I GET UP EARLY to make a committee meeting in Richmond. Usually I like to be rested, but Sunday night, my wife, Suzie, and I were to man a hospitality booth at the Kennedy Center Inaugural Gala. While the $250-a-plate diners were eating by candlelight, we ate sandwiches from the Shirlington Deli. Suzie and I wanted to do this so we could see the performances. Somehow, with identical passes, she got in and I didn't.
Arrive in Richmond around 9 a.m., and start to cath up with last week's mail.
Talk to my secretary at my office in Alexandria. She is remarkably unflappable, particularly when our cash flow is down to nothing and will stay that way until our next construction draw in about two weeks.
The House goes into session at noon. The news of the hostages' apparent release is before us, but the news of the death of William Robinson, delegate from Norfolk, is also. Robinson was a longtime member of the House. He was the first black to serve as a committee chairman, and I was just getting to know him last year when he became too ill to continue. We reconvene at 5 p.m., since this is the last dayh to introduce new legislation, only the fourth day of the session.
We have a northern Virginia caucus meeting, an Alexandria delegbation meeting and then a reception.
Return to my office to prepare for some bills in committee. Some friends invite me for dinner at a Chinese restaurant. The food is good, and we gossip about Virginia politics and politicians.
Back to the Holiday Inn lounge to watch the inaugural gala. I am surrrounded by Democrats, which isn't unusual in the General Assembly, but no one seems crushed about losing Carter. Tuesday
Set my alarm for 6, but don't get up until the telephone rings at 6:20. My construction superintendent is calling to review the day's work schedule. Weather is so critical right now. With construction financing two points over prime, a day without progress is a gloomy one. I wonder if anyone in Washington really understands how debilitating the current interest rates are?
Go to a Republican caucus meeting. We still don't need a big room, but it's bigger than before. I think a lot of Democrats are starting to look over their shoulders.
Have a committee meeting for a minor bill of mine, which would delete the requirement for the type of religious ceremony from the marriage certificate. The bill is referred to subcommittee.
Go into session at 12:30 we can watch the inauguration at noon.
After adjournment, several housing bills of mine ar to be heard before another committee. I wait while the bill carried over from last year on raising the legal driking age was debated. A compromise, relatively worthless, passes the Committee unanimously. My bills are all put in subcommittee.
Go back to the Holiday Inn, and hook up with some other legislators for a ride to the Food Dealers Association dinner.
The dinner is good -- no speeches -- and we have a ventriloquist-comedian to entertain us. Back to the hotel, and have a depressing talk with another freshman legislator, who has become a good friend and kindred spirit. He's verbalizing what all of us avoid -- that the demands of the legislature, family and work are inordinate, and that maybe he won't run again. I think few people realize how difficult it is, and I tend not to belabor it because it sounds like I'm sorry that I'm serving, and I'm not. I've never done anything as exciting and rewarding as this. Wednesday
My usual early morning call from my superintendent -- rain and snow predicted in Alexandria. I have a House Republican caucus meeting in which we discuss plans for responding to the judgeship problem. It's not a new problem, but it's obvious that the Constitution is going to continue to be subverted as long as the Democrats are in the majority. What happens is a unit rule process. The Democrats caucus meets behind closed doors on judicial appointments and debates the candidates. No matter what the split may be, when they come out, they vote as a unit on whomever won in caucus. The result is that it doesn't make any difference what the Republicans think or do.
I have two bills before the Privileges and Elections Committee, but they are so busy, the chairman asks me to wait until next week. One of my bills is a Virginia constitutional amendment on voter rights, identical to one my senator from Alexandria introduced, and was passed in the Senate. His bill could be acted on in the House, but I campaigned in 1979 that I would put his bill in, and I think I'd better.
I spend the rest of the afternoon on odds and ends, mostly working on support for a bill establishing financial liability for juvenile vandalism.
I listen to the debate in the Courts of Justice Committee on reforming the sexual assault laws. It comes out of committee (18-1), but much weaker than the original version which passed the Senate.
Work on getting some photos of te performance of an Alexandria black repertory group to the newspapers. Last week, on Martin Luther King's birthday, I arranged for this group to give a performance of some music and excerpts of King's speeches in the rotunda of the Capitol.
Go to a dinner for the association of all the private colleges in Virginia. David Reisman is the speaker -- defintely the highlight of the week. Thursday
Up at 6, because I want extra time to watch the morning news.
Have breakfast with the governor at the mansion, along with a few other Republican legislators. We talk about some good political issues coming up. Gov. Dalton is an interesting person. He usually gets a bad rap in the papers, particularly in northern Virginia, but he's a better chief executive than he'll probably ever get credit for. He and his wife have gone out of their way to make me feel welcome, and that means a lot more to me than currying political favor.
We have a joint House and Senate Education Committee meeing with the State Board of Education. We did this once last year, but we tend to talk at each other, which diminishes its value.
We go into session at 11 so we can adjourn early to get to the funeral of the delegate who died Sunday.
After the funeral, review the afternoon's mail, messages and problems. The biggest problem seems to be that a bill on industrial development authority bonds, which my city council asked me to introduce, was printed with the patrons incorrectly listed as the two delegates from Front Royal.
Drop in briefly at a local Republican women's club reception for legislators at the home of one of the movers and shakers in the state party. I stay long enough to say hello, and then come back to the Capitol to do a TV taping. It is one of those call-in shows, but with four delegates, the opportunity for any in-depth discussion is limited.
I have an 8 p.m. subcommittee hearing on my bill concerning marriage certificates. In the face of the pending bill, the staff from the Health Department indicated that the changes I wanted could be made administratively. That's fine -- why legislate if you don't have to? Friday
Up early and talk to my superintendent about our various jobs. He's progressing, but slower than expected, which slows down the construction draws, which slows down our cash flow. Help!
Meet with a group of constituents from the Mental Health Association. Besides the fact that I like these particular people and enjoy talking with them, it's great to be able to agree on issues that are important to them.
I meet with the coordinator of the Council of Churches on my bill that removes the bonding requirement for clergy to be able to conduct marriage ceremonies. Some black ministers approached me about this some time ago, and complained that the bonding requirements had their origin in the now-abolished antimiscengenation laws. There's some basis in fact for that complaint, but now it seems to be more of an excess regulation issue. I have an excellent meeting and talk about a wide range of church-state issues. It's really refreshing to find someone in Virginia connected with Christianity who doesn't think Jerry Falwell is the messiah.
Arrange with the governor's office to have a letter sent to my daughter, because I will not be home for her 10th birthday.
Go into session at noon. We should have been in longer than we actually are, but several controversial bills went "by for the day." Have a brief caucus meeting to discuss further plans for the judgeship problem. The rest of the afternoon, I write answers to constituent letters. I have a rule that every contact from constituents, even form letters, is answered.
Leave Richmond with my aide at 4 p.m. It's a two-hour drive home, which isn't bad, but it doesn't take more than two or three trips to be totally bored.
Got in at 6 to a relatively peaceful home-coming. Suzie and Jonathan were at karate, so only Elizabeth and Bo (the untrainable Labrador) are there to greet me. I need a little decompression when I arrive, which is tough for the kids to understand. I talk to Suzie at work and the kids at home every day, so we're not out of touch. Suzie and Elizabeth go to junior congregation at the Temple after dinner, so I finish up the dishes and spend some time with Jonathan, age 7.