In 2003, Michelle McQuigg (R-51), an incumbent in the Virginia House who has held this seat since 1998, ran unopposed for re-election in her district, which serves an area of Prince William County including Occoquan.
Thankfully, this year she won't have it so easy.
Earnie Porta, a certified financial planner from Oqqoquan, declared his candidacy in front of a cheering crowd at Occoquan Town Hall on Saturday. The Potomac News reports:
Porta chided the last session of General Assembly for concentrating on the less lofty goals of license plate slogans, bake sale rules, road names and "the subject that recently brought international fame to Virginia, a bill to fine people if their underwear is showing."
"Now these things are comical," the 41-year-old Porta said, "but they would be funnier if they were not bracketed by more divisive and mean-spirited legislation that so often seems less aimed at solving problems than at stigmatizing, if not demonizing, some of our very own relatives, friends, neighbors and fellow citizens."
Porta further accused some in the General Assembly of taking ideological stances to divide the electorate and "close off debate" instead of doing the "heavy lifting required to solve the problems that face all of us."
Speaking of the heavy lifting of problems important to residents in the 51st, solving transportation problems in Northern Virginia is not just good for business; it's a moral issue, since traffic delays and commuting problems contribute to great stress and result in families having much less time to spend with one another or in service to the community. Porta advocates innovative systems such as a "modern bus rapid transit system" and more local control over local issues.
As far as I can see, Porta does not yet have a Web presence, but it's great that he's not allowing Del. McQuigg to have a free pass again this year. Occoquan-area residents interested in getting involved in Democracy for Virginia are encouraged to attend the Occoquan DFA Meetup on the first Wednesday of every month!
UPDATE: Earnie Porta does have a Web site - http://www.earnieporta.com. Visit and help!