Virginia Capitol Connections Winter 2023

Virginia Capitol Connections, Winter 2023 26 I’ll never forget the day I met Delegate Bourne in the old General Assembly Building in 2017. I’d followed his career for many years and admired his passion from afar but never did I imagine that he and I would become like family. He had just been elected to the House in a special election and I was visiting the Capitol amidst my competitive primary in Norfolk. He saw me in the hallway, asked me to visit him in his office later, and I did. I’ll admit that I was shocked that he knew who I was, but the conversation that flowed in his sparsely decorated office was the first of many throughout our friendship. As some would say: the rest is history. There is no finer public servant than Jeff Bourne. Few people remember that he played football at our alma mater, the College of William and Mary, or that he was a policy aide for then-Governor Mark Warner. Some forget that he served on the Richmond School Board and was instrumental in improving the lives of the city’s underserved schools and boosting teacher recruitment. But everyone knows that his favorite job in this world is as a husband and father: his world revolves around Anedra, Sydney, and Joseph and they come before anything else. The arc of our Virginia story is long. Legislators come and go and policies change with regularity. But sometimes a figure can withstand the test of time. I suspect many who serve in the General Assembly in the coming decades will quote Delegate Bourne with regularity. His passion and commitment are unmatched. His wife Anedra once said to me that our sitting next to each other on the floor was problematic because my intensity only ratcheted Jeff’s up even more. We won a few battles and lost some too, but we never lost our focus on doing what we felt was right no matter the political fallout and (almost) always did it with a smile. More than anything, Jeff’s courage distinguished him as a member of the General Assembly and his example is something I pray will endure through the years. Jeff does things for the right reasons — to help people and improve the lives of many rather than personal notoriety or the trappings of public office. I learned so much from him during my time in the House and beyond and am proud to call him a friend. The legacy he leaves is not limited to his work with education and school resource officers, housing policy, holding law enforcement accountable, and revamping our firearm policies in the Commonwealth — all of which are to be commended and held in high esteem. Importantly and probably less appreciated is the fact that his fingerprints can be found all over almost every significant policy achievement during his tenure in the House. His insight, expertise, and legal acumen allowed decent ideas to morph into good bills and then excellent policies. These skills also stopped bad ideas from slipping through the cracks. Nevertheless, he never sought attention and glory for his work. I will always admire his ability to let others celebrate while knowing his role in the process and the ultimate benefit for our society at large. That is the mark of a true public servant. The City of Richmond and the Commonwealth are better for his service. He’s given everything he had in the spirit of helping his community and our state and for that he should be commended. I am lucky to be able to chat with him whenever I need (Anedra often says This year will mark the end of the current service in the House of Delegates for Michael P. Mullin, a Democrat residing in James City County. Mullin, a sevenyear veteran of the General Assembly, chose not to seek re-election following the redistricting of the state’s legislative districts. His impact on the Commonwealth included significant reform of the criminal justice system, including perhaps the most significant policy reform in the history of the Commonwealth. As a member of the James City County Board of Supervisors, I can also attest to his accessibility and responsiveness in helping the localities he represents navigate their sometimes challenging relationship with the Commonwealth. Mike Mullin was elected to the House in November 2016, in a special election to replace Delegate T. Montgomery Mason, who resigned his House seat in successfully seeking election to the Senate of Virginia, to fill the vacancy created by the death of Senator John Miller. Delegate Mullin was subsequently elected in 2017, 2019, and 2021. His district included parts of Newport News, James City County, York County, and the City of Williamsburg. Mike Mullin’s profession as an attorney and his deeply held faith propelled his interest in criminal justice reform. It was not surprising for someone who has served as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in Suffolk and Hampton. More surprising was the fact that he earned a place in Virginia’s history as the Chief Patron in the House of Delegates in the abolition of Virginia’s death penalty. The death penalty had a history stretching back to the earliest English colony in Jamestown and resulted in Virginia being second only to Texas in the number of executions by the end of the 20th Century. Mullin and Scott Surovell in the Senate sponsored the abolition legislation, which made Virginia the first Southern state to end the death penalty. Governor Ralph Northam, who signed the legislation, has called this his “proudest moment as Governor.” As he prepares to leave the General Assembly, Mike Mullin has returned to private practice, as an attorney with the Hampton Roads law firm of Randall, Page, and Bruch. He and his spouse, Rebecca, live in James City County. The family includes three sons. Tragically, the Mullins suffered the loss of their infant son, Peter, on the day after his decision not to seek re-election. In the midst of this difficult time, they mobilized friends and supporters to raise funds in support of Children’s Hospital of Richmond. The 42-year-old Delegate Mullin is a graduate of Christopher Newport University and received his law degree from the Catholic University in Washington. John McGlennon is a professor at William and Mary College and a member of the Board of Supervisors of James City County. Michael P. Mullin Delegate 2016-2024 BY JOHN MCGLENNON Jeffrey M. “Jeff” Bourne Delegate 2017-2024 BY JAY JONES