Five state lawmakers gave 40 attendees of the Hampton Roads legislators’ night a glimpse of what it’s like in the General Assembly as they engaged in lively discussions with credit union representatives.
Attending the event were Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment and Sen. John Miller, as well as veteran Del. Mamye BaCote and freshmen Dels. Gordon Helsel and David Yancey. Topics ranged from the high cost of higher education to how to tackle the problem of funding road construction and maintenance in the Commonwealth. Sometimes a legislator from one party would respond to a question, to be followed by a legislator from the other party giving another side of the issue. League Board Member Stan Leicester of BayPort thanked the lawmakers for sharing their thoughtful comments at the event.
Before the Q & A, lawmakers made formal remarks. The theme from all of them was that despite party affiliation, they all worked together for the benefit of the region.
Del. Helsel: “The best part of being a delegate is attending events like this one and answering questions.” He added: “It’s an overwhelming experience to sit in the rooms of the Capitol where Thomas Jefferson sat.”
Del. Yancey: A rugby player, he noted that whether it’s opposing players in a scrum or lawmakers on the other side of the aisle, when the day is done both sides greet their opponents and go out for a beer afterwards.
He also praised credit unions because “you take a risk every day on people” by providing loans to your members. “I know so many people with loans from credit unions, he said. He also said that he is part of a new caucus in the General Assembly that focuses on new business development. Caucus members will travel around the state talking to people in business about their concerns.
Del. BaCote: She urged constituents to visit her with their ideas. “Please come to my office if you want to talk to me.”
Sen. Miller: He thanked credit unions for their efforts on financial literacy and offering payday loan alternatives.
He said his passion was education, and asked for support on his efforts to focus the third grade SOL on reading because that test is the best predictor of future success.
Sen. Norment: He acknowledged a lot of partisanship in the 2012 session, and hopes that next year both sides will overcome that. “It’s not the Virginia way,” he said. As to the delegation itself, “when it comes to promoting the best interests of the Hampton Roads area, we usually come together.” He described Virginia as “creeping out of the recession.”