Virginia Capitol Connections Summer 2022

Virginia Capitol Connections, Summer 2022 14 VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF SMALL BUSINESS AND SUPPLIER DIVERSITY More than 99% of Virginia’s businesses are small. We are your economic development agency, helping you grow and prosper through increased revenue and job creation. What we offer… • Virginia Small Business Financing Authority providing access to capital; • Business Development and Outreach providing education and outreach to assist small businesses with strategic growth and development; • Certifications to enhance procurement opportunities for SWaM and DBE qualified businesses. • Sourcing and Compliance Division is advancing equity and maximizing participation of SWaM certified businesses. For further information about services offered, please visit us at or call (804) 786-6585 This week I got to see more examples of that kind of legislative camaraderie. The occasion was the meeting of a state commission in Franklin County—I’ll have a future column on what just what commission is doing, so for now the exact details don’t matter. What matters is this: The commission met at what was officially described as the Historic Holland Duncan House but is also the law office of state Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Franklin County. Stanley’s not on the commission but he made the conference room in his law office available. He was out front when a van arrived from Richmond bringing some of the commission members, most notably the commission’s chair, state Sen. Mamie Locke, D-Hampton. As soon as they saw each other, they hugged. When the day’s events were over and it was time to leave, they hugged again. These are two people who certainly don’t agree on very much. I’m sure they don’t agree on taxes, or probably on spending, either. Or abortion. Or guns. Or whether the governor’s picks for secretary of natural and historic resources and the parole board should be confirmed. Or on whatever any of the other hot-button issues that divide us might be. But they hugged each other. It wasn’t for the cameras, either. I was the only journalist there and was too slow to get my phone open to take a picture. (OK, it was a quick hug, and I’m slow with the camera trigger finger.) Whatever their policy differences might be, and there are many, they still were friendly with each other in what seemed a genuine kind of way. Later, after the commission meeting was over, the five senators present—four from the commission, plus Stanley—took a field trip to the nearby Booker T. Washington National Monument. At one point during the tour, two of the senators—Republican David Suetterlein of Roanoke County and Democrat Scott Surovell of Fairfax County—wandered off together on a short hiking trail. I have no idea what they talked about. Maybe they talked politics. Maybe they didn’t. But it didn’t seem to matter. It seemed a nice bipartisan moment no matter what they talked about. More people could stand to take a bipartisan walk in the woods like that. Now here’s the part where I will leave some of my more liberal readers demanding universal health care to cover their high blood pressure medicine: I want to say some kind words about Gov. Glenn Youngkin for doing his part to calm a populace that seems dangerously on edge. What? I can hear some readers saying now. What about the way he campaigned on the phantom menace of critical race theory?What about his infamous tipster hotline aimed at ratting out teachers? What about the way he tried to take the unprecedented action of trying to shorten the terms of the Loudoun County School Board? I’m completely aware of all those things—and more. But here’s the thing: We’ve always had controversial politics. However, with the notable and instructive exception of the 1860s and occasional other fits of violence (such as the Southern reaction to matters of race), we have generally managed to disagree without being too disagreeable with one another. Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill certainly disagreed. They also regularly got together for drinks.We’d be better off if a few certain politicians weren’t in politics anymore, but we’d also be better off if we could all treat those we disagree with as fellow citizens with different views, not public enemies of America. No matter who wins the next election, we’ll all still be here, and we all still need to figure out at least some way to get along. That’s why we ought to give a little more attention to the commencement address that Youngkin gave last weekend at Regent University. The relevant part: “We’ve lost the ability to debate, to disagree, and yet to find a way forward. Instead we create enemy combatants of colleagues, even friends and sometimes, sadly family members. So all of you graduating today have this amazing opportunity to reintroduce the concept of grace. Grace in the public discourse. That The side of politics more people should see from page 13 Continued on next page