July 25, 2002
It's official: Del. James K. "Jay" O'Brien (R-40th) is running for senator in the 39th District. For quite some time, the buzz about O'Brien was that he'd run for state senate someday.
But now that Sen. Madison Marye (D-39th) this week announced his intention to resign, O'Brien's day has come. Wednesday afternoon, at the Clifton Town Meeting Hall, he officially threw his hat in the ring.
"I am eager to present my vision of governance to the people of the 39th District," he said. "For the 11 years I have represented Fairfax County in the Virginia House of Delegates, I have served with adherence to the Republican principles of low taxes, individual liberty and limited government. I look forward to bringing these fundamentals to the debate in this race and, if elected, to the State Senate of Virginia."
When redistricting shifted the 39th up to Northern Virginia, Marye no longer lived in the area he represented — nor was familiar with its issues. He also didn't want to pick up stakes and move. And now that he's tendering his resignation, his job is up for grabs — and O'Brien hopes to fill that void.
The next step is for Gov. Mark Warner to call a special election in the new 39th; if O'Brien wins, his 40th District seat in the House of Delegates will then, in turn, require its own special election before the General Assembly convenes again in January. The 39th Senate District includes 25 Fairfax County precincts — Clifton and Newgate are among them — and eight Prince William County precincts.
A Clifton resident, O'Brien graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and is a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves. He was elected to the House of Delegates in 1991 and was the original patron of Megan's Law in Virginia, requiring the permanent registration of sex offenders. He and his wife Sevea have five children.