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Senator Reeves Has A 'Servant Heart'

Bryce Reeves never held political office and lost the only election he ever participated in as a candidate, but he didn't give up. Last November, he unseated one of the longest-serving senators in the state and now he's enjoying his first term.

More than a year before last November’s elections, Spotsylvania County insurance agent Bryce Reeves started campaigning for the 17th Senate District seat. A lot of people figured he would need more than an early start: Reeves, a Republican who had never held elective office, was challenging Edd Houck, a Democrat who had held the Senate seat since 1984.

But on Election Day, Reeves won by 226 votes. His victory helped tip the balance of power in the Senate from a Democratic majority to Republican control. As his first legislative session enters its final weeks, Reeves has enjoyed numerous successes: Of 14 bills he sponsored, nine passed the Senate, and six of them have passed the House as well.

Thanks to his efforts, Virginia likely will require insurers to tell homeowners whether their policies cover earthquakes, require government agencies to cooperate on dam safety, and continue to exempt textbooks from the sales tax.

“I worked really hard and met a lot of people, and I consider it an honor and a privilege to serve,” Reeves said in a recent interview in his office in the General Assembly Building. “It’s an amazing and unique process.”

Senate District 17 includes Fredericksburg and Orange County and parts of Culpeper, Albemarle, Louisa and Spotsylvania counties. Reeves lives in Spotsylvania with his wife, Anne, and their two children, Nicole and Jack. Reeves has lived in Virginia for 18 years but grew up in Houston. He attended Texas A&M University, graduating in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial education. After college, Reeves accepted a commission as second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, where he completed 13 years of service. He eventually became captain and served as a U.S. Army Ranger. While at Fort Benning, Ga., Reeves was recognized as the Enlisted Honor Graduate by the U.S. Army Airborne Paratrooper School. He also received a master’s degree in public administration from George Mason University in 1998. Reeves accepted a position with the Prince William County Police, working as a detective in the vice and narcotics bureau. He served on a drug task force for Northern Virginia and Maryland and became an expert on illicit drugs.

In the Senate, Reeves has been assigned to four committees: General Laws and Technology, Privileges and Elections, Rehabilitation and Social Services, and Courts of Justice. He believes his military and law enforcement experience gives him extra insight on legislative issues.

“I feel I have a better understanding when it comes to certain bills, like in the Courts of Justice (Committee) – being able to understand rules of evidence and articulate a different viewpoint than maybe a trial attorney, or maybe someone else who’s never arrested anybody or served overseas would have,” Reeves said. “And it’s due to my experience in the Army and police force.”

Reeves said one of his priorities is veterans’ issues. He sponsored a bill (SB 254) to increase the number of agents handling veterans’ disability claims in the Virginia Department of Veterans Services. The bill passed the Senate and is on track for final approval. Both the House and Senate have passed Reeves’ measure (SB 433) to require funeral directors to notify the Department of Veterans Services about unclaimed cremated remains; the department then would determine whether the “cremains” belong to a veteran eligible for burial in a veterans’ cemetery.

Crafting and helping to pass state laws is a long way from Reeves’ start in politics. In 2007, frustrated by government, he ran for a seat on the Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors in the Livingston District against the incumbent and former sheriff T.C. Waddy and another necommer, Tom Beals. Reeves finished a distant second in the contest.

“They say, ‘Stop complaining, get involved,’ ” Reeves said. “So I ran, and I lost, which was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me.”

Having little background in politics, Reeves decided to get more education. He was accepted into and completed the University of Virginia’s Sorensen Political Leaders Program in 2009; he was even selected as class president. Reeves was ready when he challenged Houck, who ranked third in seniority in the Senate, was a state budget negotiator and chaired the Senate Education and Health Committee.

According to Reeves, his team made more than 166,000 phone calls, knocked on more than 39,000 doors and raised more than $1 million during the campaign. The Senate race was so close that there was almost a recount, but Houck conceded. The official results showed Reeves with 22,615 votes and Houck with 22,389.

“We created a vision that people saw and they felt part of,” Reeves said. “It’s just a matter of working hard and putting sweat equity into it. It doesn’t matter what you have in your bank account or what pedigrees or degrees you have on the wall. If you have a servant heart, you can do anything. You can be anything you want to be.”

About Sen. Bryce Reeves
Born: Nov. 28, 1966, in California
Education: Texas A&M University (B.S.); George Mason University (M.P.A., Public Administration); University of Virginia, Sorenson Political Leaders Program
Profession: President of Bryce Reeves Insurance and Financial Services Inc.; president of Reeves Asset Management Group
Senate District: 17, which includes Fredericksburg and Orange County and parts of Culpeper, Albemarle, Louisa and Spotsylvania counties
Political party: Republican
Email: district17@senate.virginia.gov
Phone numbers: 804-698-7517 (Richmond); 540-891-5473 (district office)

