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Lawmakers in Virginia have taken the first step toward repealing the state’s hybrid car tax, a piece of last year’s broad transportation deal that has generated a great deal of anger over the past year.

On a vote of 10 to 5, members of the Senate Finance Committee agreed to move forward a bill that would roll back the $64 annual fee, which is intended to ensure that all car owners contribute equally to the repair of the state’s roads.

It was roughly a decade ago when Adam Ebbin took his seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, making history as an out legislator in the General Assembly. Virginia may be known for plenty of things, but openly gay officeholders is not one of them. Down in Richmond, as an out gay elected official holding a state-level office, Ebbin is one of a kind.

”By the time I was in high school, I thought that’s what I wanted to do,” Ebbin says of being a legislator. ”But when I came out I didn’t think that would be possible.”

Hours after the Virginia General Assembly concluded its annual session, two Northern Virginia lawmakers decided to try to undo what the legislature had just done to people who drive hybrid vehicles.

Del. Scott A. Surovell (D-Mount Vernon) and Sen. Adam P. Ebbin (D-Alexandria) want Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) to kill a provision in the landmark transportation-funding package that would double the annual $50 registration fee on electric vehicles and also apply it to hybrid cars and those that use alternative fuels.

It would be overly dramatic to say that Adam Ebbin is in the race of his life. Still, Aug. 23 will be a defining moment not only in his career, but for the Virginia General Assembly.

Elected to represent Virginia’s House District 49 – comprised of parts of Alexandria, Falls Church and Arlington and Fairfax counties – in 2003, taking his seat in January 2004, Ebbin has served as the commonwealth’s sole openly LGBT member of the Virginia General Assembly.

There comes a moment when you realize you’re doing something right.

For Virginia State Del. Adam Ebbin (D), the moment came near the end of one of the legislature’s most anti-gay session ever, when a young page approached him to say she appreciated his speaking at the upcoming ”Passing the Torch” dinner.

 

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