Congratulations Senator Quayle

Published 10:25 pm Friday, April 15, 2011

It’s easy for people in Suffolk to overlook the contribution that state Senator Fred Quayle has made to their lives. He’s such a quiet and humble man — a true contradiction in politics — that many people don’t realize just how important his service in Richmond has been to Suffolk.

On Thursday, however, the Suffolk Rotary Club and the North Suffolk Rotary Club joined up to remedy any oversight by the people of Sen. Quayle’s hometown. Presenting the legislator with their annual Suffolk First Citizen Award, the service organizations acknowledged the important work he has done on the city’s behalf, both in Richmond and right here at home.

Quayle, who grew up in Suffolk and attended and graduated from the city’s public school system, has lived inside and outside of the city at various points in his adult life. But hearing the stories that he and his lifelong friends tell about his life here make it clear that his heart has always been in Suffolk.

Email newsletter signup

Since his election in 1991 to the Virginia Senate, Quayle has made serving the citizens of Suffolk his top priority in Richmond. City officials say that he has always gone to bat for them, bringing before the General Assembly whatever legislation they needed help with.

When the city sought direct election of its mayor, for example, he took charge of the charter change that had to make its way through the General Assembly. Another time, he helped ensure that the city would benefit from all of the sales taxes collected by the downtown-area Hilton Garden Inn, instead of splitting that money with the state.

But even the regional work that he is known for benefits Suffolk in the long run. The Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, which features Suffolk athletes among its collections, and the Virginia Children’s Museum, both are great resources for Suffolk residents, despite the fact that they are located in Portsmouth. And his sponsorship of legislation that resulted in the creation of a “Friend of the Chesapeake Bay” license plate, whose proceeds have generated more than $5.5 million for groups that are working to restore the Bay to a healthy condition, ultimately helps reduce Suffolk’s cost of meeting the environmental regulations designed to restore the Chesapeake Bay.

A former First Citizen, Delegate S. Chris Jones, was quick to praise Quayle for the award last week. “Fred and I have worked together for 14 sessions now,” Jones said. “He’s done a lot on behalf of the city in Richmond. I think it is a well-deserved award, and I’m very proud to call him a fellow First Citizen.”

Suffolk should, indeed, be proud of its newest First Citizen. He has represented the city well, even before his time as a Senator. There are few who deserve the award more than he does, and there are few who would accept it more humbly.

Congratulations, Senator Fred Quayle, Suffolk’s First Citizen 2011.