- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 19, 2004

RICHMOND — When freshman Delegate Jeffrey Frederick was born in 1976, the House’s oldest member — J. Paul Councill — already had been serving two years.

Mr. Councill, Southampton Democrat, is 82, beating out Delegate Harry J. Parrish by two months, seven days for the seniority title. Mr. Parrish, Manassas Republican, turned 82 yesterday.

The average age of delegates hovers around 54, so Mr. Parrish and Mr. Councill aren’t that much older than many of their fellow lawmakers. But there is quite a generation gap between senior delegates and younger House members.

And the more raucous lawmakers don’t let the young’uns forget it.

Most freshmen are hazed during their first few weeks, but senior lawmakers haven’t let up on 28-year-old Mr. Frederick, uttering groans and “grrs” when he introduces his bills.

“I try to have a little fun with it,” Mr. Frederick, Prince William County Republican, said.

At the same time, he keeps things serious to avoid people saying, “Oh, he’s the young guy.”

“The first couple of weeks I got a lot of jokes about being a page,” said Mr. Frederick, who is noticeably shorter than most of his colleagues.

Mr. Frederick said he tries to shake the “young guy” label and focus on business. He points out that there are several members of the U.S. Congress who are about his age.

“People are going to be very quick to try and find deficiencies with me,” he said.

Many say Delegate Benjamin J. Cline, a Rockbridge County Republican who will turn 32 on Feb. 29, was glad to hand over the “youngest lawmaker” title to Mr. Frederick when the freshman was elected last year.

Known for his boyish appearance, Mr. Cline often is the subject of ribbing, because he was born in a leap year and has had only seven official birthdays.

State Sen. Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, Fairfax County Republican, knows what it’s like to be taunted as the youngest member of the Senate at 35.

“They do rib me, and it is difficult. Some of the people measure how long they’ve been here in decades,” Mr. Cuccinelli said. “But I come at this more energetically than others do. I’m certainly not going to shy away from that.”

Sen. Charles J. Colgan, Manassas Democrat, is the oldest senator, at 77.

Mr. Parrish, the “birthday boy,” celebrated his 60th wedding anniversary with his wife, Mattie, last week. “And I wouldn’t change a day,” he told his fellow delegates.

Mr. Parrish boasts about his three grandchildren — two of whom he has bought cars for and one who is hoping for a car — and said yesterday that he probably wouldn’t celebrate his birthday.

His wife’s birthday is during session, plus there was Valentine’s Day, so he is likely to “celebrate all of them when I go back home,” he said.

The House gave Mr. Parrish a standing ovation yesterday in honor of his birthday.

Delegate Frank D. Hargrove Sr., Hanover County Republican, in a speech, noted famous events that had occurred on Feb. 19 and included Mr. Parrish’s birth among them, saying the lawmaker is “influencing the outcome of Virginia.”

Mr. Parrish smiled and thanked everyone for the honor.

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