April 11, 2012
Two top Virginia delegates defended their actions in the General Assembly to their constituents Wednesday at the monthly meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia.
Del. Rob Bell (R-58th District) and Del. David Toscano (D-57th District0 were the featured speakers at the meeting, reflecting on the latest session of the General Assembly.
"It's a local group, it crosses city and county lines," Bell said. "They ask good questions about what's on their minds. It's a chance for us to hear from people before we go back down to Richmond in a few days."
The first question from the crowded room was regarding the assembly's focus on social issues this year. Toscano, the Democratic minority leader in the house, said the social issues served as a distraction.
"It's very clear that the social issues overshadowed everything else," Toscano said. "I think that Virginians really want us to get back and focus on jobs, the economy, education."
The controversial ultrasound bill is among the social issues Toscano called a distraction. The bill requires women to receive an ultrasound before getting an abortion.
Bell voted for the ultrasound bill and said the General Assembly handled many more than just those that grabbed the headlines.
"There's 700 bills that come through, most of them are either unanimous or the project of some work study groups," Bell explained.
"We're so focused on the social issues that we lose track of the important things that we need to focus on," Toscano said, saying things like the economy, education and transportation were overlooked.
The delegates return to Richmond next week to review amendments that Gov. Bob McDonnell made to more than 100 bills.