- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 5, 2004

RICHMOND — Virginia Delegate Harry J. Parrish, chairman of the House Finance Committee, collapsed yesterday morning and was rushed to a Northern Virginia hospital, legislative officials said.

Mr. Parrish, 82, has represented Prince William County for 22 years in the House of Delegates and, after the Republicans gained control of the House in 2000, became chairman of its powerful tax-writing panel.

Mr. Parrish collapsed at about 8 a.m. during a Virginia Municipal League prayer breakfast in Alexandria, said Sen. Charles J. Colgan, Prince William Democrat and longtime friend of Mr. Parrish.

Mr. Colgan said Mr. Parrish was in the Inova Alexandria Hospital intensive care unit, “but he’s in no immediate danger. It was really good news.” Mr. Colgan went to the hospital and met with Mr. Parrish’s wife and daughter.

Mr. Parrish’s aide, Diana Dutton, said the delegate was awake and undergoing tests. Hospital officials, however, would not confirm that Mr. Parrish was a patient.

Mr. Parrish, a Republican, is known even among General Assembly Democrats for evenhandedness in running his committee.

“He’s my best friend,” Mr. Colgan said. “He and I are the only Democrat and Republican in the General Assembly ever known to have held a fund-raiser together.”

Mr. Parrish, though a conservative, has shown his independence at times, sometimes to the dismay of fellow Republicans.

By two votes, Mr. Parrish’s committee advanced a bill to increase taxes by about $1.4 billion. When the bill came before the full House for a decisive vote in April, Mr. Parrish was among 17 Republicans who sided with House Democrats to pass it. The vote was critical to ending a 115-day session that divided Republican legislators.

Mr. Parrish was elected to the House in 1982, when his party was a minority. Before that, he served for 12 years on the Manassas Town Council and for 18 years as mayor. That gives Mr. Parrish a record of 53 years in elected office.

In addition to his public duties, Mr. Parrish is the chairman of the board of his family’s business, the Manassas Ice and Fuel Co. Inc.

Mr. Parrish’s health caused concern during the legislative session in the winter when a bout of pneumonia forced his absence for about a week.

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