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Del: Ken Plum: A Legislator’s Holiday Season

by Karen Goff December 10, 2014 at 1:00 pm 10 Comments

Del. Ken Plum/File photoThe multiple celebrations that make up the holiday season bring travel, big meals, and family and friend reunions. For state legislators, the end of the year and the holidays bring an additional dimension: preparation for the next legislative session.

The Virginia Constitution provides that the General Assembly shall meet each year on the second Wednesday in January. This year that is Jan. 14, a later date than in most years.

Leading up to opening of the General Assembly session there is a great deal of preparation that needs to be done. Study committees that have been meeting throughout the year conclude their work in order that their reports can be written and legislation drafted. In order to spread out the workload on staff for the Division of Legislative Services that does the statutory drafting, a deadline is set in early December so that bills that are to be filed early can be drafted. A limitation on the number of bills that can be introduced after the session begins encourages members to get their bill drafting requests in early which happens to be during the time of preparing for the holidays.

With lobbyists, stakeholders, interested citizens and others concerned about getting legislation introduced or in opposing bills that others are proposing, the end of the year and the holiday season signals the need to move to action.

Legislators get numerous invitations to meet with legislative committees of various organizations, lobbyists employed to support or oppose bills, and individuals who have an interest in a good government idea. Because regular business hours of both legislators and advocates get filled with meetings, social and meal times are used as opportunities to educate legislators and for lawmakers to learn of the interests and needs of members of the community. There are breakfasts, lunches, dinners and even a Sunday brunch scheduled on my calendar.

Many advocates who are otherwise employed and who have their own family responsibilities use the social and meal times as available opportunities for themselves to meet with their representatives. Cynics of the process who suggest that the rubber chicken or high-calorie hors d’oeuvres are somehow attractive to lawmakers have clearly not been to any of these.

What goes on during the holiday season is critically important to the legislative process. With the heightened expectation that the General Assembly is going to be meeting, more people become focused on it and on making their views known. As representatives of the people we have to hear from constituents.

That is why during the holiday season I send a survey to voters as a means for them to express their views to me. Complete it online at www.kenplum.com. I also have a public hearing with Sen. Janet Howell on Jan. 8, at which we welcome public testimony.

In between getting ready for the legislative session, I will be enjoying time with family and friends. The holiday season makes for a busy time for sure, but it also is a time to feel the honor of being your representative in the state legislature.

Ken Plum represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. His opinions do not necessarily represent those of Reston Now.

  • Laura Calacci

    Plum should be waterboarded.

    • Guest

      I’m just wondering if your outbursts on RestonNow reflect the views of your employer, RE/MAX, or are just your own prejudices?

      • Dexter Scott

        It’s called Free Speech. I know you Democrats hate it and are trying to abolish it, but it still exists. For now.

        The Crypt Keeper didn’t spend his entire post vomiting all over Republicans this time… he must be off his meds.

      • Laura Calacci

        RE/MAX is not my employer . And Dexter Scott is right. Its free speech. So, go to HELL.

      • Laura Calacci

        Guest ? Or Terrill?

      • RestonSouthie

        Her employer, (although as a REALTOR she is a 1099 independent consultant) is Fairfax Realty- and yes she is completely entitled to her hate speech. Take it for what it is- the rant of an angry women who has no meaningful discussion to add to any topic.

        • Laura Calacci

          Joking that Ken Plum should be waterboarded is not hate speech. Although you libs believe everything you don’t agree with is hate speech. And thanks for the plug for Fairfax Realty. Nice to know you took the time to stalk me and find out where I hang my real estate license. Its hardly a rant and I am not angry. I am, however, disgusted that there is no tolerance for differing points of view. I will no longer participate since RestonSouthie says my contributions are meaningless.

          • Paul Blanc

            Laura- on what planet is a reference to waterboarding funny? It’s is hateful and adds no content to the discussion.

          • Laura Calacci

            There were waterboarding jokes in the past week on lib favorites Bill Maher, Steven Colbert, and Jimmy Fallon.

  • east297

    Take a holiday permanently!

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