Virginia Capitol Connections Winter 2023

Virginia Capitol Connections, Winter 2023 21 During my thirty-two years of service in the House of Delegates, I can confidently say that Roxann Robinson is one of the most genuine, caring individuals to serve in the body. In an era where critics bemoan the fact that so many politicians are self-serving, she is the definition of a true public servant. It is essential in a citizen legislature to have representatives who have a true heart for the folks they represent, a passion for good public policy, and a desire to get things done. Roxann embodied all of those things in her 13 years of service and her retirement from the body is a loss for both the institution and her constituents in Chesterfield. Roxann was born and raised in West Virginia, graduating from Brooke High School and Fairmont State College (B.S., Biology). She subsequently graduated from the Illinois College of Optometry and began a career as an optometrist. Roxann moved to Chesterfield in 1983 and was a self-practicing, well-respected optometrist for 34 years. As part of her advocacy for her profession, she served as president of both the Virginia Optometric Association and Virginia Academy of Optometry, as well as Clinical Director of Opening Eyes, a program that provides vision exams to Special Olympics participants. In 2010, Roxann won a special election to represent Chesterfield County’s 27th district in the House of Delegates. Over the course of her tenure, she served on a number of influential committees, notably the Appropriations Committee. Additionally, she served as chair of the Science & Technology and Finance committees. Roxann championed a number of conservative causes during her time in the House. She successfully repealed the ‘Kings Dominion law’ to allow local school divisions to make important decisions concerning the start of the academic year and successfully patroned numerous bills to expand the scope of practice for both nurse practitioners and optometrists in order to expand access to healthcare services. As chair of the Finance committee, she additionally helped usher in $4 billion in tax cuts supported by Governor Youngkin and a bipartisan majority in the General Assembly. Roxann’s retirement leaves the legislature without a practicing optometrist among its ranks. But more importantly, Chesterfield will lose a hard-working and humble public servant. We proudly point to the Virginia General Assembly being the oldest continuous lawmaking body in the New World. In fact, the Roxann Robinsons of the legislature are what truly make the General Assembly so special! Kirk Cox served as a Delegate and was Speaker of the House. Roxann L. Robinson Delegate 2010-2024 BY KIRK COX Her next big test came in the form of the global COVID-19 pandemic just a few months into her speakership. Faced with an unprecedented challenge she decided to once again rewrite the Rules of the House to protect the health and safety of members while getting the people’s essential business done. Proceeding with remote, interactive sessions over the strident objections of many, implementing remote public participation technologies that we continue to use today. In spite of the limitations presented by a global pandemic, during Filler-Corn’s Speakership, the House passed groundbreaking, progressive legislation. We implemented crucial gun violence prevention measures, took Virginia from 40th to 11th in ease of voting, improved the lives of working families by raising the minimum wage and allowing for public sector collective bargaining, fought climate change by entering Virginia into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and made our criminal justice system fairer in countless ways during a summer special session in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. Oh yeah, and Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and was named as CNBC’s Top State for Business at the same time. Before her remarkable tenure as Speaker, Filler-Corn dedicated a decade of her life to the service of her constituents in the House of Delegates. Her commitment to the people she represented in the 41st House District, encompassing portions of Fairfax County, was unwavering. Fueled by her passion for public service, she embarked on a journey to make Virginia a better place for all its residents, inspired by her Jewish faith and the principle of Tikkun Olam - our duty to repair the world during our time here. As a legislator, Filler-Corn was renowned for her ability to listen and find solutions to the challenges faced by her community. Her tireless work ethic and unwavering dedication to her constituents were evident in every piece of legislation she introduced, championed, and successfully passed. With a keen focus on equality and fairness, Filler-Corn advocated for the well-being of everyone, irrespective of their background, circumstance, or ideology. As Eileen Filler-Corn bids farewell to her role as Speaker of the House, her legacy will forever be etched in the annals of Virginia’s history. She has been a beacon of hope and a symbol of progress, breaking barriers and paving the way for future leaders. Today, as she transitions from her roles as Speaker and Delegate, we honor Eileen Filler-Corn for her exceptional career, her unwavering dedication, and her countless achievements. We thank her for her service and wish her continued success in all her future endeavors. Delegate Marcus Simon represents Falls Church and part of Fairfax County. Parking available adjacent to building Phone: 804-644-1702 FAX: 804-644-1703 E-Mail: Web Site: Additional copies of this special issue are available from Wordsprint – $10 VI RG I N I A 2023-2024 Exodus Saying Goodbye to Virginia's Departing Legislators Winter 2023