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Guest Name
L Douglas Wilder
L Douglas Wilder
Guest Occupation
Former Virginia Govenor
Guest Biography

Former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder was the first African-American to be elected governor in the U.S., leading the commonwealth of Virginia from 1990 to 1994. As governor, he was commended for his sound fiscal management and balancing the state budget during difficult economic times. Financial World magazine ranked Virginia as the best managed state in the U.S. for two consecutive years under his administration. He served as lieutenant governor from 1986 to 1990.

Serving as a state senator representing Richmond from 1969 to 1985, Wilder became the first African-American state senator in Virginia since Reconstruction. During his five terms as state senator, he chaired committees on transportation, rehabilitation and social services, privileges and elections, the Virginia Advisory Legislative Council and the Senate Steering Committee, which appoints committee members. He successfully sponsored Virginia’s first drug paraphernalia law and the compulsory school attendance law.

Other legislative achievements as state senator include providing state health care coverage for sickle cell anemia patients, toughening penalties for capital murders and prison escapees and expanding low- and moderate-income housing. For eight years, he persisted in sponsoring legislation that eventually led to establishing a state holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.