The most common question I get these days is “how does it feel to be retired?”
The quick answer is of course to explain that I am not yet retired. My announcement last February that I would not be seeking re-election meant that when my current term ends on January 8, 2024, I will be officially retired. In the meantime, I am attending all interim meetings of committees and will attend a special session of the General Assembly if a meeting is called to resolve differences in the budget. My office continues to assist constituents whenever possible.
The election to fill the delegate seat for the 7th District will be held on Nov. 7, 2023, with early voting beginning on Sept. 22. I am supporting Karen Keys-Gamarra who won the recent Democratic Primary to succeed me.
The next most frequent question is whether I will get to keep my Number 1 House of Delegates car license plate. The answer is “yes” I can keep it as a memento, but not on my car. I qualified to purchase it as a vanity plate having the most seniority in the House of Delegates. When my term ends the person having the most seniority at the time will qualify to purchase the new Number One plate for their car. My current plate will go on a plaque that my son has agreed to make for me to hang on the wall of the office in my home. I can attest that the plate as the most visible indication of your office encourages courteous driving as most everyone can recognize immediately who you are.
And people want to know “what are you going to do when you retire?” Working in my native plant garden for sure brings me lots of pleasure and is good for my physical and mental health. Travel certainly because there are a few countries in Europe we have not yet visited, and then there is the rest of the world! We intend to travel more in Virginia and this country as there are many state and national parks we need to visit or revisit.
There is one absolute in terms of what I am going to do when I retire, and that is not quit! For the last half-century, I have been a candidate for elected office or an elected official. I do not intend to quit now. I am not retiring now because the job I started out many years ago has been completed — far from it! My body tells me it is time to retire from regular employment, but I fully intend to stay involved in writing about and speaking on public issues. I want to add thoughtful consideration and alternatives to the many public issues we face!
Actions on the part of the Youngkin administration over the past several months convince me of the necessity to stay involved. The heartless policy proposed for the schools on LGBTQ+ students must be turned back. Sending a hundred troops to the Southern border with a camera crew in tow shows the partisan intent of this gimmick. Showing an appalling lack of knowledge of history tells me that someone needs to be looking over his shoulder.
Retire, yes! Quit? no way!