by Danica Roem, Democratic House of Delegates candidate in the 13th district (Lowell’s note: the other two Democratic candidates are welcome to submit articles here as well)
Del. Bob Marshall (R-13) this year made national headlines for two of the 30 bills he introduced: HB 1612, the so-called “bathroom bill,” and HJ 549, his resolution deeming pornography a public health hazard.
Like most of his legislation from the last two years, both of those bills are now dead and his constituents are literally paying the price for his failure. Virginia taxpayers waste $17,640 per year on Del. Marshall’s salary as he wastes his time authoring bills he knows will die and struggles worse than a freshman member of the minority party to pass legislation.
In fact, Del. Marshall passed only one out of 41 bills last year (37 House Bills and four resolutions) despite him having 25 years of seniority and status in a 2-to-1 majority party. He’ll be lucky to pass a single resolution this year – 14 out of his 15 are now dead — and neither of his remaining two House Bills are likely to be signed into law as they’re both party-line bills (HB 1468 and HB 1490).
As someone who spent nine years covering the news affecting the 13th District as the lead reporter for theGainesville Times (2006-2015), I have watched Del. Marshall’s ability to pass legislation he authors as the chief patron corrode.
From 2012 — the first year after redistricting in 2011 reshaped the district — through 2016, Del. Marshall introduced 162 bills and 152 of them did not pass. That tally is now at 179 failed bills during the last six legislative sessions and counting.
As a lifelong resident of the 13th District, I’m tired of Del. Marshall filing discriminatory social legislation that singles out and stigmatizes his LGBTQ constituents instead of fixing Route 28, the biggest quality of life problem in the 13th District that’s spanned the duration of his career.
Meanwhile, just last night, the Manassas Park City Council worked diligently on figuring out how to reduce stormwater runoff contaminants – a problem that’s been years in the making — but the council doesn’t have a partner in the House of Delegates dedicated to introducing bills to help the city comply with the state’s MS4 regulations for environmental quality.
At a time when the Manassas Park City Council also needs more state grant money or low-to-no interest state loans for replacing its aging water pipes, Del. Marshall spent his time authoring bills about pornography, abortion and restricting LGBTQ rights.
We have major infrastructure problems in the 13th District and Del. Marshall is focused on go-nowhere, dead-on-arrival social legislation rather than fixing them.
I know the issues facing the people of the 13th District because I’m a lifelong Manassas resident and I spent nearly a decade reporting the news affecting the district. I’m focused on fixing Route 28, bringing high-paying jobs to Innovation Park and raising teacher salaries in Manassas Park and Prince William County so they’re not the lowest in Northern Virginia, all of which Del. Marshall failed to accomplish during the last two years.
With House Speaker Bill Howell announcing his retirement Monday, it’s time for substantial change in Richmond. Whatever ability Del. Marshall had to pass his own legislation no longer exists and it’s time for him to join Speaker Howell on the sidelines next year.
The constituents of the 13th District deserve a delegate who can deliver results, not rhetoric and failure. I’m running to be that consensus-building, results-oriented delegate.