RICHMOND, Va. — Big change is coming to Virginia following Tuesday's elections. Republicans have won the top three jobs in state government and the GOP claims to have won enough seats to take control of the House of Delegates.
"We feel fairly confident that we're at 52 seats," said House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah).
Despite a few of the contests around the state still not having been officially called, Gilbert thinks it's a done deal. He's already thinking ahead to January, when he believes Republicans will be in charge of the chamber.
"We're focused on things that we think were important to voters on Tuesday: making life more affordable, making our schools better, making our streets safer," he said.
Gilbert said a Republican-led House will work to tighten up Democrat-majority-passed marijuana laws.
"They passed the legalization of marijuana but they did so without any regulatory framework," he said. "So we're going to have to fix all that and we're going to have to work with the Democrat [controlled] Senate to fix all that."
Another Republican priority, he said, would be improving voting laws.
"We are certainly going to do smart things like bringing back common sense in terms of voting rights, bring back common-sense measures like voter I.D.," he said. "I think that's something that universally people think is a good idea to be able to prove you are who you say you are before doing something as important as voting."
As for his own ambitions, Gilbert hopes to become Speaker of the House, but acknowledges that at least one other member -- Delegate Terry Kilgore of Gate City -- has announced he wants the job, too.
"Yes, at the moment it looks like we have a Speaker's race and I'm going to make my case to our caucus about why I'm the best person to continue to lead our caucus forward," he said.
Republican House members will decide upon their leadership positions when the caucus holds a closed meeting on Sunday, November 14.