At the most recent VALOR seminar, the fellows’ met many interesting people in Virginia’s government, including those representing two of the three branches of our state government, the Executive and the Legislative Branches. We were most fortunate to meet not just a friend of agriculture in the legislature, but a true leader in our industry, Delegate Robert “Bobby” D. Orrock, Sr. Delegate Orrock represents the 54th District in the Virginia House of Delegates, which consist of parts of Caroline and Spotsylvania counties.
Virginia has a citizen legislature, which is made up primarily of citizens who have a full-time occupation besides being a legislator. Delegate Orrock is an agricultural education teacher in Spotsylvania County. Since most legislators have full-time jobs, it’s not easy to find a replacement to work for them while they serve in the General Assembly. He’s been fortunate to have had the same substitute teacher the entire time he has served in the House of Delegates since 1990. Delegate Orrock said he is glad that Virginia still has a legislature made up of those still having other occupations; it brings real life to the body and not career politicians.
Because of his background and education, as well as the Future Farmers of America, it was a natural for him to become the parliamentarian of the body. From the General Assembly website: “The Senate and the House of Delegates also establish their own rules regarding the organization of their respective houses, as well as governing procedures for referral of bills and debating. Joint rules may from time to time be established by the two houses for the joint conduct of business, such as electing judges or setting a schedule for the session. In addition to these resources, both the Senate and the House of Delegates also provide that Jefferson’s Manual of Parliamentary Practice shall be used as a resource, provided there is no conflict with the rules adopted by the respective house.” Note the resource used in conducting the bodies business is not the normal Robert’s Rules of Order so many of us grew up with but, rather, Jefferson’s Manual of Parliamentary Practice. Jefferson developed these rules of organization for congress.
Delegate Orrock grew up on a farm in Caroline County where he graduated from Ladysmith High School. He was active in the FFA for which he served as State Reporter in 1974-75. He received his B.S. in agricultural education from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and his M. Ed. agricultural education from Virginia State University. He was first elected to the General Assembly in the fall of 1989. He serves on the committees of Health Welfare and Institutions (Chair), Finance, Agriculture Chesapeake and Natural Resources, and Rules. Among his many activities, we are pleased to have Delegate Orrock serve on the VALOR Advisory Council.
Here are some interesting facts about the General Assembly:
- Senators serve four-year terms, and Delegates serve two-year terms.
- Any person may be elected to the Senate or the House of Delegates who, at the time of the election, is twenty-one years of age, is a resident of the district which they are seeking to represent, and is qualified to vote for legislators of the General Assembly.
- Senators receive an annual salary of $18,000; Delegates receive an annual salary of $17,640.
Learn more about the Virginia General Assembly at virginiageneralassembly.gov