Above: VALOR Class III Fellows with the First Lady of Virginia, Mrs. Dorothy McAuliffe; Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, Honorable Basil Gooden; and Virginia Assistant Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, Dr. Megan Seibel
There’s a lot of emotion buzzing across the country this week as President Obama turns the reigns over to new leadership under the soon-to-be Trump Administration. There’s a lot of high energy on both sides of the opinion pendulum which has the United States in a rocking chair on a trajectory headed for outer space, or so it seems.
After spending a day visiting Virginia’s Capitol and General Assembly, I am here to calm the fears of Virginians everywhere. Virginia works! Fear not, citizens of the Commonwealth. After spending three days in the midst of the hustle and tussle of our civic process and watching and listening to the leadership of the great Commonwealth, rest easy knowing that this VALOR Fellow not only approves, but is proud of Virginia’s leadership.
During our time with the General Assembly, the VALOR Fellows observed the Senate Agriculture Conservation and Natural Resources Committee meeting; the first of the 2017 General Assembly Session. Being an admitted civic nerd, I could have sat there all day! The Senators serving on the Senate Ag Committee were engaged, thoughtful, tough, thorough and kind. Now when is the last time you heard anyone refer to a group of politicians this way?! Right?? No, I’ve not been drinking. Virginia works!
For those who may not know what happens in committee meetings, here’s a short overview. The Senators convene, the Chairman calls the meeting to order, and bill sponsors, who are other legislators, give a brief description of their bill and answer questions from the committee. The committee may have questions on why the bill is necessary, what effect is may have, both intended and unintended, and what the financial consequences of the bill may be. The discussion on bills is both engaging and thought provoking. The committee will then vote on the bill or may table discussion or refer it to another committee or sub-committee. This, my friends, is your legislative process. And it works. Virginia works!
In the midst of chaos across the country surrounding our political system, sitting in on the Senate Ag Committee meeting was confirmation that Virginia has its nose to the grindstone and puts the interests of its citizens first. It was a refreshing and encouraging experience, regardless of your taste for politics. Don’t be discouraged, Virginians. Virginia works!
I want to express my utmost gratitude for all of the supporters of Virginia agriculture who made our visit to Richmond an exceptional and memorable experience. I am once again so proud and honored to be a Virginian and grateful for all of the VALOR supporters and sponsors, and for all of those who serve the Commonwealth of Virginia.
– Sic Semper Tyrannis