Virginia Capitol Connections Winter 2023

Virginia Capitol Connections, Winter 2023 16 of Fairfax Presbyterian Church where he has served as a youth group leader and a member of the church governing body, to which he has recently been elected again. Senator Barker ran for the House of Delegates in 1991 and 1993, coming close in challenging years to be a Democrat in his district. Senator George L. Barker has represented the 39th District of the Virginia Senate following his election in 2007. As a member of the Senate, he has come to be respected as a leader on a wide variety of issues, including health care and many others. Initially appointed to the Senate Committee on Education & Health, he was viewed as a highly articulate and knowledgeable champion on both health and education issues. He currently serves as co-chair of the Finance & Appropriations Committee, and a member of Commerce & Labor, Education & Health, General Laws and Technology, and Rules. He also chairs numerous subcommittees. In addition, he serves on far more commissions and boards than any other legislator in the offseason. He also chairs many of them, including the Joint Commission on Health Care, the Virginia Health Workforce Development Authority, and the Health Insurance Reform Commission. Senator Barker is known as someone who works well with his colleagues and will get things done. He has gotten countless bills and budget actions implemented. George has been a leader in Medicaid Expansion, dental care for adults on Medicaid, protecting women’s rights including access to medical care, maintaining the Certificate of Public Need law, providing full-day kindergarten for all Virginia children, granting access to school where children from troubled families now lived, addressing retail crime, adopting the red flag law that temporarily removes guns from people who are a risk to use the guns, and passing a plethora of budget amendments that have been tailored to the needs of the people of Virginia. Senator Barker’s departure will be a severe loss for the Senate of Virginia and for the Commonwealth. His wealth of knowledge, his analytical skills, and his leadership have all had an immeasurable impact on the lives of many, many citizens most of whom will not even be aware of his contribution to their health and well-being. Don Harris retired in 2017 from representing Inova Health System. He currently serves as Senior Health Policy Advisor to Delegate Mark Sickles.. Weeks away from the pivotal 2023 general election, I find myself in front of my keyboard at a bittersweet moment in my public life. Sweet because our Commonwealth has benefitted from the vision, devotion, and service of Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel over the course of four Senate terms spanning 16 years. Bitter because a memorable chapter of Virginia political history concludes with her decision to retire in January 2024. I first laid eyes on Jill in January 2009 — her first term in the Senate of Virginia — while visiting Richmond as part of a group advocating for legislation on which Jill had a respected voice. As I and others in my group were ushered into her office in the General Assembly Building, I was surprised to find her holding a baby in her arms while another toddled around her desk. I later learned that she was the first woman in Virginia history to give birth while in office. In essence, she raised her family in the General Assembly and blazed a trail for working women, kids, and families to follow. Jill Holtzman Vogel Senator 2008-2024 BY RICH ANDERSON After retiring from the United States Air Force one month later, I began a campaign for Prince William County’s 51st House District, was elected that November, and joined Jill in January 2010. From that moment on, I came to know this respected servant-leader as a valued friend and cherished colleague. As I look back through the years, I can put into perspective the selfless service that she rendered for 16 years to her fellow citizens in the 27th Senate District. As a wife, mother, attorney, patriot, citizen-legislator, and native Virginian, she served in the finest tradition of those who have served in the Virginia legislature over a span of four centuries. Jill will be remembered as an advocate for women, kids, parents, those with autism, healthcare, K-12 education, government reform, and the biennial Virginia state budget. Her bully pulpit was back home in Winchester City and the counties of Clarke, Frederick, Fauquier, Culpeper, Loudoun, and Stafford — but it was also in the well of the Senate and on the Senate Finance and Appropriations, General Laws