State Senator Dave Marsden and former Virginia Delegate Bob Hull visited Instructor David Miller’s Cultural Geography class at Annandale on June 10. Marsden and Hull spoke about changes in their districts over time. Hull is currently the community outreach specialist at the Annandale Campus.
Both speakers discussed redistricting, which is done after every census so that voting districts are roughly equal in population, and gerrymandering, where the political party in power shapes districts to gain political advantage. Districts were last redrawn in 2011.
Marsden (D-Fairfax) talked about his serpentine-shaped State Senate District 37, which includes NOVA’s Annandale Campus.
The 2011 redistricting stretched his Fairfax County district east to west, from inside the Beltway to the Loudoun County border, with a population of some 200,000 people.
Marsden asked students to define “liberty” and many students were at a loss to put this common concept into words. He explained, “liberty means different things to different people.” His constituents differed in their concerns about liberty, ranging from guns and fox pens to Virginia’s minimum wage and content in Virginia’s textbooks.
Hull represented District 38 from 1993 to 2010. A lifelong Falls Church area resident, Hull earned his associate degree in biology at NOVA before transferring to Virginia Tech. In the 1990s, Hull’s district stretched from Alexandria in the east to the beltway in the west and included all of the City of Falls Church. Hull described how District 38 lost Falls Church and became more compact and diverse, as the district’s population swelled to more than 80,000 people by 2010.
Both speakers reminded students that 2015 is an election year in Virginia, with all 100 delegates and 40 state senators up for election on November 3. Students were encouraged to be aware of local issues and vote in primaries as well as the November elections.