Lucas should have supported Suffolk

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 4, 2004

Staff report

Noticeably absent from Suffolk’s support at Tuesday’s meeting of the Senate Local Government Committee was Sen. Louise Lucas.

The Norfolk Democrat, who represents a portion of Suffolk, joined 10 committee colleagues in opposing Senate Bill 393. The bill, submitted by Committee Chairman Fred Quayle at the request of the City of Suffolk, would have allowed Suffolk to delay residential developments for a period of years until school facilities were in place to accommodate the influx of students a new development would bring.

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Four Senators supported the bill.

Outside of her no vote, Lucas didn’t utter word during the hearing. That’s disappointing.

SB393 never stood much of chance of passing because of the power real estate interests and developers who shower lawmakers with thousands of dollars in campaign contributions each year were opposed to it.

Nonetheless, one would think Lucas should feel at least some allegiance to her constituents. How much trouble would it have been for her to chime in and reinforce Mayor E. Dana Dickens’ comments — basically that Suffolk cannot afford to open the floodgate for builders without a large increase in the tax burden on the citizenry?

But she was a no show for Suffolk and its children on Tuesday and she owes her constituents an explanation.