Here is our interview with Delegate Dave Marsden (D-41, Burke). We submitted the questions to him via e-mail and he replied and returned them to us within a couple of days. Here it is in its entirety — as the questions were submitted and as his answers were written — without editing.
Familyfoundationblog: Delegate Marsden, thank you for joining us for this blog interview. Contrary to what some believe, we’re all about bi-partisanship. Thanks for helping us reach out and build some bridges. More people should know we may disagree on some issues, but that both sides have a healthy respect for the opposite side’s rights and duties to represent their points of view.
Let’s get to the questions:
Familyfoundationblog: Everyone’s talking about the deficit and the budget this session. Who’s fault is it that we have this deficit? Aside from the budget, what issues will be the biggest this session and what are your expectations for this year’s session? How’s it gone so far?
Delegate Dave Marsden: We have an outdated tax system prone to significant swings. Some of the proposals for funding transportation border on the ridiculous. This session has been fine, but budget decisions will be the most important issue.
Familyfoundationblog: Every year an interesting bill, whether ridiculous or of substance, flies under the radar, gains some momentum and causes a bit of a stir. Have you seen any such bill yet? If not, what bills not on the radar do you think are worthy of more attention?
Delegate Dave Marsden: None
Familyfoundationblog: Over the last few election cycles, House Democrats have steadily increased their numbers. To what do you attribute this? What have the Democrats done right, what have the Republicans done wrong, or is it just a matter of changing demographics in Virginia, especially where you are from, in Northern Virginia?
Delegate Dave Marsden: Republicans are voting ideologically and not solving problems.
Familyfoundationblog: Many people have the wrong idea, mainly because of the media’s portrayal, but the General Assembly does about 95 percent of its work in a mostly bi-partisan manner. In the past social conservatives, moderates and liberals have worked on Pay Day Lending together and this year, even Planned Parenthood agreed with us on a bill (HB 1980, as amended, abstinence education/FLE). On what areas can conservatives, moderates and liberals work together?
Delegate Dave Marsden: My Civil Law sub-committee is the best example of non-partisan legislation I have seen, since I have been here.
Familyfoundationblog: You are on the Courts of Justice Committee and two priority Family Foundation bills will (or have) come before the committee: HB 2634 (Unborn Child Pain Information) and HB 2579 (Ultrasound Viewing Before an Abortion). Critics say these are “extreme” bills, but most people think information and making informed decisions on anything in life, especially about life and health, is good and commonsense. What are your positions on these bills and why do you support or oppose them?
Delegate Dave Marsden: I do not support these bills. People should make their decisions without external mandates from the State. Also these bills are expensive and time consuming, which leaves the question, who pays?
Familyfoundationblog: Another priority bill for us is HB 2314 (Religious Liberty for State Police Chaplains). Do you agree with the state police superintendent’s decision to not let the chaplain’s pray “In Jesus’ name”? Isn’t that their duty if they are Christian Chaplains?
Delegate Dave Marsden: We are not supposed to pray that way in the House of Delegates sessions, but we break that rule all the time.
Delegate Marsden, thank you for your time during this very busy portion of session. We hope you enjoyed the experience and will come back again.