VCC Magazine Spring 2020

V irginia C apitol C onnections , S pring 2020 9 New Legislators Speak Up Virginia Capitol Connections Quarterly Magazine invited all freshmen legislators to submit a few remarks about their first General Assembly Session as members. Here’s what some of them told us: Delegate Amanda Batten (R-96th) “I’ve spent the past decade working with the General Assembly either as a legislative aide or with an advocacy organization. The year 2020, however, marked my first year as a member of the House of Delegates. I was frequently asked whether it felt ‘different’ to be a member of the House as opposed to my previous roles. The answer is a resounding “yes!” As an aide, one must research thousands of bills regardless of their committee assignment or ultimate fate (pass/fail). As a legislator, I was able to narrow my focus to bills that came before me in subcommittee, committee, and on the House floor—all while garnering insights from my more experienced House colleagues. 2020 was—and is—an historic year in our Commonwealth, and I was truly honored to have served as a member of the House of Delegates during this time.” Senator John Bell (D-13th) "I’m proud to have fulfilled several campaign promises in my first session as Senator. However, one of my most noteworthy accomplishments was as a lobbyist. As many people know, I'm a huge Costco fan, and I had the privilege of meeting with Costco’s VP. I told her I was disappointed that Costco no longer stocked my family’s favorite treat, the cinnamon rolls. Two weeks later, I was in my home Costco and the cinnamon rolls were back in stock. It was a hard- fought battle, but I’m proud of the service we did for SD-13 and the entire Commonwealth." Senator Jen Kiggans (R-7th) “As a first term ‘new’ senator, I did a lot of listening and a lot of learning during my first Session. I came to appreciate the weight of my one vote from my desk on the senate floor. In addition to visits from hundreds of people advocating for what they felt passionately about, we received hundreds of letters, cards, emails, and phone calls from constituents letting me know their opinion on issues important to them. My job was to listen and to cast my one vote to represent the majority of people who sent me to Richmond. It was and is one of the biggest honors of my life and one I take very seriously.” V