Alicia Knight February 28, 2012 at 02:10 PM
What a fluff piece! Did the "reporter" just copy the Reeves campaign bio? Reves is also on record voting to suppress voting rights, for invasive and humiliating transvaginal ultrasounds, to declare zygotes "persons" with more rights than the full grown women who are hosting them, interfering with individual adult medical decisions on contraception, birth control, infertility treatments. He voted in committee in favor of guarantying women's rights in the US Constitution, but then he switched his vote to "no" in the full Senate vote. He couldn't bring himself to go on the record to support women's rights? Some servant he is! Women don't need this kind help from Bryce Reeves.
Jesse Clear February 28, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Totally Agree! We watched his "performance" at the Mary Washington forum debate with Houck. He publicly pointed out his own young daughter (who was present) as an example for these "social (anti-woman) issues" about which he's an apparent zealot. At the debate's end, he slunk out of the hall, surrounded by his "entourage" of six body guards, and left with them in a Cadillac SUV. (Wife and daughter left separately -- were not aboard.) What a Hero! Ed Houck definitely should have contested this farce "election" all the way to the Supremes.
Scott Cooper February 28, 2012 at 05:55 PM
The reality Alicia and Jessie is anyone who actually knows Bryce for any length of time knows that this opinion piece actually hit the nail on the head. Whether he is serving in his community, in his church or in his place of business, Byrce is the same person – leading through serving. One personal example – I led a group to Richmond for an event last Spring, and Mr. Reeves chose to participate. While we were waiting for everyone to show up, Mr. Reeves noticed that the van I was driving had a dirty windshield. He personally got out of the van, got windex and paper towels and cleaned the windshield. This might sound really simple, but this is always the case with Bryce – and anyone who spends any time with him knows it. Alicia as far as your concerns for women, there are just as many women who disagree with you as there are who agree with you on the choice issue. Senator Reeves simply is philosophically aligned with those women, so for you to say he is anti-women is categorically false.
Scott Cooper February 28, 2012 at 05:55 PM
In terms of suppressing voting rights – my understanding is you are required to have an ID to check out a library book, purchase cigarettes and a whole host of other things – including now a compressed “Dust Removal” Air Can! What is the difficulty in requiring an ID to vote? What about suppressing my right to purchase a can of Dust Remover without an ID? Jesse, I was at the debate that night too. The vehicle was a Suburban, and the individuals with him were supporters. I find it insane that the first tactic you use is to bring class warfare into a piece about someone’s character – but then I guess when the facts are not on your side, all you have in your game box is the politics of personal destruction. Having gotten to know Bryce personally in the last two years, I can personally attest to the fact that Bryce is a man of character, integrity and a true servant leader – so I attest to the veracity of this opinion piece.
Dan Telvock (Editor) February 28, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Jesse, the picture you paint to this day makes me laugh. I wish I was there at the event so I could have painted the details a little more in depth with my pen. I appreciate the clean debate here.
anne February 28, 2012 at 11:32 PM
this was a shameless ad or op-ed. NOT NEWS. it makes me distrust everything i've ever read at the patch. you can do better than this. and edd houck was a fine public servant who should have been re-elected.
Matt Holden February 29, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Anne, are you serious? It's a profile article on a politician that you apprently don't like, but your words are pretty extreme and funny. You're the one who is shameless posting such cronyism and hate and making extremist comments. You're the one to distrust. Go Patch! Edd Houck should have campaigned a little harder instead of being egotistical and complacent.
Nick F February 29, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Six "body guards" LOL!!! I was one of those guys, none of us were "body guards" and I think everyone of us was actually smaller in stature than Bryce himself...what a joke. leave it to the left to create an issue where none exists.
Nick F February 29, 2012 at 11:23 PM
I find it interesting that the left's "lovers of the democratic process" declare any election they lose as a "farce". Edd Houck gerrymandered his district prior to the election to make it a complete 5% points more Democratic and still lost.
Jesse Clear March 02, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Wow... this is gettin' fun! Scott and Nick F, you have a somewhat different perspective of that evening than mine. It's interesting, Nick, that you and your other four "supporters" were all dressed in near-identical dark blue suits, white shirts, and ties. What a coincidence! Hope your CCW permits were in order. . And Scott, a large SUV is a large SUV, whether Escalade, Hummer, Suburban, or whatever. By the way, nobody brought up "class warfare".....except you. Right out of Prophet Limbaugh's talking points. It's good that Bryce cleaned your windshield ... that would be a good thing for him to do for you -- frequently! Finally Scott, this goes far beyond the "choice issue." Your uber-conservative general assembly -- plus the Governor -- unaminously favored the ultrasound bill, including "transvaginal probes". When that became too outrageous, even for the teabaggers under constituent pressure, they retreated to abdominal probes....now the LAW of the Commonwealth of Virginia. How proud you made us all-- women and men voters alike........ . It never fails to amaze me that the GOP, which demands that the government stay out of our lives, is intent upon intruding into our most private body parts, sexual arrangements, and medical decisions.
Dan Telvock (Editor) March 02, 2012 at 10:04 PM
No one has photos of these secret service imposters? I really want some.
Scott Cooper March 02, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Jesse..........Teabagger = what exactly?
Dan Telvock (Editor) March 02, 2012 at 10:54 PM
Teabagger is a rude adjective for a Tea Party activist.
Scott Cooper March 02, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Thanks Dan. I was simply trying to understand Jesse’s desire to always take the high road of debate.
MichaEl Hirsch March 06, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Wow, what a livlely commentary. I personally have visited with Senator Reeves during his freshman year in Richmond and he is definitely serving with the right heart! Houck would never saw me when I attempted to visit during his last two years, that's not a servant! Personally, I am glad that both he and his legislative assistant no longer occupy the GAB!

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