Del. Ken Plum: General Assembly Off to Lumbering Start

by Del. Ken Plum January 11, 2018 at 11:30 am 13 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 General Assembly convened for its annual session on Wednesday. Hopes that the historic election results of November brought forth have dimmed somewhat as the drawing of lots to settle the results of the final district race gave the Republicans a one-member advantage to control the House of Delegates. Many wonderful people have been at work on the terms for a power-sharing agreement. 

Now the incentives for such reform have diminished with the acceptance of a disputed ballot that led to the Democrats losing a seat that would have made for a partisan tie in the House and much more likelihood of a power-sharing arrangement. There is likely to be some reform of the process but not a change of one-party dominance that has thwarted efforts to deal with some major issues.

I continue to be impressed with the make-up of the House of Delegates as the new members are reflective of the people of Virginia. For the first time in our history women will make up half the membership of the Democratic caucus. The new members bring wonderful backgrounds, expertise, and life experiences that will bring a greater sense of reality to legislative debates. We will make progress on more issues for sure but maybe not as great as I led people to believe when election results were announced.

One of my greatest concerns is that the thousands of men and women who chose to take part in the electoral process for the first time in ways other than just voting not become disillusioned with the process and retreat from it. Make no mistake about it: the outcomes of the legislative and state-wide races in Virginia in 2017 were historic. Voter turnout in these races was greater than in any other year with the same seats to be filled. The solid Republican majority of 66 to 34 was reduced to 51 to 49. Senior members of the majority with more than adequate monies to finance their races lost to a public uprising. All involved in this process can rightfully be proud. All that activity has been focused on campaigning; now we must turn to governing. 

I hope that all those who campaigned so hard for candidates will identify one or perhaps several issues upon which they can focus their attention and with the same techniques of phoning, social media, door knocking, rallying and more can help persuade members of the legislature to vote responsibly on the issues. Just as we sold voters on candidates, we need to sell legislators on important issues. Such campaigns can make a difference in the outcome of legislation.

Political parties on both sides will be eager to take credit for the outcomes of elections in which they participated. Without a doubt, the success of elections this cycle came from the women and men who volunteered–sometimes in organized groups or acting as individuals–that made the difference. Political parties can learn from these people. Please do stay involved, for your participation can make such an important difference as the General Assembly lumbers along.

  • Chronicle of dashed hopes

    “We will make progress on more issues for sure but maybe not as great as I led people to believe when election results were announced.”

    Thanks for the honesty.

    • 40yearsinreston

      Any progress wont be due to Kens efforts
      Based on his history, it will be snooze time again

      • The Constitutionalist

        No progress is progress, and I’d happily welcome it.

  • OneReally

    “Many wonderful people have been at work on the terms for a power-sharing agreement. ”

    Why? The Republicans are in the majority. No power sharing needed.

  • Mike M

    Ken, I prefer that you spend your time writing such nothingness. With your bent mindset, I hope you continue to be worthless even to your supporters.

  • The Constitutionalist

    “…can help persuade members of the legislature to vote responsibly on the issues.”

    You’re basically the poster child of why this isn’t true. Sorry, the poster great-grandfather.

  • Kenny P

    “Looks like a machine gun to me”

  • vdiv

    In case anyone is wondering about Del. Plum, committee membership, and sponsored bills for the 2018 legislative session:

    • 40yearsinreston

      On the transport committee, I dont see anything
      Perhaps his pal Hudgins is substituting for him

    • Mike M

      Odd how he rarely if ever mentions that. Seems like he is all about platitudes and less about genuine representation. No wonder our leftists like him.

      • The Constitutionalist

        He doesn’t want to shed light on what he sponsors because he knows his constituents would disagree with most of them.

        But he isn’t representing his constituents, he’s representing himself.

    • OneReally

      His bill for “Refundable income tax credit for low-income taxpayers.”

      As debate at the Federal level. How do you give tax breaks for people that don’t pay taxes?

      Are you seriously going to give them a tax credit for being low-income? It would be just another entitlement.

  • Rational Reston

    This reads like Del. Plum was expecting a new bike for his birthday, but got pen set instead.


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