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Dick Black (politician)

Dick Black
Member of the Virginia Senate
from the 13th district
Assumed office
January 11, 2012
Preceded by Frederick M. Quayle
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 32nd district
In office
February 5, 1998 – January 3, 2006
Preceded by William C. Mims
Succeeded by David E. Poisson
Personal details
Born Richard Hayden Black
(1944-05-15) May 15, 1944
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Barbara Jean Hale
Residence Loudoun County, Virginia
Alma mater University of Florida (B.S., J.D.)
U.S. Army War College
Committees Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources, General Laws and Technology, Education and Health, Rehabilitation and Social Services
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
United States Army
Years of service 1963–1970 (USMC)
1976–1994 (USA)
Rank Colonel
Unit J.A.G. Corps
Battles/wars Vietnam War

Richard Hayden "Dick" Black (born May 15, 1944) is a member of the Republican Party who has served in the Virginia Senate since 2012. Black was previously a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1998 to 2006.


  • Early career 1
    • Bio 1.1
    • Serving in the Marines 1.2
    • Serving in the JAG Corps 1.3
  • Political career 2
    • Virginia House of Delegates 2.1
    • Defeat and 2007 Congressional election 2.2
    • Virginia Senate 2.3
    • Assad Letter 2.4
    • General Assembly action required to expand Medicaid 2.5
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Early career


Republican Senator Dick Black represents the newly formed 13th District encompassing both parts of Loudoun and Prince Williams Counties. Formerly, Senator Black represented the 32nd District in Loudoun County, Virginia, for eight years in the House of Delegates.[1]

He was born near his mother's farm in Maryland. He and Barbara have been married for 42 years. They have three children and twelve grandchildren.[1]

Serving in the Marines

He enlisted in the Marines in 1963. By age 21, Black became a second lieutenant and was among the Marines' youngest aircraft carrier-qualified pilots. He flew 269 combat helicopter missions in Vietnam. Ground fire struck his aircraft on four different occasions.[1]

Black also engaged in bitter ground combat with the 1st Marine Regiment. His radiomen were killed and he was wounded during an attack against enemy positions across the Hoi An River. Black served in small-unit actions where two fellow Marines—PFC Gary Martini and SSgt. Jimmie Howard—won the Medal of Honor. While in office, he was the only member of the Virginia General Assembly who held the Purple Heart Medal for wounds received in battle.[1]

After the war, he served as a flight instructor and later attended engineer school. Black graduated second from engineer officers' class and was made a Company Commander. He deployed his 240-man unit to Vieques Island, Puerto Rico. There, Captain Black's Marines rebuilt the island runway. They operated a large rock quarry—drilling, blasting, crushing and trucking aggregate used to pave the airstrip. By then, Captain Black was 25 years old.[1]

Dick left the Marines to attend the University of Florida. There, he was twice elected to the Student Senate. He graduated with honors from the School of Business in 1973 and earned a law degree in 1976. He practiced law in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, before accepting a commission as a Major in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps (JAG).[1]

Serving in the JAG Corps

The Judge Advocate General of the Army appointed Dick to head the legal office at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. While there, he lobbied the Missouri legislature for legislation that curbed drunk driving. As an ex-officio member of the City Council for St. Robert, Missouri, Black led a major crackdown on vice that shut down eight houses of prostitution.[1]

He supervised 40 attorneys at Ft. Lewis, Washington. There, he executed one of the most complex federal land transactions in recent years. He negotiated and developed legislation protecting competing interests of state and federal agencies, environmental groups, ranchers, and the Yakima Indian Nation. His efforts preserved the hunting and fishing rights of the Indian people, and provided for the eventual return of the vast, 63,000-acre tract to them.[1]

Black headed the Army's Criminal Law Division at the Pentagon. He developed Executive Orders for the President's signature, and laws that were enacted by Congress. He advised senior government officials on issues of national significance. He testified before the U.S. Congress, representing the U.S. Army, on four occasions. In 1994, Colonel Dick Black retired from military service to become a partner in the law firm of Taylor, Horbaly, and Black. In addition to operating a successful law practice, Dick Black was a frequent media guest who appeared over 30 times on CNN and other national networks discussing foreign and military affairs.[1]

Before running for office, Black was a military prosecutor. During his time as a prosecutor, he handled a variety of cases, including prosecuting men for spousal rape.[1] He first held public office on the Loudoun County Library Board, where in 1997 he authored a policy that blocked pornography on library computers.[2]

Political career

Virginia House of Delegates

He was first elected to the Virginia House in a special election in 1997 to succeed Republican Delegate Bill Mims, who had been elected to the Virginia Senate.[3] A "deeply conservative" delegate,[4] Black is know to hold strong Conservative view, both fiscally and socially.

Colonel Black's awards include the Samuel Adams Award for Leadership in Government, the Brent Society Distinguished Service Award for defending life, marriage and family values, the Project Michael Award for protecting unborn children, and the Lamplighter Award for defending human life.[1]

National Right to Work selected him as Virginia's top legislator for 2003, an honor usually reserved for U.S. Senators and Representatives. In 2006, he received 100% ratings from the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance, and the Family Foundation. Both the Family Foundation and the Virginia Association of Chiropractors named Delegate Black Northern Virginia Legislator of the Year. He earned an A+ rating from the NRA. His military awards include the Purple Heart Medal, three Legions of Merit, thirteen Air Medals, two Presidential Unit Citations, the Army General Staff Badge, and Naval Aviators' Wings of Gold.[1]

Dick Black enacted legislation to build the Rt. 28 Freeway with ten new flyovers. He was among Virginia's foremost conservative leaders. In 2004, he set the high-water mark for pro-life legislation. He enacted legislation requiring Parental Consent for minors' abortions. He was Chief Co-patron of the Ban on Partial Birth Abortion.[1]

