If you talk to someone who is a politician, works with politicians, enjoys talking politics or understands politics, they will tell you that at the end of the day, “All politics are local!”
This year, as the General Assembly convenes, this statement could not be closer to the absolute truth.
So what is different this year with the General Assembly? For one, the House of Delegates has changed from 66 Republicans and 34 Democrats, to 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats. If it weren’t for the fortune of picking the right name out of a bowl, we would be at a 50/50 tie. But that is history.
The change in the make-up of the House has certainly changed the conversation and the tone of the conversation. This should be an opportunity for Democrats and Republicans to negotiate some issues that may have been off the table in the past or simply died in committee.
So will the winds of change, which certainly occurred on Election Day in November, bring about change? A great deal of that will depends on the behavior and leadership of two powerful men: Democratic Governor Ralph Northam and the new House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox, the Republican from Colonial Heights.
In politics, personal relationships and leadership are very important. It doesn’t mean that you have to love having dinner with each other, but you make it a goal to find some big and small legislative issues that have bi-partisan appeal.
The last election was once again the voice of the people saying to both sides, it’s time to serve all of the people. Let’s just see if our leaders will lead.