Delegates Rob Bell, and David Toscano provided their perspectives on the issues that came before the 2015 legislature. The delegates spoke at the Wednesday, April 8, 2015 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia
. The meeting was held at the Senior Center in Charlottesville
. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. The program was moderated by SSV member Terry Cooper.
Rob Bell (left) and David Toscano speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.
Robert Bell (R) – 58th District: An honors graduate of the University of Virginia and the University of Virginia Law School, Rob served as a state prosecutor for five years. He prosecuted over 2,400 cases, working with the police and crime victims to bring criminals to justice.
In the Virginia General Assembly, Rob has written laws that crack down on drunk driving. As a result, MADD (Virginia) named him the 2005 Outstanding Legislator. He is also interested in school safety. In recent years, he has written laws to ban criminal sex offenders from school property during school hours and to require additional background checks on school personnel. In 2008, Rob helped overhaul Virginia’s mental health commitment laws in light of the tragedy at Virginia Tech. And, in 2009, Rob received the Act, Honor, Hope award from the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance to recognize his work in the Virginia General Assembly.
An Eagle Scout, Rob was an active volunteer with the Boy Scouts and with the public schools prior to his election in 2001. Rob’s wife, Jessica, is a schoolteacher. She is currently staying home to raise their children, Robbie and Evie. The Bells live in Albemarle County and are members of Aldersgate United Methodist Church.
Rob understands that in tough economic times everyone – business, communities, government – needs to pitch in to create and protect Virginia jobs. That’s why Rob has fought to preserve and promote Virginia’s #1 business-friendly ranking. This helps Virginia’s small businesses to expand and encourages new companies to move here.
In response to the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings, Rob was chosen to lead a special Virginia House of Delegates subcommittee charged with reforming Virginia’s mental health commitment laws. The subcommittee’s goals were to ensure that a similar tragedy would not happen again and to protect the ability of Virginians to voluntarily seek care for themselves. In 2008, as a result of the subcommittee’s work, Virginia saw the most sweeping reforms of mental health commitment laws in 30 years.
Rob and Jessica’s son Robbie attends public school. Jessica is a high school English teacher who is currently taking time off to raise Robbie and Evie. As delegate, Rob regularly visits our schools to talk with students. He has taught more than 1,000 students about civics and how laws are made. Rob has also sponsored local students as pages in the Virginia General Assembly and others have served as interns in his legislative office.
Rob is a champion for our communities against crime. He has led an all-out assault against drunk driving and has fought to protect our families from sex offenders. Rob has served on the Virginia Crime Commission since 2003 and is currently chairman.
David Toscano (D) – 57th District: David Toscano is serving his third term in the Virginia General Assembly, representing the 57th District of the House of Delegates, where he serves on the Courts of Justice; Transportation; and Science & Technology committees. David also serves on the Disability Commission and has served on the special Joint Subcommittee to Study Land Use Tools in the Commonwealth and the Joint Committee to study Math, Science, and Engineering. He is also a member of the United Way Board and the Chamber of Commerce.
David, his wife Nancy A. Tramontin, and son Matthew live in Charlottesville. David is a practicing attorney and an active volunteer for many community-based organizations.
David is an attorney with Buck, Toscano & Tereskerz, Ltd., and specializes in family law, real estate transactions, and estate planning.
David’s priorities are education, energy, and the environment. He fights for education funding, against teacher pay freezes, and to protect VRS and retirement benefits. He pushes the cause of renewable energy, and stood against those who deny the reality of climate change. He opposes predatory lending in its various forms. He argues for multifaceted transportation programs that include roads, rail, and public transit. He opposes cuts to services for the poor and disabled, defends a woman’s right to choose, and advances reforms in foster care and adoption, so that all children will have the opportunity to live productive lives in family settings free from abuse and neglect.
The Virginia League of Conservation Voters has named David a “Legislative Hero” four times for his work on environmental issues.
David was born in Syracuse, New York, the oldest of five children. He received a bachelor’s degree from Colgate University, a Ph.D. from Boston College, and a law degree from the University of Virginia. He has taught politics and sociology at various colleges and universities, including Boston College, University of Maryland (European Division), PVCC, University of Virginia, and James Madison University. He recently taught for the University of Virginia as part of its 14-week Semester at Sea program.
David served on the Charlottesville City Council from 1990 to 2002 and as Mayor 1994-96. David is a resident of the City of Charlottesville, where he lives with his wife, Nancy A. Tramontin, and their son, Matthew.