Seniority is an asset that Del. Tom Bolvin (R-43rd) relies on heavily when approaching lofty local issues. It also helps that in the General Assembly he sits on two important committees. He's the senior Fairfax County delegate on the state's Transportation Committee and one of the senior members on the Education Committee.
"My seniority is a definite benefit to my constituents," Bolvin said. "I've only been in there four years, but I've risen up quite a bit. Seniority is the key in the legislative process."
Bolvin wants to concentrate on education dollars this year, and he's open to innovative ways to fund this, including the possibility of increased taxes, he said. Instead of focusing the tax increase on one thing such as cigarettes or gas, he thinks it should be a total package.
"The tax reform has to be a comprehensive package," Bolvin said. "You can't single it out, piece by piece. The governer said he wouldn't come out with anything until after the election."
Del. Jim Dillard (R-41st) is in charge of the Education Committee and appointed Bolvin. He likes Bolvin's realistic view.
"I've thought enough of him to put him in charge of an Education Subcommittee ahead of someone else with more experience," Dillard said.
Franconia neighbor John Neves remembers a past Independence Day when Bolvin went around putting flags up.
"That personal touch, to a lot of people that means something," Neves said. "I basically disagree with him on some things, [but] he's got a nice personality. He's able to get to people."
Franconia resident Kim Phass thinks Bolvin's efforts have the community in mind.
"He's actually looking out for the best interest of this area," she said.
TRANSPORTATION is the other area where state dollars are needed. Some solutions Bolvin is looking at include low-cost transportation additions such as the new slug line at Springfield Mall he's trying to get off the ground, and the "HOT lanes" proposal. HOT lanes are created through the Public/Private Transportation Act (PPTA), where a private company would build additional lanes on the highway and would collect tolls.
"A system where a single driver can use HOV by paying a toll," Bolvin said. "I'm for that."
In the past, Bolvin has concentrated his efforts with a child safety-seat law, neighborhood parking efforts, and a bill that concentrated on textbooks and phonics. These are all areas where he's passed bills.
Del. Dave Albo (R-42nd) worked with Bolvin on the parking bill, which limited boat and commercial vehicle parking in the neighborhoods. Bolvin considered it like a quality-of-life issue.
"I think we'll work on the education formula change, our communities have so much in common," he said.
One area to increase funding Bolvin is not enthusiastic about is the idea of taking money from the state budget and putting it in the local budget. Taking state money will cause problems somewhere along the way.
"It's very difficult to lop off a chunk of the state budget without repercussions," Bolvin said. "We're probably going to run a bit of a deficit next year."
Bolvin considers himself his own worst critic. "I hold myself to a very high standard," he said. "It keeps me grounded and working hard."