Houck (D-Spotsylvania); Janet D. Howell (D-Fairfax); William C. Mims (R-Loudoun); James K. "Jay" O'Brien Jr. (R-Fairfax); H. Russell Potts Jr. (R-Winchester); Linda T. "Toddy" Puller (D-Fairfax); Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax); Patricia S. Ticer (D-Alexandria); Mary Margaret Whipple (D-Arlington).
Northern Virginia Delegates
David B. Albo (R-Fairfax); Kristen J. Amundson (D-Fairfax); C.L. "Clay" Athey Jr. (R-Warren); Richard H. Black (R-Loudoun); Robert H. Brink (D-Arlington); Vincent F. Callahan Jr. (R-Fairfax); Mark L. Cole (R-Fredericksburg); James H. Dillard II (R-Fairfax); Adam P. Ebbin (D-Alexandria); Albert C. Eisenberg (D-Arlington); Jeff M. Frederick (R-Prince William); William J. Howell (R-Stafford); Timothy D. Hugo (R-Fairfax); Robert D. Hull (D-Fairfax); L. Scott Lingamfelter (R-Prince William); Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William); Joe T. May (R-Loudoun); Ryan T. McDougle (R-Hanover); Michele B. McQuigg (R-Prince William); Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria); Robert D. "Bobby" Orrock Sr. (R-Spotsylvania); Harry J. Parrish (R-Manassas); J. Chapman Petersen (D-Fairfax); Kenneth R. Plum (D-Fairfax); Gary A. Reese (R-Fairfax); Thomas Davis Rust (R-Fairfax); James M. Scott (D-Fairfax); Stephen C. Shannon (D-Fairfax); Mark D. Sickles (D-Fairfax); Marian Van Landingham (D-Alexandria); Vivian E. Watts (D-Fairfax).
-- Robert Thomson