Lawmakers are back in Richmond this week for a special session on redistricting. And, for one lawmaker, it’s the last hurrah.
For Delegate Greg Habeeb of Salem, the Special Session of the General Assembly this week is sort of like the last day of school, a bittersweet end to his years as a lawmaker and one that creates a full circle for the delegate. He was elected in a 2011 special election during a special session about redistricting. And he’s leaving in 2018 during a special session about redistricting.
Habeeb says his legacy will be increasing transparency and improving the public education system. "And I’m really most proud of the fact that Virginia has the greatest civil litigation system in America. It’s the fairest. It’s the best. It’s balanced between all interests. And having chaired that subcommittee will give me great pride,” Habeeb said Thursday.
Republican Leader Todd Gilbert says Habeeb will leave a void. “Greg Habeeb is arguably the smartest person in this entire legislative body, both the House and the Senate. His intellect is keen. He is sharp. He is quick. If there’s anybody smarter I don’t know who they are,” Gilbert admitted.
Republicans aren’t just losing a friend. If they lose this seat to the Democrats in a special election, they would likely be forced into a power sharing agreement. Even if they retain the seat, Republicans have to make sure all their members are in the chamber for every vote — a problem that created some hurdles for the caucus this week when they were tied with Democrats and at odds over a procedural motion.