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Votes

Marsden Heads to Richmond

Transportation tops Marsden’s list of important legislative issues for his 41st District.

Like most of the General Assembly members representing Northern Virginia, Del. Dave Marsden (D-41) wants to address the region’s transportation problems during the 2007 legislative session.

“[Transportation] is clearly the theme of the assembly session,” said Marsden. “It’s truly important.”

Marsden said House Republicans would need some nudging to see if a compromise can be reached. He is sponsoring a bill that would give localities the authority to grant real estate tax relief to the people who purchase newly constructed homes near mass transit stops.

“Let’s start building around transit,” said Marsden. “That’s what I’d like to get people to focus on.”

Marsden has been an advocate for eliminating the gang activity in his district, stretching from Springfield to Burke and Fairfax. The area has been cleaned up a bit this past year, and he’s trying to continue that by re-introducing a bill that would tackle gang violence from a immigration standpoint. If anyone is convicted of a gang-related offense and they’re in the United States illegally, authorities would be able to turn them into immigration enforcement. The bill passed in the House last year, but was held in the Senate, he said.

“We have to get at families that are gang-oriented families or households,” he said. “I’d rather do that than raid a restaurant kitchen [to catch illegal immigrants].”

MARSDEN SAID ANOTHER significant bill for him this session is one that would create a probation option for judges holding someone in civil contempt for child support. Since the violation is not criminal, no probation option is available, he said. Marsden wants to give them the option because he said it would not only save tax payers’ money by keeping the violator out of jail, but a case worker in a probation office would also be able to provide some guidance and support in a job search.

“You can save those [jail] costs, provide more support and get somebody to pay [their child support],” said Marsden. “We can help them get money to their children, and not have to be put in jail.”

In addition to a green building bill Marsden is co-sponsoring, he said he would introduce a close management initiative for government agencies. The bill deals with how an agency would spend the amount of excess revenue that it can tell it will have at the end of the fiscal year.

“When you realize you’re going to have surplus funding and there’s no time to spend it, there is a lot of pressure to spend it on silly things.”

The bill would require agencies to allocate the money for previously identified priorities within the first quarter of the fiscal year and they would also have to give some of it back to the state to apply toward the rainy day fund.

Marsden said he is confident he can win reelection. He enjoys representing the 41st District, and said he is planning on another hard-working campaign season.