News Release - March 12, 2007
Statement of Senator John H. Chichester
As I stand at the beginning of my 29th year in the Virginia Senate, it is time to reflect both on the months ahead and on the years gone by. Those years, each and every one of them, carry unique memories. But collectively, they represent a time in my life of unparalleled honor - honor to represent the citizens of the 28th Senatorial district. I will be forever grateful and humbled by the trust that has been placed in me.
Magnifying that honor has been the chance to serve as a member of the Senate Finance Committee for the past 16 years, to chair the committee for half of those years, and to serve as a co-chairman for another four years. Chairing the Finance Committee brings many things - not the least of which is a respect for the complexity of real life and the need to balance many worthwhile and competing interests, while maintaining the highest fiscal integrity. That balance can't be achieved without a firm grounding in all aspects of the enterprise that we call state government.
The job of chairman brings a steep learning curve, and the learning never ends. It is a full-time job, and one that is all-consuming. In order to be successful, the Finance Committee chairman must be willing to live and breathe the state budget on a day-to-day basis. He must be willing to trade instant gratification for the state's long-term prosperity. He must be willing to advance positions that are sometimes unpopular. He must leave behind parochial interests and think ecumenically, because the chairman's district becomes the entire Commonwealth and her assets.
The rewards are many, but there is a price to pay. That price is exacted both physically and through the yoke of responsibility for Virginia's financial health, economic prosperity and fiscal structure that accompanies the position, not just for two months that one is in Richmond, but for 365 days of the year. While serving as chairman, I've had enormous support from other members of the Finance Committee, the Senate as a whole, and the dedicated and professional Finance Committee staff.
Senate Republicans and Democrats have labored side-by-side to keep Virginia 's financial house in order and to maintain the Triple-A bond rating that only a few states enjoy.
We have worked as a true team on many important and lasting issues. And that teamwork is evidenced by the fact that Virginiahas been named the best fiscally managed state in the Unionand the one that is most business friendly. Recently, it also was reported that a child growing up in Virginia has a better chance of success than they would have in any other state. We all should take great pride in that particular fact because everything we do is about the future.
I am so grateful that the citizens of the 28th Senatorial District have allowed me to be a part of that future. My time in the Senate has been incredibly rewarding personally, in so many different ways. And I am pleased to see that Virginia now stands at a high point in her long and illustrious history.
However, it is now time for the baton to be passed to another. My wife, Karen, and I have decided that we will not seek re-election for another term. She has been my partner in this endeavor for many years, but there are other things that we would like to do together. I have received the encouragement of so many people in the last three months to seek re-election, and I am eternally grateful to all who have supported me over the last 29 years. Yet, I believe that the end of this term is the right time for me to step down.
In 1978, when I first ran for this office, I said that the seat in the Senate belonged to the people and not to me. I also said that, for as long as I served, I would apply common-sense when making decisions. I have remained true to those statements. My gratitude will be never-ending to the citizens of the 28th Senatorial District for allowing me to represent their interests and to serve the Commonwealth.
I now turn my attention to the remainder of my 29th year in the Senate and to the important business that lies ahead. My last day of service will command as much energy and commitment as the first.