Arlington may start 2024 with the same number of legislators on the powerful state Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations as it has in 2023.
State Sen. Barbara Favola said she has a good shot at ending up on the committee after the dust settles from the Nov. 7 election.
If so, she would join her colleague Adam Ebbin on the body. This past session, Ebbin and state Sen. Janet Howell represented Arlington on the committee – Howell as its co-chair.
Before the most recent round of redistricting, Arlington was divided into three Senate districts, represented by Favola, Howell and Ebbin. The revamped map puts most of the county in the 40th District and the remainder in the 39th, which – if they win re-election bids against Republican challengers – will be occupied by Favola and Ebbin, respectively.
Both co-chairs of the finance committee will not return for the 2024 session. Howell is retiring and Sen. George Barker, who represents a Fairfax County district, in June was defeated in the Democratic primary by a challenger from his left, suffering the same fate as his fellow Fairfax Democrat, Chap Petersen, who also serves on the committee.
Also departing the 13-member committee and the 40-member state Senate are a host of senior politicians of both parties who are retiring: Richard Saslaw (the Democratic leader of the body), Thomas Norment Jr. (the Republican leader), John Edwards, Emmett Hanger Jr., Stephen Newman and Jill Holtzman Vogel.
Depending on how the dust settles, it likely would be either state Sen. Louise Lucas or Sen. Creigh Deeds chairing the committee if Democrats are in charge, Sen. Frank Ruff Jr. if it is the GOP. All are from downstate districts.
Take into account all of those departures, and Ebbin would move up from the committee’s most junior member to the top half of seniority.
Favola and Ebbin each already chair a Senate committee: Favola heads Rehabilitation and Social Services and Ebbin General Laws and Technology.
Democrats currently hold a slim 22-18 majority in the Senate and are hoping to retain it in November.