James City Republican Del. Brenda Pogge will retire after nearly 12 years in office.
“I really don't want to spend my sunset years in the House of Delegates,” Pogge said in a Friday afternoon interview. She called herself a staunch believer in term limits, and after so many years spent in Richmond, she wants to spend some time with her children, who are scattered across North America.
In her place, Pogge hopes her current legislative aide Amanda Batten will run for the open seat representing James City and York — and win.
“I vigorously endorse my legislative aide Amanda Batten to take over,” Pogge said. “She's smart, she's efficient, she's keen on policy. She understands why we have the government we have and why we want to keep it.”
Pogge informed friends and supporters from over the years of her decision earlier on Friday, she said.
“I'm really very excited for retirement,” Pogge said before offering praise for Batten. “I loved serving the people of the 96th, but who's been my partner in that service? It's been Amanda.”
For the past six years, Batten has served as Pogge’s aide as the chief point person on the delegate’s policy initiatives and constituent outreach.
“It wasn’t something that I came to easily, (Pogge) had to convince me to run so she could retire,” Batten said. She said she wants to serve area residents and maintain the trust she has built over the past six years.
State Sen. Majority Leader Thomas K. “Tommy” Norment, R-James City, lauded Pogge for her conservative principles.
“It has been a privilege to work with Del. Pogge over the last 12 years,” Norment said in a statement. “She has been a strong advocate for the people of James City and York, and a consistent voice for conservative principles throughout her tenure in the House.
“I know that Brenda will continue to look for ways to serve the people of the Peninsula. I also wish she and Roger many years of happiness as they embark on new ventures while fulfilling the important rewarding duties of grandparenting.”
In Pogge’s tenure as delegate, she won three elections unopposed and three more elections with an average of about 58 percent of the total vote, according to the Virginia Department of Elections. She was most recently re-elected in 2017 with 57 percent of the total vote in the staunchly conservative district.
Her first election, however, was a contest that went to court. Pogge won a slim 23-vote, June 2007 firehouse primary to replace then GOP Del. Melanie Rapp. There were alleged discrepancies in how the votes were tallied.
York County Supervisor Sheila Noll sued Pogge in 2007 citing election fraud and lost, according to Daily Press archives and York County Circuit Court records. The judge tossed the case.
In the time Pogge has represented the area, she argued against government regulation of business, expansion of medicaid, tax hikes and same-sex marriage.
"I'm a Christian with a biblical world view, and I believe the term 'marriage' is a description of a covenant between a man and a woman,” Pogge said in 2014.
More recently, she promoted a bill in the House of Delegates that would have allowed victims of dog attacks to seek damages for emotional duress suffered. That bill died in committee.
Roberts can be reached at 757-604-1329, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @SPRobertsJr.