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.
“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.