the end, Senator Charles Hawkins, of
said it best: “You
don’t have to redo civilization every time we come
down to Richmond.”
Register and Bee).
biggest news out of the 2005 session of the Virginia
General Assembly, which concluded Sunday?
It’s what didn’t happen.
But first let’s look at what did.
colleges and universities:
so-called "charter" initiative, first
sought by the state’s "Big Three"
(W&M, Tech, UVA) morphed into a
wide-ranging, complicated blueprint for more
autonomy as the session worn on.
There is going to be some down-side to
Tuitions are going up, but everybody said
it would have happened anyway.
Governor Mark Warner.
How come this lame duck’s not limping?
Warner’s stock, here and nationally,
rose through the session start to finish, and is
still going. What’s
the best indicator?
Everybody running for governor, Democrat
and Republican, is trying hard to wrap
themselves in his performance.
Warner had such a huge year last session,
I honestly thought the only thing he could do
this time was stumble.
But I was wrong.
This guy’s clearing the high hurdles
with the ease and grace of a gazelle.
Virginia Senate, that chamber where the adults
are in charge: They
killed that stupid (yes, authored by a Democrat)
“drawers” bill and a barge load of myopic
social legislation sponsored by the glassy-eyed
bunch (read that "right wing") in the
House of Delegates—same crowd that preaches
smaller government, but would put the government
in your bowl of cornflakes if they could just
figure out how to do it.
They’ve got their best brains working
Speaker of the House won this time. Hey, everything is relative.
When you’ve had his record going in, it
doesn’t take much to look good. Howell set up a store-front "think
tank" on one of the side streets in Richmond
after last year’s session.
Might be paying off. The House-driven package of Chesapeake
clean-up proposals was a huge win for Howell and
the Republican- dominated House. The positioning on the car tax
elimination was just that, positioning, but it
makes for good politics going into November.
Republican Party of
The ’Pubs, as some of us affectionately
call them, managed to get out of the session
with three candidates for governor. Kilgore, of course, is the presumptive.
Then there’s George Fitch, the mayor of
Warrenton (think Jerry Brown,
and my buddy Russ Potts, the senator from
So, what’s the biggest news?
What didn’t happen?
The House of Delegates didn’t wreck the
state. Why is
what they think, what they say, they’re not
a boat. Bill Howell’s behind the wheel, steering
like crazy, happy as a clam, his House members piled
in with him. The
thing is, that boat’s on a trailer, being pulled
by a staid, old-fashioned station-wagon.
John Chichester’s at the wheel of that
February 28, 2005