With a transportation bill approved and awaiting the governor's signature, Del. Dave Albo (R-42) considers this year's legislative session a success.
"I can't say I personally accomplished anything, but the Northern Virginia Republican team started this process 20 months ago, to create a Northern Virginia self-help plan for roads," said Albo, proud of his part in securing money to be raised and spent on transportation projects. "To see that embedded in the speaker's bill and sitting on the governor's desk waiting to be signed is pretty great."
The "self-help" plan Albo worked on is part of the transportation package that would provide $400 million to Northern Virginia, including a $200 million annual contribution from the state. Much of that funding would be used on maintenance of existing roads, Albo said, which are the cause of most of the complaints he hears.
"The local portion of the money will go to build secondary and residential roads, like Rolling Road and Braddock Road," he said. "That's where our real problem is in Fairfax County, we don't have enough secondary roads."
The transportation bill also provides more funding for mass transit, which Albo believes will become more important in the future as Rail to Dulles comes on line in the next decade.
"Eventually, we'll come to a point like Arlington and Alexandria, where you've built all the roads you can," he said. "That's why we're focusing on mass transit money."
AS THE CHAIRMAN of the Courts and Justice committee, Albo was able to pass a few bills regarding the sentencing of gang members who kill witnesses, like in the murder of Brenda Paz, who testified against members of MS-13 and was killed.
"We added witness to the 13 enumerated situations that were already part of the law to make sure than killing a witness was eligible for the death penalty," he said. "We also added a stipulation where someone involved in a murder who didn't pull the trigger, like [convicted sniper] John Allen Mohammed, can be put to death. He may not have pulled the trigger, but he picked out the victims."
Albo also passed legislation which permanently revokes a person's drivers license for their third driving while intoxicated (DWI) offense and also makes the offense a felony instead of a misdemeanor.
He also increased the penalty for pet owners who leave their pets outside in extreme heat or cold, making that felony instead of being charged with malicious neglect.
One of his frustrations with the past session was the inability to pass some legislation dealing with illegal immigrants.
"I don't know a single bill that passed in the Senate," he said. "I had a bill that would've prevented charities from using state or local government money to provide services to illegal immigrants but it didn't pass. I don't know why it didn't pass, you can't use a charity to accomplish something you can't do legally."
Another bill that would have prevented illegal aliens from receiving in-state tuition was also killed before leaving the House of Delegates.
"I understand that these bills are always controversial, they're not black and white," he said. "You have the kid who was dragged here by their parents and grew up in the U.S. who wants to go to college, but then you have the parents who have been taxpayers for 18 years and their daughter can't get into James Madison University. It doesn't make sense."
Albo is hoping for another chance to return to Richmond for the next session and has already turned in the paperwork required to run for re-election.
"I'm going to start knocking on doors next week," Albo said. "I've already raised a ton of money. The reason you can't beat me is I'm always running."