BRISTOL, Va. — State Del. Israel O’Quinn said Tuesday his new role as deputy majority leader for the Virginia House of Delegates carries much responsibility and a greater workload.
O’Quinn’s appointment was announced by new Majority Leader-designee Del. Terry Kilgore, R-Gate City, on Tuesday and gives Southwest Virginia two of only five leadership positions in the 100-member House of Delegates. Republicans retook the House during the November election.
“This wasn’t a complete shock. The speaker-elect and Del. Kilgore have been discussing this for several weeks. I knew my name was among several being talked about,” O’Quinn said.
“It’s an honor because in Virginia we don’t have many leadership positions. It’s really an extension of the majority leader so in addition to working on bills and budget amendments, I’ll have the additional responsibility of working on his priorities. It’s a tremendous opportunity,” O’Quinn said.
Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Woodstock, is slated to become the next speaker of the house when lawmakers convene to Richmond in January.
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“Israel O’Quinn is one of the brightest minds in the General Assembly,” Gilbert said in a written statement. “And his mastery of policies that come before the House and the rules that govern it will be a major asset to Majority Leader Kilgore and the House Republican Caucus as we help lead Virginia forward.”
Kilgore said O’Quinn, R-Bristol, will “play a critical role in ensuring that the session runs smoothly and that we achieve our legislative priorities.”
Kilgore will soon begin his 15th term in the House representing Lee, Scott, part of Wise County and the city of Norton. O’Quinn will begin his sixth term representing the fifth district including the city of Bristol, Galax, Grayson, parts of Smyth and Washington counties.
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