With Democratic wins, Del. Don Scott could become Virginia's first Black Speaker of the House

Posted at 3:48 PM, Nov 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-08 18:04:09-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Bolstered by big Election Day wins, Virginia Democrats announced a new construction project Tuesday night.

"We're more than just a brick wall [blocking Governor Youngkin's Republican agenda]," Virginia State Sen. Mamie Locke (D - District 23) said. "We are now a frickin' brick house."

After the votes in Virginia were counted, Democrats kept control of the state Senate and took control of the House of Delegates.

"The people of the Commonwealth of Virginia have spoken. And what they said was we won't go backward," Del. Don Scott (D - District 88) said.

Democrats said their party's victory capped off a months-long campaign that saw voters drawn to their message including protecting abortion access.

Republicans and Governor Glenn Youngkin talked about Virginia passing a 15-week abortion ban, with exceptions.

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"Hopefully, the Republicans will get the message that voters are tired of the mess, they're tired of the extremism, they're tired of the chaos. They're tired of the dysfunction that's been demonstrated by the Republicans when they've been in power," Scott said.

Looking ahead to the next two years, Democrats said they hoped to be able to work with Youngkin on things like gun safety, helping Virginians earn a decent living and funding education.

But Democrats add Youngkin will need to take a different approach to governing, saying he hasn't yet treated them as an equal partner.

"He thinks he's the CEO of Virginia. He's not, he's just in charge of one part of the government. We've got another part, our courts have another part. And we're going to have a real discussion, I think going forward for the next two years," Sen. Scott Surovell (D - District 34) said. "The budget is, I think, where you're going to see the rubber hit the road and the governor is really going to have to have some serious discussion with us because we have to get a budget done in Virginia. We balanced our budget every year. We've never not done a budget."

Along with a new balance of power, Tuesday's victory for the Democrats in the House also brought a chance to make history.

Current House Minority Leader Don Scott could become the first African-American Speaker of the House in the chamber's 400-plus year history.

"To the African American Black community, I think this is a day of pride for them to see somebody like me being in this position," Del. Scott said. "To see that this would be the first time that a Black person would hold the gavel in the House of Delegates and it would be me, it's an honor and I think all of the Commonwealth of Virginia, whether you're Republican or Democrat, can be proud of this day."

History could also be made in the Senate, where Sen. L. Louise Lucas (District 18) could become the first African-American to serve as the chair of the Senate Finance Committee.

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