Port City Politics

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Keeping tabs on the citys state delegation.

Its clear what Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell wants out of the Virginia General Assembly this year: road improvements, privatization of the state-run liquor industry, trimming back boards and commissions and state employees to pick up some of the tab for their pensions.

But what about Alexandrias statehouse delegation? Outside of headline-grabbing legislation take Del. Adam Ebbins (D-49) bill criminalizing bullying as one example Richmond happenings can seem distant. Thats where this new, monthly column comes in: letting Alexandrians know what their elected officials are up to in the capital. 
     
THE AGENDA


In a seeming reversal of the national political landscape, McDonnells spending proposals are raising eyebrows in Del. David Englins (D-45) office. The governor wants to borrow $2.9 billion over three years for roadwork supposedly generating new jobs along the way but Englins wary of adding to the states debt burden. 

Hed rather see a pay-as-you-go (read: taxes) model for fixing what everyone admits is an ailing network of roads and highways.

The devil is always in the details, he said Thursday. Im glad that [McDonnell] wants to do something about transportation, the question is how you get there. Hes proposed to fund transportation using debt instead of a user fee model. The pay-as-you-go model is much more fiscally responsible.

Somewhat ironically, the delegate hailing from a city founded on the tobacco industry is joining Del. Patrick Hope (D-47) in an effort to raise cigarette taxes to $1.45. The dollars raised by the hike will go to Medicaid as well as anti-tobacco programs, Englin said. 

 Del. Charniele Herring (D-46) is making heads turn with a push to restore voting rights for ex-felons, currently a power granted only to the governor. Shes also joined Englin in raising questions about the governors debt-laden proposals.

Ebbin, who generated plenty of buzz before the session began with his fight against bullying and a proposed ban on synthetic marijuana, plans to take on the BRAC debacle next. The delegate will add an amendment to the states budget requesting $3 million to offset the expected deluge of traffic when the WHS building opens. 

In the upper chamber, Sen. Patsy Ticer (D-30) will continue backing tax credits for alternative fuels and restoring the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program for woman who have been arrested with, or jailed for, drug possession. Still, she expects the democrat-controlled Senate to spend most of the time playing defense. 

An awful lot of what we do is, unfortunately, trying to stave off the bad stuff as it comes over from the House, she said. Its very tenuous here. Very often we need all those votes and thats hard to do, because you have all the regional differences.

PRE-ELECTION POSTURING


Speaking of Ticer, she made it clear Friday theres very little chance shell entertain another term in the Senate. She hasnt made a formal announcement, but Ticer is pretty certain she wont run for reelection. 

Three candidates have indicated they will run once Ticer makes the decision official: City Councilman Rob Krupicka, Arlington School Board member Libby Garver and Ebbin. All three are up to the challenge, Ticer said. 

I admire all of them and have worked with all of them, she said. Theyd all be good choices.

But: I prefer a woman, she said. 

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