Senate of Virginia: Wikis


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Senate of Virginia
Coat of arms or logo.
Type Upper house
President of the Senate Bill Bolling, (R)
since January 14, 2006
President pro Tempore Charles J. Colgan, (D)
since January 9, 2008
Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw, (D)
since 2007
Minority Leader Tommy Norment, (R)
since November 28, 2007
Members 40
Virginia Senate Composition.png
Political groups      Democratic Party
     Republican Party
Last election November 6, 2007
Meeting place
Virginia Senate in Session.jpg
Senate Chamber,
Virginia State Capitol, Richmond, VA, U.S.
official website

The Senate of Virginia is the upper house of the Virginia General Assembly. The Senate is composed of 40 Senators representing an equal number of single-member constituent districts. The Senate is presided over by the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. Prior to the American War of Independence, the upper house of the General Assembly was represented by the Governor's Council, consisting of executive counselors appointed by the Governor of Virginia as advisers.

The Lieutenant Governor presides daily over the Virginia Senate. In the Lieutenant Governor's absence, a president pro tempore presides, usually a powerful member of the majority party. The Senate is equal with the House of Delegates, the lower chamber of the legislature, except that taxation bills must originate in the House, similar to the federal U.S. Congress.

Members of the Virginia Senate are elected every four years by the voters of the several senatorial districts on the Tuesday succeeding the first Monday in November. The last election took place on November 6, 2007. There are no term limits for Senators.

In the 2007 Virginia state elections, the Democratic Party reclaimed the majority in the Senate for the first time since 1999, when the Republican Party took control of the Senate for the first time in history.

Historic Partisan Makeup of the Virginia State Senate


Salary and qualifications

The annual salary for senators is $18,000 per year.[1] To qualify for office, senators must be at least 21 years of age at the time of the election, residents of the district they represent, and qualified to vote for General Assembly legislators.[1] The regular session of the General Assembly is 60 days long during even numbered years and 30 days long during odd numbered years, unless extended by a two-thirds vote of both houses.[1]


Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Democratic Republican Vacant
End of previous legislature 17 23 40 0
Begin 21 19 40 0
January 1, 2010[2] 18 39 1
January 12, 2010[3] 17 38 2
January 13, 2010[4] 22 18 40 0
Latest voting share 55% 45%


President pro tempore Chuck Colgan
Majority Leader Dick Saslaw
Minority Leader Tommy Norment

Committee chairs and ranking members

The Senate has 11 standing committees.[5]

Committee Chair Senior Minority Member
Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Patsy Ticer Emmett Hanger
Commerce and Labor Dick Saslaw William C. Wampler, Jr.
Courts of Justice Henry Marsh Ken Stolle
Education and Health Edd Houck Fred Quayle
Finance Chuck Colgan William C. Wampler, Jr.
General Laws and Technology Mamie Locke William C. Wampler, Jr.
Local Government Louise Lucas Fred Quayle
Privileges and Elections Janet Howell Steve Martin
Rehabilitation and Social Services Toddy Puller Emmett Hanger
Rules Mary Margaret Whipple William C. Wampler, Jr.
Transportation Yvonne B. Miller Steve Newman


