Del. Joe Morrissey always says he's a fighter for his constituents.
But now he's facing a new roadblock: no committee assignments in the General Assembly. And the special prosecutor in his case, Bill Neely, confirmed Thursday night that retired Judge Alfred Swersky from northern Virginia has been appointed to a separate investigation involving the delegate. That investigation involves alleged forged documents filed when Morrissey was sentenced. But as of right now there have been no charges.
Morrissey is in a corner, literally and figuratively. "No single delegate can ever create law, can ever change law, can never effect policy in isolation," said Dr. Deirdre Condit, chair of VCU's Department of Political Science. "It is a coalition process. He's really stuck in a position of wandering around."
Morrissey has already filed 11 bills, but he won't be able to influence any of them. All he can do is vote if it gets to the House floor. But Morrissey, who is reporting to jail every night, says most of his work will be helping the people he represents. "Ninety percent of a delegate's work is serving his constituents, and I do that and I work really hard at doing that," Morrissey told reporters on the first day of the General Assembly.
It's why his supporters say they voted for him. Condit says Morrissey has a reputation for helping his constituents but, "Problem is, he has to then work with other people like the governor's office, like the speaker of the House in order to get constituents' problems solved," she said.
Condit says constituents need to pay attention this session. "They need to watch and see, can he be productive as a legislator over the next eight weeks," she said. "Can he get any legislation moved? Can he get anyone to listen to him?"
House leaders say they are continuing to discuss if further action will be taken against the delegate.
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