Delegates and the Media

Delegate Greg Habeeb, representing the 8th district, stopped by Radford University for a press conference to discuss media misinformation last Wednesday. As a father, lawyer and delegate, it was quite an honor to have him make the time to field questions from aspiring journalists. His main topics of interest revolved around how “the media’s focus and facts were wrong” and how “many people have no idea what is going on in Richmond”.

A hot topic in politics lately has been the HB9 bill regarding voter ID. As of March 10, the bill had passed both House and Senate with the revisions stating that if the voter has no ID, a provisionary ballot will be extended for the time being. The media has released statements claiming that minorities, elderly people and college students may not have proper identification. Habeeb took it upon himself to file a complaint, causing the newspaper to post a retraction. This bill was among many others that Habeeb found to be placed in the wrong light or no light at all via the media.

“It is the media’s job to frame issues and set up conversations,” said Habeeb, highlighting the budget, public safety, legalizing marijuana and the Virginia retirement system among those that did not get the coverage they deserved.  While there could be many potential reasons for this, Habeeb firmly believes that “these issues deserved debate”.

With 68 Republicans and 32 Democrats in the Senate, it is not always easy to get in touch with your delegate. This is not the case with Greg Habeeb, who has a private and public Facebook account, a Twitter account and his cell phone number publicly displayed. He looks at Twitter as “a way to interact… and it has an expanded political role this year”, and Facebook as “a way to expand conversation with friends, fans and family to let them see who you really are”. He has taken to social media to let people know where he will be speaking, what he is doing, his opinion on things and “setting the record straight”.

Currently, Habeeb is working on five different bills, ranging in everything from school calendar to jury sentencing reform to civil rights restoration. But aside from his delegate duties, Greg plays an active role in his church, is on the Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters, and works with the Military Family Support Center. He got his start in politics through interning for then Governor George Allen and was later endorsed by Governor Bob McDonnell to run for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, which he won without opposition. Today, he is on four different committees: House Courts of Justice, House Transportation and House Militia, Police and Public Safety and Commerce & Labor. Following his first session as Delegate, Habeeb said on his website that “most satisfying to me is that we were able to accomplish so much, not only without raising taxes, but while actually cutting fees…” which speaks volumes about his dedication and loyalty to making his district a better place.

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