Local Commentary

News from the Coffin Corner: Delegate Hull’s Richmond Report

hullmugIn reviewing my 17 years as an elected official, I have thought about all of the things that I have seen and done.

A Pilgram’s Journey

In reviewing my 17 years as an elected official, I have thought about all of the things that I have seen and done.

 

I attended the Richmond funeral of Arthur Ashe during my first year in office. I met and spoke with Oliver Hill, the civil rights pioneer, on several occasions.

Two years ago, I was in Jamestown for its 400th anniversary celebration and attended the special legislative address by Queen Elizabeth in Richmond.

Last year marked much travel for me as I made a civil rights pilgrimage to the South and my second journey to Israel.

In July, I visited Montgomery, Tuskegee, Selma, and Birmingham, Alabama, and Memphis, Tennessee.

I attended Sunday services at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery and the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.

I drove down over the Edmund Pettus Bridge into Selma and viewed the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.

I toured the Civil Rights Memorial Center, the Rosa Parks Museum, and the Greyhound Bus Depot in Montgomery.

I visited the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, explored Tuskegee University, and toured the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.

Later in the year, I extended my journey here in Virginia by visiting Booker T. Washington’s birthplace, Moton High School, and Hampton University.

In September, I traveled to Israel as a guest of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington.

I was honored to be one of the few people invited on this trip twice and I discovered a country more prosperous and dynamic than I found it 11 years ago.

These trips were spiritual high points for me in my life.

Better Late Than Never

In the article in the News-Press following the Democratic primary, it was stated that “observers noted that Hull got started late running his re-election campaign, perhaps due to his unfamiliarity with facing a serious challenge.”

Yes, I did start the primary campaign late. But, it was not due to being unaware of my primary competitor. Rumors started eight years ago that she was going to run against me.

I was told that she was ready to run two years ago, but was talked out of it. I knew last July that she was going to run against me this year.

That is when I started seeing her at events she had not attended before. It was certainly clear this past fall that she was going to run.

My late start was not due to being unaware of the challenge. It was due to my mother’s health. She had suffered from health problems over the last few years.

But, in December, her health problems became serious and from mid-December until she passed away in mid-March, I put everything on hold.

Except for my duties in Richmond, all of my efforts during this time were on my mother’s care. I even missed three days of the session to be up here with her.

I did not begin to circulate petitions for re-election until after she passed away and they were due two weeks later. I did not even bring a campaign manager on board until April 3.

So, I did not do too badly for a 9-1/2 week campaign while continually facing negative attacks. Of course, you either grab the brass ring or you do not.

Perspective

There are four ways to leave an elected office: declining to run for re-election, defeat at the polls, resignation, and dying in office. At least I am alive!

What Price Seniority?

During the Democratic primary campaign, I remember some people not understanding what my 17 years of seniority meant.

I am afraid that folks are about to find out as 40 years of seniority by Northern Virginians will be gone next year.

We lose 17 years with my departure, 13 years with Brian Moran’s resignation last year, and 10 years with Kris Amundson withdrawing from her re-election bid.

That is 40 years of legislative experience, 40 years of committee seniority, and 40 years of clout. As the old saying goes: “That ain’t hay, brother!”

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