As chairman of the House Economic Development and Regional Affairs subcommittee, Rep. Herb Harris (D-Va.) has called for oversight hearings on the natural gas shortage and its effect on the Washington metropolitan area.

Harris, who represents the Eighth District, said the subcommittee will examine how the entire region can deal with the energy crisis collectively. He also plans to investigate why the major utility companies have "enjoyed record profits at a time when tremendous hardship is being imposed on the people of our region.

"Our subcommittee will examine these utility companies to determine whether they have benefited excessively at the expense of the people of the metropolitan region during the energy crisis," Harris said.

In addition to his monthly Town Meetings, Harris has initiated "listening sessions" in his district. In these sessions a constituent will invite several neighbors to his or her house to discuss major concerns with Harris. So far, Harris has attended two listening sessions and hopes the concept will mushroom during House recesses.

Harris will hold a Fairfax Town Meeting, Sunday, March 6, at 7 p.m. The meeting will be at the Kings Park Public Library, 9000 Burke Lake Rd., Springfield.

During the winter chestnut season, Sen. William Scott (R-Va.) is a welcome figure around the Senate. Scott gathers bags full of chestnuts from his backyard trees at his Fairfax home and distributes them to staffers as well as other senators and chestnut fans.

Herb Harris has joined the ranks of nonsmokers. After years of smoking, the congressman decided it was time to quit and is approaching a third week of abstension. With an office full of smokers, however, task becomes increasingly difficult.