1619-2019

Rappahannock News - - Comment - By Laura Galante

This week, we cel­e­brate the 400th an­niver­sary of the House of Burgesses, the first pop­u­larly elected leg­isla­tive as­sem­bly in the Amer­i­can colonies, and the old­est con­tin­u­ous law-mak­ing body in the West­ern Hemi­sphere.

On July 30, 1619, the Gov­er­nor of Vir­ginia con­vened the House of Burgesses as the first rep­re­sen­ta­tive leg­is­la­ture in the Amer­i­cas for a six­day meet­ing.

When the Vir­ginia colony de­clared its in­de­pen­dence from Great Bri­tain in 1776, the House of Burgesses be­came the House of Del­e­gates, which con­tin­ues to serve as the lower house of the Gen­eral As­sem­bly.

As my cam­paign gets ready to open our new of­fice, I've been think­ing about our Com­mon­wealth’s his­tory: 400 years is a long time in any democ­racy. The mem­bers of that leg­is­la­ture sought to make a real dif­fer­ence. They weren't con­tent to sit idly by and vote the way some­one else told them to vote.

They were thinkers, peo­ple who fo­cused on im­prov­ing Vir­ginia, even if it meant ruf­fling a few feath­ers and chal­leng­ing the sta­tus quo.

They were peo­ple elected to rep­re­sent the peo­ple, not spe­cial in­ter­ests like Vir­ginia Com­pany, and cer­tainly not the king.

Isn't it time we have that kind of rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the 18th Dis­trict today? Some­one who lis­tens to the peo­ple rather than their party. Some­one who votes in the in­ter­est of our cit­i­zens in­stead of the spe­cial in­ter­ests.

Help me be that leader.

Ed­i­tor’s note: Laura Galante is the Demo­cratic can­di­date for Vir­ginia’s 18th House of Del­e­gates Dis­trict, which in­cludes all of Rap­pa­han­nock County. She is chal­leng­ing Repub­li­can in­cum­bent Michael J. We­bert, who was first elected to the State House in 2011.

BY PETER F. ROTHERMEL

“If this be trea­son, make the most of it!” said Patrick Henry in a speach against the Stamp Act of 1765 in the Vir­ginia House of Burgesses.

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