Northern Virginia lost what could be a critical seat on the important House Finance Committee a few days ago.
In February, there was a special election in the rural Northern Neck of Virginia to replace Republican Delegate Rob Wittman who replaced Joanne Davis in the U.S. House of Representatives. Former Delegate Albert Pollard, a Democrat who had lost to Senator Stuart last fall was elected to replace Wittman in the seat Pollard held previously.
Pollard had decided not to run in 2005 for family and business reasons. Two years later he was defeated in a tight race for the Senate seat held by John Chichester. Wittman was easily elected to the House seat.
When the House seat held by Wittman became vacant, Pollard won the seat back fairly easily.
Pollard thus became the 45th Democrat in the 100-member House of Delegates. Because Pollard was sworn in fairly late in the session, he was not given committee assignments by the Speaker.
House rules require all members to have at least two committee posts. Given his background and expertise, Pollard asked for the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee among others.
Instead the Speaker removed Delegate Bob Hull from the Finance Committee where he was a very senior member. In addition, the Speaker removed Delegate Dwight Jones, who is a candidate for Mayor of Richmond, from the Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns.
The Speaker then appointed Delegate Pollard to the Finance and Counties, Cities and Towns committees.
From my perspective, the most important of the committee changes was Bob Hull’s removal from the Finance Committee. Not only does our area lose his experience, but his replacement with Pollard, whose district is much less inclined than Northern Virginia to be sympathetic to tax increases for transportation, may cost us dearly in the special transportation session stating on June 23
Since all tax and revenue raising measures are supposed to be approved by the Finance Committee to reach the floor of the House, that single vote could put the Governor’s transportation proposals in jeopardy.