Del. Luke Torian has been chosen to lead one of the Virginia House of Delegates’ most powerful committees: that which helps hammer out the annual state budget.
Torian, D-52nd, will chair the House Appropriations Committee, Speaker-Elect Eileen Filler-Corn, D-41st, announced Thursday.
Torian, 61, will be the first African-American and likely the first Prince William County delegate to serve in the role in the state’s history.
“It’s just a humbling experience and a good opportunity,” Torian said in a brief interview Thursday afternoon. “I’m humbled by the opportunity to serve in this capacity and humbled that the speaker-designee would recognize the work I have done.”
Torian has served on the House Appropriations Committee since 2014. He has served as a budget conferee – a member of a smaller group of delegates charged with negotiating the final budget with state Senate leaders – since 2016.
Torian won a sixth term in the state House last week and has served as pastor of the First Mount Zion Baptist Church in Dumfries for 24 years. Torian is a native of Roxboro, North Carolina, who earned his Master of Divinity from Virginia Union University and his Doctor of Divinity from Howard University.
Prince William County hasn’t had such political clout in the state General Assembly since 2015, when the late Sen. Chuck Colgan retired at the age of 89. Colgan, D-29th, served as chairman of the state Senate Finance Committee, the equivalent of Torian’s new job in the House of Delegates.
“It’s a huge deal,” said state Sen. Jeremy McPike, D-29th, of Torian’s appointment. “The chairman of appropriations is one of the most influential people in the state on the budget.”
“It’s great news for Prince William County,” he added.
Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and Virginia’s General Assembly will draw up a new two-year budget when they return to Richmond in January. It’s a bit too early to make predictions about new spending, but both McPike and Torian said education and transportation will once again be state budget priorities.
Torian said he will consult all of the county’s stakeholders – including the board of supervisors, school board and chamber of commerce – over the next several weeks as he prepares for his new role.
“We will certainly be looking at appropriating resources that will address the size of our school system and resources that will address our transportation needs,” Torian said.
Prince William County is represented in the state legislature by five state senators and eight delegates. The delegation elected last week includes 12 Democrats and one Republican.
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