Del. Ken Plum is ending a 44-year-long career in the Virginia House of Delegates.
The Democrat, who has represented Reston, will not seek re-election, Plum confirmed today (Wednesday).
In a statement, Plum said he is proud to be part of progressive Democrats who controlled the General Assembly in 2020-2021.
“We have made significant strides, but as the current session of the General Assembly has shown we need to be vigilant and continue our efforts,” Plum wrote in a statement.
Of his years of service, Plum said that issues related to the ratification of the Equal Rights amendment, expansion of human rights protections for the LGBTQ+ population and the protections of women’s reproductive rights stood out.
Here’s more from his letter to constituents:
I could not be prouder than I am of the members of the Democratic caucus who succeed me. The caucus is made up of more women than men, persons of color, a different generation, and a broader perspective than has ever been represented in the State Capitol.
Even Capitol Square looks different than it did when I first arrived. The oversize statue of Robert E. Lee that dominated the original House of Delegates chamber has been removed. The statue of Governor and later Senator Harry F. Byrd that stood by the sidewalk between legislative offices and the Capitol is gone as is the tight hold of his conservative grip on state government that stifled the state’s development for more than a half-century. Signifying the changes that have occurred over recent years is a memorial dedicated to the Indigenous people who occupied the area we now call a state for thousands of years before the English arrived. A unique memorial pays tribute to the women who contributed mightily to the state’s history, and a civil rights memorial now stands featuring Barbara Johns who led a school walkout that launched the Civil Rights Movement in the state and led to the end of school segregation.
Plum said he entered politics to pursue a lifelong dream that Virginia could “do better than being a backward Southern state.” When he entered the House of Delegates in 1978, it was made up of 76 members who were Dixiecrats and a few Republicans who he described as “more moderate.”
He has previously served on the boards of Celebrating Special Children, the Virginia Literacy Foundation, and the Dulles Corridor Rail Association Board. He was a teacher from 1967 to 1997.
Plum, a former teacher and school administrator, served as a member of the house of delegates in 1978. His current position representing the 36th district kickstarted in 1982.
Following his announcement, Paul Berry — a former budget and policy advisory to previous Gov. Ralph Northam and a teacher in Fairfax County Public Schools — announced his candidacy for the seat.
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