District Name Party Areas Represented First Election
Counties Cities
1 John Miller Democratic York (part) Hampton (part), Newport News (part), Poquoson 2007
2 Mamie Locke Hampton (part), Newport News (part), Portsmouth (part), Suffolk (part) 2003
3 Tommy Norment Republican Gloucester, James City, New Kent, York (part) Newport News (part), Williamsburg 1991
4 Ryan McDougle Caroline, Essex, Hanover, King and Queen, King William, Middlesex, Spotsylvania (part) 2006
5 Yvonne B. Miller Democratic Chesapeake (part), Norfolk (part), Virginia Beach (part) 1987
6 Ralph Northam Accomack, Mathews, Northampton Norfolk (part), Virginia Beach (part) 2007
7 Frank Wagner Republican Virginia Beach (part) 2001
8 Jeff McWaters 2010
9 A. Donald McEachin Democratic Charles City, Henrico (part) Richmond (part) 2007
10 John Watkins Republican Amelia, Chesterfield (part), Cumberland (part), Goochland (part), Henrico (part), Powhatan 1997
11 Stephen H. Martin Chesterfield (part) Colonial Heights 1993
12 Walter Stosch Goochland (part), Henrico (part) Richmond (part) 1991
13 Fred Quayle Isle of Wight (part), Prince George (part), Southampton (part), Surry Chesapeake (part), Franklin (part), Hopewell (part), Portsmouth (part), Suffolk (part) 1991
14 Harry Blevins Chesapeake (part), Virginia Beach (part) 2001
15 Frank Ruff Amherst (part), Appomattox, Brunswick (part), Buckingham (part), Charlotte, Cumberland (part), Fluvanna, Halifax, Lunenburg (part), Mecklenburg, Prince Edward 2000
16 Henry L. Marsh Democratic Chesterfield (part), Dinwiddie, Prince George (part) Hopewell (part), Petersburg, Richmond (part) 1991
17 Edd Houck Culpeper, Louisa, Madison, Orange, Spotsylvania (part) Fredericksburg (part) 1983
18 Louise Lucas Brunswick (part), Greensville, Isle of Wight (part), Lunenburg (part), Nottoway, Southampton (part), Sussex Chesapeake (part), Emporia, Portsmouth (part), Suffolk (part) 1991
19 Robert Hurt Republican Campbell (part), Franklin, Pittsylvania Danville 2007
20 Roscoe Reynolds Democratic Carroll, Floyd, Grayson (part), Henry, Patrick, Wythe (part) Galax, Martinsville 1996
21 John S. Edwards Craig, Giles, Montgomery (part), Pulaski (part), Roanoke (part) Roanoke 1995
22 Ralph K. Smith Republican Botetourt, Montgomery (part), Roanoke (part) Radford, Salem 2007
23 Steve Newman Amherst (part), Bedford, Campbell (part) Bedford, Lynchburg 1995
24 Emmett Hanger Albemarle (part), Augusta, Greene, Highland, Rockbridge (part), Rockingham (part) Lexington, Staunton, Waynesboro 1995
25 Creigh Deeds Democratic Albemarle (part), Alleghany, Bath, Buckingham (part), Nelson, Rockbridge (part) Buena Vista, Charlottesville, Covington 2001
26 Mark Obenshain Republican Page, Rappahannock, Rockingham (part), Shenandoah, Warren Harrisonburg 2003
27 Jill Holtzman Vogel Clarke, Fauquier (part), Frederick, Loudoun (part) Winchester 2007
28 Richard Stuart Fauquier (part), King George, Lancaster, Northumberland, Prince William (part), Richmond, Stafford, Westmoreland Fredericksburg (part) 2007
29 Chuck Colgan Democratic Prince William (part) Manassas, Manassas Park 1975
30 Patsy Ticer Arlington (part), Fairfax (part) Alexandria (part) 1995
31 Mary Margaret Whipple Falls Church 1995
32 Janet Howell Fairfax (part) 1991
33 Mark Herring Fairfax (part), Loudoun (part) 2006
34 Chap Petersen Fairfax (part) Fairfax 2007
35 Richard L. Saslaw Alexandria (part) 1980
36 Toddy Puller Fairfax (part), Prince William (part) 2000
37 Dave Marsden Democratic Fairfax (part) 2010
38 Phillip Puckett Democratic Bland, Buchanan, Dickenson, Pulaski (part), Russell, Smyth (part), Tazewell, Wise (part), Wythe (part) 1998
39 George Barker Fairfax (part), Prince William (part) 2007
40 William C. Wampler, Jr. Republican Grayson (part), Lee, Scott, Smyth (part), Washington, Wise (part) Bristol, Norton 1988

Senate seal

The Senate has its own coat of arms designed and granted by the College of Arms in England.[6][7] The coat of arms also makes up the official seal of the Virginia Senate. It bears no resemblance to the Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia, which is the seal of the state as a whole.

The seal of the London Company.

The coat of arms adopted January 22, 1981 was designed by the College of Arms and supposedly based on the seal and coat of arms used by the London Company, the royally-chartered English entrepreneurs who funded the European settlement of Virginia. However, other than both devices displaying a quartered shield, there is little resemblance between them.

The Senate's arms have a shield in the center which is divided into four sections by a red cross. In each quarter are smaller shields representing the arms of four countries (England, France, Scotland, and Ireland) that contributed settlers to Virginia's earliest waves of European immigration.[6][7]

The four coats of arms, a small crest of a crowned female head with unbound hair representing Queen Elizabeth (the Virgin Queen who named Virginia,[8] and the dragon (part of the Elizabethan royal seal of England) represent Virginia's European heritage.[6][7]

An ivory gavel emblazoned on the vertical arm of the red cross represents the Senate as a law making body. The cardinal and dogwood depicted are Virginia's official state bird and tree. The ribbon contains the Latin motto of the Senate, Floreat Senatus Virginiae, which means "May the Senate of Virginia flourish." [6][7]


  1. ^ a b c "Virginia State Legislature". Retrieved 2008-09-12. 
  2. ^ Republican Ken Stolle (District 8) resigned to become Sheriff of Virginia Beach
  3. ^ Republican Ken Cuccinelli (District 37) resigned to become Virginia Attorney General.
  4. ^ Republican Jeff McWaters and Democrat Dave W. Marsden sworn in to succeed Stolle and Cuccinelli, respectively.
  5. ^ "Legislative Committees". Legislative Information System. Virginia General Assembly. Retrieved 2009-01-16. 
  6. ^ a b c d Official Virginia State Senate "Capitol Classroom" site. Accessed November 7, 2007.
  7. ^ a b c d Answers.Com: Virginia State Senate Seal Accessed November 7, 2007.
  8. ^ The Queen named Virginia in 1584 by modifying a Native American regional "king" named "Wingina". Stewart, George (1945). Names on the Land: A Historical Account of Place-Naming in the United States. New York: Random House. p. 22. 

External links


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