Local Commentary

Jim Scott’s Richmond Report

Lillian Hull

Delegate Bob Hull’s mother died last week. She had been ill for some time. I was indeed saddened by her loss.

Lillian Hull and I met when I was knocking on door during my first race for elective office: Providence District Supervisor. Without much hope of success, I challenged the incumbent Republican, spent slightly more than $2500, and won the election by 6%.

Shortly after I knocked on the Hull door in Pine Spring precinct, Lillian gave me her endorsement. She was a strong Democrat, who adored her son, Bob, and his sister, Judy, and their families. I always enjoyed our infrequent chats, and her sunny disposition. Nancy and I will miss her.

Flora Crater

Another strong Democrat whom I admired, Flora Crater, died in February at the age of 94. Born in Costa Rica, Flora became a leader for civil rights in Virginia and the nation.

Her loss in 1967 to Republican Tom Wright because of her strong stand in favor of equal housing opportunities, prompted me to run, successfully, against Wright in 1971. When I ran for re-election in 1975, Flora strongly supported me. She was the first President of the National Organization for Women, Virginia chapter, and the first chair of the Fairfax County Re-development and Housing Authority.

Flora was the founder and editor of the Woman Activist newsletter, and the Almanac of Virginia Politics which she edited and published. Although she failed in her effort to gain support of the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution, she made enormous contributions to her adopted state and to her nation.

What is more dangerous-guns or cigarette smoke?

Two of the most contentious bills to pass the General Assembly this year underscored the changing, sometimes conflicting, preferences of Virginians as reflected in legislation.

Significant majorities of the House and Senate passed bills banning smoking in restaurants and bars. Slightly larger majorities passed bills allowing concealed weapons in the same venues. In short, many members of General Assembly wanted to ban smoking, but allow people to carry concealed guns into restaurants. Apparently the folks who voted for both (29 in the House) bills believe that smoking is more dangerous than firearms. Phillip Morris is not very happy, but the NRA probably is. Any elation at these mixed signals will probably be short-lived. The Governor has already signed the smoking ban bill, and is expected to veto the guns-in-bars bills as he has before.