Virginia Capitol Connections Winter 2023

Virginia Capitol Connections, Winter 2023 10 Steve Newman has served in the General Assembly for more than three decades. He has impressed and succeeded, and he has upheld the historic legislature’s most timehonored traditions. He has served with distinction. Early on, many underestimated Newman. He was an upstart insurgent of sorts, elected at age 23 to Lynchburg City Council, running as an independent but known conservative. He was antiestablishment in an establishment kind of town. A few years later he’d run successfully for the House of Delegates, and in another four years, in 1996, at age 31, he’d take a seat in the Senate. Local observers were still marveling at his rise and wondering how far he might go. The Senate would be Newman’s political home. He’d master its procedures, serve on its highest-profile committees, and be named a budget conferee. In 2016 he was elected president pro tempore, a post he held for four years. Over Newman’s 31 years in Richmond, he would introduce some 400 bills and nearly 150 resolutions. He would tackle big issues: capital punishment, annexation, K-12 curriculum standards and funding, the constitutional definition of marriage, regional economic development, and more. He’d even take the lead to retire Virginia’s outdated state song. Locally, Newman led a years-long effort to improve U.S. Route 29, obtain tens of millions of dollars to fix century-old municipal infrastructure, and improve the quality of care for Virginia’s most vulnerable citizens at Central Virginia Training Center. He handled the historic legislation to make Bedford City a town. Newman has been a stalwart conservative. He has fiercely advocated for his most strongly held beliefs. Along the way, no matter the issue, he has won adversaries’ admiration for his always Emmett has also served in other leadership roles both nationally and in Virginia. He has been an active member of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), is a former member of the NCSL Executive Committee, and a former Chairman of the NCSL Budget and Revenues Committee. He is also the former Chairman of the Southern Legislative Conference Health and Public Safety Committee. He is Chairman Emeritus and a current Member of the Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia Board of Trustees. Emmett is a former Chairman and Member of the Center of Rural Virginia Board of Trustees. In addition to his public service, Emmett has and continues to serve the community of Mount Solon, as an active member of Emmanuel Church of the Brethren, and the Sangerville-Towers Ruritan Club. He is the Owner and Broker of Hanger & Associates, a commercial real estate firm. Emmett is a 1967 graduate of Fort Defiance High School, obtained his Bachelor of Science in Management and Economics from James Madison University (JMU) in 1971, and Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from JMU in 1979. Steve Landes is a former Member of the Virginia House of Delegates representing the 25th House District from 1995 to 2019. He served as Delegate Hanger’s Legislative Aide for the 1986 General Assembly Session. Landes currently serves as Augusta County’s Clerk of Court. Steve Newman Delegate 1991-1996 • Senator 1996-2024 BY PRESTON BRYANT deft political touch, quick smile, and gentlemanly demeanor. Maybe as often as not he also got their votes. Across the decades, Newman has served alongside eight governors — half Republicans, half Democrats. He’s worked with each of them. Newman has always been a reliable booster for Republican governors’ agenda. Democratic governors also have sought his advice and vied for his vote, knowing a reasonable, thoughtful pitch would get reasonable, thoughtful consideration. Newman indisputably leads the greater Lynchburg legislative delegation. His nearby House and Senate colleagues look to his leadership. Significant local political decisions are not made without Newman’s input. Want to run for local office — town or city council, county supervisor, sheriff? Go see Newman and get his thoughts. Newman likes gadgets. He always has the latest laptop or tablet or phone or watches. He even drives an electric vehicle. He’s always looking ahead for what’s next. In the mid-1990s, when in the House, Newman proposed a resolution whereby the General Assembly’s IT gurus would “develop a prototype” for putting the legislature’s actions on the internet, proposed legislation, even the Code of Virginia and all regulations. There’s a Whereas clause explaining what the internet is. His resolution even claimed, by golly, that “millions of people” were already connected to the internet and that, supposedly, they’d be able to access this information. The resolution passed. A few years later, in the Senate, Newman proposed a resolution pushing for the General Assembly Building and Capitol to be wired so that legislators might attend meetings from their district offices via something called “videoconferencing.” That resolution passed, too. There’s a lot of major legislation and budget work that have Newman’s fingerprints on them. There’s maybe even more that don’t. During the 2022 session, Newman offered a casual aside on the Senate floor that he might not seek reelection, which immediately prompted Democratic Majority Leader Dick Saslaw — not Newman’s philosophical kin — to respond that he hoped Newman would indeed seek another term because he is among the body’s most thoughtful members. Saslaw offered to campaign for him or against him, whichever Newman thought most helpful. There’s not a Senate district to be drawn in Newman’s part of the state whose voters would not reelect him. Alas, he’s retiring. Those local folks who decades ago scratched their heads on the upstart Newman now look back and wonder why they ever wondered. A recent Lynchburg reception honoring Newman’s long career saw political friends and foes alike turn out to pay homage to his good and faithful service. Newman’s departure from the Senate will be noticed. His wife Kim — his high school sweetheart — will now see much more of him, as will his two sons, Wesley and Tyler, and grandson Books. Preston Bryant is the Senior Vice President at McGuireWoods Consulting, former Virginia Delegate, and former Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources.