Holmberg chats with Bob Marshall, the lightning rod of the General Assembly

Posted at 12:53 AM, Jan 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-13 01:08:58-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- As a conservative Roman Catholic, longtime Northern Virginia state delegate Bob Marshall has famously fought abortion, gay marriage, gays in the military, pornography and now transgendered in public bathrooms.

Before the lawmakers of this short session of the Virginia General Assembly had finished unpacking this week, Marshall was on Fox News and had already galvanized his sizable opposition with a bill similar to North Carolina's titanic HB-2.

Related: Bob Marshall calls NC economic loss over bathroom bill ‘fake news’

Of all our legislators, he has one of the highest profiles and is likely the most reviled. He cares not a whit about being hated for his crusade.

I sat down with him to ask why he does it year after year - 24 of them so far. (He represents the 13th District, made up of Prince William and Loudon counties.)

This seemingly happily married Republican (his wife is often by his side) and father of five said he is guided by his faith in God and Bible-based principals. He told me he does not want to have to explain to his creator why he didn't stand up for those values when he was given this opportunity.

Bob Marshall can be an easy man to be angry with but is also easy to like. He enjoys these social fisticuffs and the attendant cheering and jeering from the stands.

"You know what," he said, "I don't mind getting in fights . . . I'm in the minority of those willing to speak out because, frankly, I don't care when people call me names."

Please watch my video chat with this longtime legislator, and consider his role - and ours - in this new, rapidly changing world of ours.

Can we find a better, healthier way to discuss our differences?