Republican Delegate Dave Albo (HOD-42) announced to his colleagues Wednesday that, after 24 years serving the citizens of his district, he will not seek re-election to the Virginia General Assembly.
That was not the news expected out of the Veto Session taking place in Richmond. His announcement was also posted on his website along with a highlight of his accomplishments. It’s a list that is worth a look.
As news of Albo’s retirement spread, political reporter Graham Moomaw with the Richmond Times-Dispatch noted the blue-leaning district created the potential for a Democratic pickup, and added:
A criminal defense attorney who chairs the House of Delegates courts committee, has served in the House since 1994, Albo announced his retirement in a floor speech during the General Assembly’s one-day veto session
Albo said he was confident he could win re-election, but can no longer spend 80 to 100 days per year away from his law practice while serving in Richmond.
“I just cannot financially do it anymore,” Albo said.
He joked that Del. Robert B. Bell, R-Albemarle, was “smiling” in anticipation of becoming the next courts chairman.
Albo’s Fairfax-based 42nd District is one of the most Democratic-leaning House districts held by a Republican, making the open seat a prime opportunity for Democrats looking to eat into the 66-34 Republican majority.
House Speaker Bill Howell, who is also retiring at the end of this year, released a statement about Albo’s anounceent:
“I cannot begin to express how grateful I am to Dave for his service to the Commonwealth in the House of Delegates. Dave’s 23-year service is marked with high distinction and honor. There has not been a more effective leader for Northern Virginia in the last decade than Dave. His foresight on transportation helped usher in a much-needed comprehensive transportation reform package. As the chair of the Courts Committee, Dave made significant contributions to the legal community, including working to improve Virginia’s justice system. He will be sorely missed in Richmond. I also want to thank Dave for his friendship over the years. I wish Dave and Rita the very best as they begin a new chapter in their life.”
Here is Dave Albo’s announcement on his website:
Next to marrying Rita and adopting Ben, serving the people of West Springfield, Fairfax Station, South County, Mason Neck, and Mount Vernon has been the greatest honor of my life. I grew up here and did what I could for 24 years to keep our neighborhoods the best place to live, work, and raise a family.
After much thought, I have decided not to seek reelection to the House of Delegates this coming November. While I still enjoy the job and love the public service, I can no longer afford to take 80+ days a year off work to serve in the General Assembly. In addition, I don’t have a monopoly on all the good ideas – there are lots of very capable public servants living in my district who can do a great job. It’s not “my seat,” it is the people of our neighborhoods’ seat, and I am sure there is someone out there who would like to serve.
Many do not realize that I hold George Washington’s and George Mason’s seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. Wow – I got to do the same job as these Founding Fathers! I started out as an intern in 1986. I was first elected in 1993, and have had the honor of serving as Chairman of the House Courts of Justice Committee for the past 12 years. This has enabled me to do lots of great things to help people. Nothing great is achieved alone, so don’t think I take sole credit for these, but I would humbly say that I played a lead role in bills which accomplished the following:
• Authored the Northern Virginia sections of the 2013 Transportation Act that raises money for roads and rail with the iron clad guarantee that it stays in NOVA • Closed literally hundreds of loopholes in the DUI and criminal laws to keep people safe • Helped build South County High School • Wrote most of the laws to fight gangs • Preserved thousands of acres of open space • Made certain types of abuse of companion animals a felony • Closed the loophole that allowed the VA Tech killer to acquire a gun • Helped people with mental health problems by establishing Mandated Outpatient Treatment • Allowed oil derived from Marijuana to be used to treat intractable epilepsy • Rewrote Virginia’s adoption laws to make it easier for children to be adopted • Following 9/11 when 10 of my constituents were incinerated in the Pentagon, I passed the first law in the U.S. to require legal presence in Virginia to obtain a Driver’s License, and passed Virginia’s Anti-Terrorism law which gave police new legal tools to catch terrorists and apply the death penalty for terrorism • Massively increased punishments on child molesters • Modernized Virginia’s Computer Crimes Act • Co-created Judicial Performance Evaluation system • Required all people arrested for a crime to be checked for immigration status • Two little things that we all liked: Banned commercial truck parking on our Fairfax County residential streets, and banned signs on the sides of our streets and in the medians • While it was not my bill, I wrote the language that bans smoking in restaurants • Changed the word “which” to “that” in the speeding code — just checking to see if you are actually reading this. Thought it might be too boring. And yes, I actually did change “which” to “that.” If you really want to be bored, e-mail me and I will explain it!
George Washington started our long history of the “citizen- legislator” when he declined to run for another term as President so he could return to being a regular citizen. He went back to Mount Vernon to be a farmer.
Likewise, I will continue my career as a criminal and traffic defense attorney. I look forward to transitioning my House of Delegates office to the new public servant who is elected to serve.
Again, it has been one of the greatest privileges to serve our neighborhood, and I am so grateful to have had this opportunity.
David B. Albo