Del. Ken Plum: Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

by Del. Ken Plum December 21, 2017 at 1:30 pm 10 Comments

This is a commentary from Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

The editorial in the September 21, 1897 New York Sun, responding to a letter from eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon who had inquired about whether there was a Santa Claus, has become the most reprinted newspaper editorial, according to the Newseum (newseum.org/2014/12/22/). Virginia’s father had told her that if she read it in the Sun it was certain to be true. The editor wrote, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.”

Virginians, especially those around the capital city, have long believed in Santa Claus. The “Legendary Santa” has been meeting with boys and girls at Miller & Rhoads — first a department store and now an apartment building in Richmond — for more than 75 years. There is ample proof that he is the “real” Santa Claus for he is able with assistance from the Snow Queen and some technology to call every child by name. We go with our grandchildren to see him at his latest location at the Children’s Museum of Richmond. Read more about this Virginia tradition in Legendary Santa’s Stories from the Chair (Children’s Museum of Richmond, 2011, www.c-mor.org/santa/book). On page six is a photograph of young Jane Durham (now Plum) and her brother visiting Santa many years ago.

Throughout the capital there is a quickened pace of activity during the holiday season in anticipation of the General Assembly convening on January 10. There are wish lists from all the agencies and special interests. And, yes, Commonwealth, if there is a Santa Claus here is my wish list for the legislative session, essentially duplicating my list from the last several years.

Virginia should extend health insurance to nearly half its uninsured working poor by expanding Medicaid. Not only would more people have access to preventative care as well as treatment, but Virginians would get more of their federal tax dollars back and a boost to the economy with the health care jobs being created.

While I am wishing, I want the General Assembly to expand background checks for all gun purchases to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and violent people. Just this past week I attended a vigil on the fifth anniversary of the massacre of 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School and yet commonsense gun safety laws have not been enacted. I also want the legislature to approve my bill to establish an independent redistricting commission that will fairly and objectively draw legislative boundaries. On my wish list we would outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation. And while we are at it, we need to get the state back to the position of being an equal partner in funding public schools. 

None of these goals will be reached by simply wishing for them. Hard work, determination, and public pressure can make them reality. Just like in Santa’s workshop, there needs to be a lot of work done behind the scenes. Could this be the year I get what I want?

  • Jist believe

    Now we know, Santa is a Democrat!

    Thanks Ken

  • YouCantHandleTheTroof

    Riddle me this.

    If Santa, by your words sees me when I’m sleeping and knows when I’m awake. Furthermore he knows if I’ve been bad or good. If these things hold true, then WHY does he need a list?

  • The Constitutionalist

    Ken, like I’ve said before, when you can come up with a common sense law that will have a reduction on gun violence, we”re all ears.

    I’m waiting.

  • Mike M

    Psst! Ken! No form of background checks, even if combined with proctology exams would not have prevented Sandy Hook. The kid took his mom’s gun. She would have passed. So stop grandstanding and get real.

    PS: Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

  • 40yearsinreston

    I wish Santa would bring Hudgins resignation. If Plum joined her that would be a bonus

    • Mike M

      Despite his odiousness Ken has so little effect upon us, his resignation would be the stocking stuffer compared to the other one.

  • drb

    Yes the Democrat party is the Party of Santa. You want to give everybody everything as long as the government has control over everyone’s decisions and money.
    Ken, if you want to expand health insurance to all, or just more, then propose the tax that pays for it.+
    I am all for back ground checks. So open the computers instant back ground check so that all citizens have access to it. You don’t even need a law for that.
    What discrimination of sexual orientation do you see that needs to be addressed?Would your law supersede Constitutional protections that you will then just ignore as you do now?
    A Very Merry Christmas to all

  • TheKingJAK

    A simple “Merry Christmas” would have sufficed.


    Ken, If you want to provide someone else with their medical expenses do so personally. Leave your hands out of our pockets. We are meeting our own priorities and we don’t need you and the government to run a nanny state.


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