Virginia Capitol Connections Winter 2023

Virginia Capitol Connections, Winter 2023 6 willingness to stand and fight for his beliefs. He will be remembered for his jokes and humorous stories. He will leave the Senate a stronger working body. As he said in his final statement, “My sell-by date has been reached.” Eva Teig Hardy is the retired Executive Vice President of Dominion Resources. She previously served in a variety of Cabinet positions including Labor and Health and Human Resources as well as the State Council on Higher Education. Members of the Virginia House of Delegates are issued license plates with numbers corresponding to their seniority and many look forward to steadily receiving lower numbers every couple of years. The holder of license plate number 1 hasn’t changed often. Delegate Kenneth R. Plum has had it since 2014. Ken’s 22 terms — that’s 44 years — makes him the senior Delegate. According to the House Clerk’s office, he is the second longest-serving member of the House of Burgesses/House of Delegates in its 404 years as a body. Ken’s historic length of service as a member of the oldest continuous legislative body in the Western Hemisphere is secondary to the quality of his service. Unlike many elected officials who endeavor to take full credit for every good thing they ever supported, Ken only talks of offering good ideas and of working as a team member to effectuate better government. He frequently has been among the first to propose a forward-thinking concept, realizing that the most profound ideas take a lot of time to be appreciated. He does not care whose name is on a bill or amendment; he is content to transform good ideas into public policy, no matter how long it takes or who gets the credit. Ken introduced a bill in 1982 to create a process for non-partisan independent redistricting. This was the first such bill introduced in the General Assembly. Even though legislation was finally enacted in 2020 for this purpose, and someone else received credit as chief patron, Ken enthusiastically supported its passage as if he was its chief patron. Despite enormous and potentially devastating political headwinds until recently, Ken courageously opposed the death penalty throughout his career and he consistently opposed every proposed expansion of its application. Ken has made a difference in Virginia and the world, on two important health initiatives. He introduced the first legislation in Virginia to combat Alzheimer’s Disease, creating a commission and a fund to promote its treatment and ultimate cure. He was a relentless advocate for research in metabolic disease. His bill addressing biotinidase deficiency was the first legislation on this subject in the world according to the March of Dimes, and his bill is the prototype for legislation that has been enacted throughout the world. Legislators often develop specific areas of interest. Ken, perhaps because he is a career educator, has constantly developed expertise in an ever-expanding number of areas, like public education, transportation, conservation, health care, technology, public safety, and even agriculture (there’s a big constituency in Reston for that one!). He wanted to have first-hand knowledge of all the important issues before him. Legislators are categorized in many ways: Democrat or Republican; liberal, moderate or conservative; urban, suburban or rural; but the most significant distinction is show-horse or workhorse, and Ken is the epitome of the work-horse — always more interested in making a difference than a headline. Ken sets the standard for keeping in close and meaningful contact with constituents. He didn’t invent regular and frequent town hall meetings, but you won’t find anyone who has done them better. These were not just close to election time or when the legislature was not in session. Even during General Assembly sessions, Ken would invite government officials to address his town hall meetings and personally drive them from Richmond to his district for these meetings and return to Richmond in the wee hours of the morning. Ken is one of the best at Kenneth R. Plum Delegate 1978-1979; 1982-2024 BY BERNIE HENDERSON to the members of the House and Senate who have served a combined 600-plus years as members of the General Assembly of Virginia. THANK YOU for your service to the Commonwealth. THANK YOU for your time, your open door, your listening ear, and your thoughtful deliberation. THANK YOU for leading Virginia into the next season of growth and prosperity. YOU WILL BE MISSED. My very best to you, your families and your staffs. Susan S. Gaston Thank You “Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory.” MAHATMA GANDHI