Virginia State Delegate Lamont Bagby, who has represented the 74th District for two years, has been elected as the new Chair of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus (VLBC).
The caucus’s new Vice Chair is Senator Jennifer McClellan of the 9th Senate District who was elected to the Senate of Virginia in January 2017. The VLBC Treasurer is Delegate Matthew James who represents the 80th House District of Portsmouth, and VLBC’s new Treasurer is Delegate Marcia Price, who represents the 95th House District of Newport News.
Most of the caucus members are Democrats.
As they join their colleagues on January 10 when the 2018 edition of the Virginia General Assembly convenes, the VLBC will have not only a slate of new officers, but an additional 20th member, Del. Jennifer Carroll Fo. Foy beat a Republican incumbent in the 2nd House District, as part of Democrats’ gains in seats in that chamber during the recent general election. Her district sits in the Prince William and Stafford Counties.
Another new member is Delegate-Elect Jay Jones, who will represent the 89th District seat in Norfolk. He replaced former Delegate Daun Hester, who is now the Norfolk City Treasurer.
“I am so grateful for the support from those who came before me,” said Bagby, who will replace Del. Rosalyn Tyler as VLBC Chairperson. “We are going to push to be in the mix on legislation and as co-chairs of vital committees.”
Bagby said Democrats have an opportunity to advance the expansion of Medicaid to allow poor and working class Virginians to access the Affordable Care Act; to improve funding for public school teachers and programs, and the two state-supported HBCUs (NSU and VSU); and to improve programs for youth.
Bagby said the deadly opioid addiction problem nationally and in Virginia is of concern to caucus members.
A side effect of this problem is affecting individuals who are impacted by Sickle Cell Anemia. These individuals experience significant pain when their sickle-like red blood cells clog up the blood flow in their joints and are often prescribed opioids for pain. However, increasingly medical professionals may refuse to give these opioid medicines to people suffering from sickle cell episodes, suspecting they are abusing powerful drugs to abate the pain.
Bagby said this issue is being addressed specifically by several members of the Virginia Black Caucus.
Bagby, 40, was born in Richmond and is a graduate of Norfolk State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Education. He received his Master’s degree in Education Leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University.
He was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates for the 74th District in a special election in July 2015, replacing Joe Morrissey, who resigned in April. The district includes Charles City County, parts of Henrico County and the City of Richmond.
Bagby is a former member of the Henrico County School Board, 2008 to 2015, serving as chair in 2011.
He was appointed briefly to the NSU Board of Visitors (BOV) in 2014, before he opted to run for the House of Delegates.
Delegate Bagby also serves as the Director of Operations at the Peter Paul Development Center.
Bagby said that the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus is excited, as most Democrats, considering the party has erased the 32 seat majority the Republicans enjoyed until November’s general election.
Bagby said that Democrats will no co-chair House committees, including the most powerful ones. He said that the tenure of many of the Caucus members will place them in such positions.
Bills once ignored or voted down by the Republicans over the past 18 years may now be given consideration for adoption and moved to the floor of the House for a vote.
By Leonard E. Colvin
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