State delegates and senators constitute the state's legislative branch. They draw up the state's budget and pass bills, which must be signed by the governor before they become law. Legislative sessions start in January and last 30 days in odd years and 60 days in even years.
The General Assembly was first convened in Jamestown in 1619, making Virginia's legislature the oldest continuous law-making body in the world.
Each of the 100 members of the House of Delegates represents approximately 71,000 citizens and is paid an annual salary of $17,640. The 40 state senators represent roughly 176,000 citizens and are paid a salary of $18,000.
Delegates serve two-year terms and all seats will be up for election in 2010; Senators serve four-year terms and all seats will be up for election in 2012. To find out who represents you or to track legislation, go to the General Assembly's Web page at http://legis.state.va.us.
<lst>Sen. Mark Herring (D-33): Herring was elected to the Senate of Virginia in January 2006 in a special election. In 1999, Herring was elected to the Loudoun Board of Supervisors representing the Leesburg District. In the Senate he serves on the Commerce and Labor, General Laws and Technology, Local Government and Rehabilitation and Social Services committees.
Del. Robert Marshall (R-13): He has been a member of the Virginia House of Delegates since 1992. In the house he is vice chair of the Privileges and Elections committee, and serves on the Counties Cities and Towns and Finance committees.
Del. David Poisson (D-32): He was the only Democrat in Virginia to defeat a sitting Republican in 2005, four-term incumbent Dick Black. Poisson serves on the House Counties Cities and Towns and Militia Police and Public Safety committees. His district includes Lowes Island, Cascades, Countryside, Sugarland Run, Ashburn, Ashburn Farm, Lansdowne and Broadlands.
Del. Tom Rust (R-86): Rust was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 2001. He is the vice chair of the House Science and Technology committee and serves on the Education, Transportation, Science and Technology and Commerce and Labor committees.