Elected to the Virginia Senate in 2010 in a special election, Senator Marsden has earned a reputation as a hard working legislator who gets things done for FairfaxCounty and the Commonwealth. Before serving in the Virginia Senate, he served 4 years in the Virginia House of Delegates. Never afraid to put progress above partisanship, Senator Marsden has worked with Democrats and Republicans to pass legislation to relieve traffic congestion, improve education, and create jobs and he brings over 40 years of experience and expertise in the juvenile justice field to the legislature.
A Life of Leadership and Service
A lifelong resident of Northern Virginia, Dave Marsden has lived in Burke since 1977 with his wife Julia. Burke is where they raised their three sons. Dave graduated From W.T. Woodson High School in 1966 and Randolph-MaconCollege in 1970, when he began a career in Juvenile Justice as a Probation Officer with the Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. He went on to establish and operate FairfaxCounty’s shelter home for youth with severe family problems and was later appointed as the first Superintendent of Fairfax County’s JuvenileDetentionCenter. Under Dave’s 17 years of leadership, there was never an escape or serious injury to residents at the facility.
Dave left the detention center in 1999 to become the Legislative Aide for Virginia House of Delegates member Jim Dillard. In 2000 Governor Jim Gilmore appointed him Chief Deputy and then Acting Director of the 2700 person Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice. After serving for 6 months in the administration of Governor Mark Warner, Dave joined Development Services Group, Inc. (DSG), where he now manages a U.S. Department of Justice program that helps localities reduce youth gang activity and violent youth crime.
Dave has long been active in local community organizations. He served as President of the EnterpriseSchool and the West*Lynch Foundation, in addition to coaching basketball, football, and soccer with the Braddock Road Youth Club, (BRYC). He also coached baseball for the Annandale-North Springfield Little League.
I recently had lunch with esteemed political reporter, Charlie Cook, author of The Cook Political Report (http://cookpolitical.com/). I discussed with him my theory of what truly divides Americans, a Republican/rural/liberty vs. Democratic/urban/justice divide. In his most recent newsletter he discusses that theory. I think he is spot on in his commentary, especially the part about me being one of the smartest state legislators around! All jokes aside, he makes good points about needing to better understand each other and work together for the betterment of our country. I hope legislators on both sides of the aisle pay attention.
Delegate Kaye Kory and I are holding a town hall meeting to discuss the conclusion of the 2017 General Assembly Session and our successful Veto Session. We will give a brief update and take questions from the audience. Details below, I hope you will join us.
Virginia’s Troubled History of Voter Disenfranchisement
Virginia has a troubling history of disenfranchising voters based on criminal convictions and failing to restore those rights when disenfranchised citizens have completed their sentences. In the recently completed 2017 session of the General Assembly, Republican Sen. Tommy Norment introduced a constitutional amendment (SJ 223) that would have allowed for the restoration of voting rights for violent felons (which includes burglary and certain drug offenses) after release from prison, a five-year waiting period, and the payment of all fines, fees, and restitution. Democratic opposition argued that these unpaid monies constituted a modern version of the poll tax. Though poll tax laws are no longer on the books, Virginia has one of the nation's most extreme policies restricting the voting rights of criminal offenders and one of the most racially disproportionate, with more than one in five black adults barred from voting due to a criminal conviction.
The 2017 General Assembly Session has officially adjourned Sine Die, concluding our legislative session. Over the next few weeks Governor McAuliffe and his staff will review the legislation passed and approve, veto, or amend the bills. Included this year are eight bills that I passed.
The most significant bill I had passed this year was SB1027, legislation to allow for the growing, processing, and dispensing of Medical Marijuana Oils. Three years ago, I met with Fairfax County residents who had members of their family who suffered from intractable epilepsy. Intractable epilepsy is a neurological disorder that produces serious, debilitating, and many times life threatening seizures. Many people, especially children, can suffer from hundreds of seizures a day. The severity of this ailment can’t be downplayed. These families have spent countless hours in emergency rooms trying to stabilize their loved ones and many hours seeking better treatment. The FDA approved drugs come with some of the worst imaginable side effects.
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