Their occupations range from mayot to ice company president. Their ages, from 39 to 61. Their politicalphilosophy, from moderate Democrat to conservative Republican.
They are the eight freshman members of Northern Virginia's delegation to the state House of Delegates. They comprise more than one-third of the area's 21 seats in the House. And they each have been elected to serve one-year terms, the shortest in recent General Assembly history.
One of their biggest jobs in the General Assembly will be drawing the boundaries that could determine whether they are elected to a second term next November. Delegates normally are elected to two-year terms, but a federal court tossed out the plan under which the delegates were elected this year, and ordered lawmakers to draft another version.
The new faces in the delegation include five Republicans and three Democrats.
Despite the diverse backgrounds of the candidates, their legislative proposals for the General Assembly session beginning in January run virtually parallel. For most of the new lawmakers, highway improvements for the booming Northern Virginia suburbs will be at the top of the legislative list.
The freshmen delegates and their legislative plans are:
Robert T. Andrews, who has turned his attention to state politics after a 32-year stint in the federal government. Andrews, a 61-year-old Republican, was elected from the 49th District in Northwest Fairfax County.
A resident of McLean, Andrews served as a lawyer for the Justice and Defense departments and the White House from 1948-1980. He is now retired from the federal government.
Andrews said one of his top priorities in the General Assembly will be to help forge greater cooperation among Northern Virginia's 21 delegates. Although, as a block, the delegation controls one-fifth of the votes in the House, its members are frequently splintered.
The freshman lawmaker said he also will advocate establishing a separate highway district for Northern Virginia.
"This will permit a focus on the urban problems of the metro area as distinct from the rural areas of the state," Andrews said.
Gwendalyn (Gwen) F. Cody, 59, an Annandale Republican, is another political newcomer from the 49th District. She has worked at a string of jobs ranging from U. S. Army historian to cryptographer.
Cody is cochairwoman of Virginians for Initiative and Referendum, a lobbying group.
Cody said one of her legislative goals is to give local voters a greater voice in government by giving them the right to put issues to a referendum by collecting citizen petitions, a process now not allowed in Virginia. But she said she fears most issues in this year's session will be overshadowed by the redistricting controversies.
"I would like to be laying the groundwork for some of my ideas," said Cody. "Instead, I'm told to think about what district you may or may not be in next year. This is a lame duck session before we even get started."
* Frank Medico, 57, will take over one of the seats in southeastern Fairfax County's 52nd District. A Republican, Medico is a certified public accountant and former assistant director for the U. S. General Accounting Office.
Medico said he will take his budget and management experience to the legislature to "weed out any waste, duplication and inefficiency" in state government.
One priority, said Medico, will be to "put a lid on runaway property tax assessments." He noted that in the past decade, per capita property taxes in Virginia increased 170 percent, outgrowing incomes by 7 percent.
* Harry J. Parrish, 59, of Manassas, claimed one of three victories for a seat in the 23rd District, which covers Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park. Parrish, a retired Air Force colonel, is president of an ice and fuel corporation.
Parrish said he will work to "be sure citizens are not hurt too much by reductions in federal money handled through block grants to the state."
Parrish said he will particularly monitor programs for the elderly, including possible reductions in Medicare.
Highway improvements and funding formula changes, a common thread in many of the freshmen's plans, will also receive a high priority on Parrish's legislative agenda, he said.
* Kenneth R. Plum, 39, bounced back into office this year after losing his House seat two years ago. The Democrat from the 50th District in Southwestern Fairfax County is director of adult education for Fairfax County Public Schools. He previously served in the House from 1978 to 1979, then was defeated for reelection.
"Money is going to have to be set aside for transit planning," said Plum. "And quite frankly, that will mean dipping into general funds."
Plum said he will push for the "absolute completion of the Metro system, making sure state money continues to flow."
He said he also will seek state funds to expand bus service in western Fairfax County.
* Kenneth B. Rollins, 45, won the single seat representing Loudoun County's 17th District. Rollins is a political veteran returning to the House of Delegates. He served as mayor of Leesburg for 10 years until 1973, when he ran successfully for the House of Delegates. He served two terms in the House, lost a bid for reelection and then regained the mayorship of Leesburg, which he has held since 1978.
Rollins sums up his top priority for legislative action in one word: roads.
"There's no question that's the most important issue in my district," said Rollins. "I will try to get the state funding formula changed so that more highway funds will be given to urban areas. Loudoun County has not gotten its fair share."
* Marian Van Landingham, a 44-year-old Democrat, will represent one of the two seats in Alexandria's 21st District. She owns Van Landingham Enterprises, established the Torpedo Factory Art Center and is president of its artists' association.
Van Landingham said she expects to spend most of the session wrestling with budget changes in the wake of federal cutbacks.
"Unless there are changes in the formulas by which state funds are distributed," said Van Landingham, "Northern Virginia will be particularly hard-hit. I will fight very hard for Alexandria's fair share of state revenues."
She predicted the state will be forced to increase its budget to maintain some of the programs cut by the federal government.
* Vivian E. Watts, 41, won her political debut for an elected office in Southwestern Fairfax County's 51st District after years of close association with government work. A Democrat, she has served as a Congressional legislative assistant and an appropriations aide in the General Assembly.
Watts, an Annandale resident, also is a former president of the Fairfax League of Women Voters.
Watts said she will push for more equitable funding of education and highway expansion in Northern Virginia.
"Fairfax receives only 7 percent of state secondary road funds despite having 22 percent of the vehicle miles traveled," said Watts. "This gross inequity has led directly to the chaos created by the inappropriate design aspects of the Springfield Bypass."
Watts said her legislative package also would include support for Metrorail expansion and environmental safeguards for the Occoquan River.