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January 24, 2003

General Assembly Journal

Richard B. Weldon Jr.

January 7th

Today started off with a breakfast reception for newly elected GOP legislators. Lobbyists, incumbents, and state party staff made up the audience. The freshmen delegates were asked to stand and introduce themselves. Interesting mix of skills and experience! When Senator-elect (David) Brinkley was introduced, the room erupted.

I am impressed by how low key the lobbyists have been. I expected an onslaught, but so far they just focus on explaining their cause. I suspect when things get rolling, they'll be a bit more aggressive.

The House Chamber floor seating chart just came out. I'm between Paul Stull and Joe Bartlett. This is a little unusual, as we normally sit by district. Not sure what caused the change, but I don't really care. After working so hard all summer to get elected, it'll be nice to see my name up there, even though it isn't lit up. My Dad, Mom, and my sister are driving down from Delaware, and Amy (my wife) is coming down. I'm worried they won't be able to see, but at least they'll be here.

The House office building is a beehive of activity, with furniture movers hustling, painters painting, and staff scrambling to get the last minute details done.

January 8, 2003 - First Day

After a nice family breakfast (including my son Ricky, a surprise guest), we drove to the House office. We parked underground, and used the pedestrian tunnel to get to the State House.

In the House Chamber, Speaker (Michael) Busch was posing for pictures with the new delegates and their families. When it was my turn, the staff keeping track of the photo subjects called my last name out to the Speaker up on the dais. He looked over at me and said "Come on up, Rick". I didn't even think he knew who I was.

I walked up on the dais and shook his hand. He said he'd heard good things about me. He told me he'd heard that I knew a lot about government procurement, which might explain the appointment to the new Health & Government Operations Committee.

The House Chamber, lobby, & Member Lounge were very hectic all morning. Each legislator was emphatically instructed to only have ONE guest on the floor of the Chamber. So what happened? Many delegates brought several guests on the floor. Between the media, members, distinguished visitors and guests, it was impossible to move around. Sadly, the behavior of many was inappropriate.

I was very proud to stand beside my Mom, Dad, sister Kerry, Amy and Ricky up on the Speaker's dais. Looking out over the 141 wooden desks and blue leather chairs was truly a moment I'll never forget. The oath ceremony was as wonderful as I thought it would be. I'll admit to being a little choked up when reciting the oath.

I have the great honor and good fortune to affirm my support of our governing documents at several levels of government. First as a municipal employee, then as an appointed county commissioner, and now as the delegate for District 3B. One of the best moments was pushing the YEA button for my first Quorum Call and watching the little green light next to my name light up! If you're wondering, Weldon is in the ninth position on the tote board.

The Speaker gave a nice speech, but the best part was his invitation to Gov. (Robert) Ehrlich to address the House. My Republican colleagues, especially the veterans, have waited a long time to cheer for a Republican governor. Believe me, we CHEERED! Actually, some Dems did a good bit of cheering, too. U. S. Senators (Paul) Sarbanes and (Barbara) Mikulski both gave short remarks(not short enough).

Several times, I snuck a peek up in the gallery. My Dad, one of my most important political mentors, seemed pretty proud. He should know that I'm proud to be his namesake, and I'll try hard to bring honor to his name. Overall, a great start to a new and exciting chapter in my personal story.

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