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State Senator Marsden Shares ‘Insider Tips’ With Newcomers

Where to find Del. David Bulova bartending (maybe), and feel free to call Senator Marsden.

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State Sen. Dave Marsden (D-37) in his Richmond office last February.

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State Sen. Dave Marsden (D-37) reviewing legislation in the Senate Chambers of Virginia’s historic State Capitol building in Richmond last February.

Q: What tips do you have for someone new to the city?

A: The possibilities for getting involved in a new community are endless. Throw yourself a “welcome to the neighborhood party” by having your new neighbors over. Join a civic club, Lions, rotary, etc. Join a church, the PTA, or the political party committee of your choice. Just don’t sit there … get started today!

‘Insider’ Information About State Senator David Marsden

David Marsden (D-37) is currently serving his second term as a senator in the Virginia General Assembly. A Fairfax County native, Marsden has a reputation in Richmond as being smart and down-to-earth, as quip with a quip as he is with salient facts about legislation and Virginia’s colorful history. He also has the distinction of being one of our tallest legislators, standing about 6 feet and 4 inches, which makes it easier for him to literally “reach across the aisle.”

Del. David Bulova (D-37) has shared a room with Marsden in Richmond since joining the House of Delegates together in 2006. Bulova said that evenings at the townhouse usually consist of John Stewart, pizza and a recap of the day's victories and defeats. "Dave is extremely smart, but also has a genuine humility and knows not to take ourselves too seriously. He loves history and the community he grew up in. When we were first elected, he gave me a four-inch thick book about Virginia history and told me it would put the dynamics of the General Assembly in perspective. He was right. As a volunteer with Gadsby's Tavern Museum in Alexandria I've tried to get him interested in 18th century re-enacting. He's declined to-date, claiming he looks more like FDR, which he does in a way."

Q: Do you have a favorite restaurant or mom-and-pop bakery?

A: The new Thai Restaurant called Celadon at 8412 Old Keene Mill Road. They moved in to a spot that I used for a campaign headquarters a few years ago—a much better use of the space.

Q: Do you have a favorite park, bike or hiking trail?

A: The trail around Burke Lake is exactly 5 miles. It is beautiful and you can walk it or bike it. A must see. Take the kids on a train ride or on the merry-go-round while you are there.

Q: Is there an organization or group you would recommend that newcomers join?

A: The League of Woman Voters. Call them at 703-658-9150. Also, call up the Fairfax Board of Elections, 703-324-4735 or go to their website at fairfaxcounty.gov/elections. They need officials to serve at polling places on Election Day and it pays! You can’t beat non-partisan political involvement. My phone number is 703-964-6821. Call me if I can help with anything.

Q: What are the must-see and must-do events coming up in Fairfax?

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State Sen. Dave Marsden (D-37) standing in front of Virginia’s historic State Capitol building in Richmond last February.

A: Burke Center Days, 6060 Burke Center Parkway, is a great two-day festival to get a feel for the community on Sept. 8-9 in the central part of my district. In the west it’s Centreville Days on Oct. 19 at Rt. 28 and Lee Highway. The Annandale Parade is a hoot if you live in the eastern part of the district, October 26 at 10 a.m. Stick around for the festival which goes until 5 p.m.

Q: What would be on your personal list of things to do, places to see if you knew you were moving out of town?

A: My list of things to do before you leave town is, first … don’t leave! This is a great place to live. But if you must, try to take in an event at the historic Gatsby’s Tavern/Museum in Old Town Alexandria. Lots of costumes and fun. Virginia House of Delegates member David Bulova (his wife Gretchen runs the place) may be the bartender—exercise caution. Visit Robert E. Lee home at Arlington Cemetery, then check out Mount Vernon for George Washington and Oak Hill in Loudoun County for James Monroe. Great gardens. And the last question, even though you didn’t ask, should you always vote? Yes!

Q: We always get to ask the last question. Back in January, you shared your New Year’s resolution with us. You said: “I will not eat anything that comes on a toothpick in Richmond this session and will work out at the YMCA every day.” Did you keep that promise, senator?

A :( Long pause). Sure!