He sponsored the Firearms Preemption Act that swept away hundreds of conflicting local ordinances, and restored 2nd Amendment rights to Virginia. He advocated lower taxes and limited government. He opposed special group rights. He supported the original meaning of the 1st and 2nd Amendments, advocated school choice, and was a strong proponent of U.S. sovereignty. He is strongly pro-business and tough on crime.[1]

Defeat and 2007 Congressional election

He was defeated in his quest for a fifth term by Democrat David Poisson in 2005. Poisson defeated him 53%–47%. Black ran for the Republican nomination in the special election for Virginia's 1st congressional district in October 2007. A convention was held to determine the nominee and Black survived multiple balloting rounds, outlasting many well-named Republicans from the area. Black was finally defeated in the fourth ballot. State Delegate Rob Wittman was picked and went on to win the election.[5]

Virginia Senate

Black ran for the State Senate in 2013, in the 13th district to succeed the retiring Republican incumbent Fred Quayle. During redistricting in that year, Democrats redrew the lines to put Black's home in Loudoun County into a district that reached across Fairfax County all the way to Arlington County. Black moved from this District into the newly created 13th which encompasses nearly half of Loudoun County and a portion of Prince William County.[6] Black won a hard fought three-way primary, taking 3,143 votes (38.83%) to John Stirrup's 3,029 votes (37.42%) and Robert S. Fitzsimmonds' 1,923 votes (23.76%).[7] In the general election, Black handily defeated Democrat Shawn Mitchell by 57% to 43%.[8]

In 2014, Black briefly considered running for Virginia's 10th congressional district in the 2014 elections to succeed retiring Republican incumbent Frank Wolf.[9] He ultimately decided not to run, saying: "after meeting with Republican Caucus leaders in Richmond, it is imperative that I remain in the Senate where I am needed to maintain our 20/20 split."[10] Although the Virginia Senate is split 20/20, Democrats hold the majority as Ralph Northam, the Democratic Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, casts tie-breaking votes.

Assad Letter

In April 2014 Black sent an official letter to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad,[11] thanking "the Syrian Arab Army for it's heroic rescue of Christians in the Qalamoun Mountain Range",[11] and praising Assad for "treating with respect all Christians and the small community of Jews in Damascus".[11][12] In an interview with Politico, Black compared events in the Syrian Civil War to a movie.[13] Democratic Virginia Senator A. Donald McEachin called the letter "bizarre".[14] Republican Senator Bill Stanley later joked "What’s the matter, Dick? Was Kim Jong-un not returning your text messages?".[15]

General Assembly action required to expand Medicaid

Senator Black by introduced a budget amendment to the General Assembly to prohibit Medicaid expansion without the legislature’s approval. He led a conservative revolt against Medicaid expansion that inspired the Twitter hashtag, #BlackorBust.[16] The battle raged late into the night. Conservative Republicans closed ranks around Senator Black: Sen. Thomas A. Garrett (R-Louisa) tweeted, “#blackorbust I WON’T vote for a budget that lacks #dickblack amendment.” [17]

After a full day of heated back-door debates, Black prevailed. Medicaid expansion was Gov. McAuliffe’s signature issue. It was envisioned that states would expand Medicaid to implement Obamacare.[17] McAuliffe vowed not to sign a budget without it.

An unprecedented government shutdown loomed unless the legislature agreed to Medicaid expansion. Budget negotiators had carefully inserted budget language appropriating funds for Medicaid expansion.[18] The blanket appropriation was not contingent on further action by the General Assembly.[18] Black considered this a backdoor expansion of Medicaid outside of a genuine, public debate and legislative vote.

On June 20, 2014, Gov. McAuliffe announced he would veto the Black or Bust amendment. But his attempted veto of the Black or Bust Medicaid Amendment failed when his veto was ruled unlawful by the Speaker.[19]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Senator Black Web Site". 
  2. ^ David Nakamura; Jacqueline L. Salmon (October 22, 1997). "Internet Curbed in Loudoun; Library Board to Block Sexual Material". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  3. ^ Peter Pae; David Nakamura (January 8, 1998). "Library Board Member Has Designs on Delegate's Seat". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  4. ^ Helderman, Rosalind S. (October 9, 2010). "Former Loudoun delegate confirms run for state Senate". Washington Post. Retrieved July 29, 2012. 
  5. ^ "VA District 01 - Special R Convention". Our Campaigns. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  6. ^ David Sherfinski (August 9, 2011). "Black moves residence in bid to return to Richmond". Washington Times. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  7. ^ "VA State Senate 13 - R Primary". Our Campaigns. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  8. ^ "VA State Senate 13". Our Campaigns. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  9. ^ Carey, Julie (January 8, 2014). "Loudoun Co. Official Enters Race for Wolf's Seat".  
  10. ^ Ben Pershing (January 23, 2014). "Dick Black makes surprise decision to drop out of race to replace Frank Wolf in Congress". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 23, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b c Presidency of the Syrian Arab Republic - Timeline Photos. May 26, 2014 . Retrieved June 7, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Bashar al-Assad posts a letter of support from a Virginia state senator".  
  13. ^ "Assad-loving Va. pol defends views". Politico. May 29, 2014. Retrieved May 29, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Officials react to Va. state senator's letter to Syrian president". WUSA9. May 28, 2014. Retrieved May 29, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Schapiro: For Dick Black, issues are black or white". Richmond Times-Dispatch. May 29, 2014. Retrieved June 4, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Grassroots Activism Scores Win on Medicaid Expansion". 
  17. ^ a b "After hours of strife, lawmakers pass budget without Medicaid expansion". 
  18. ^ a b "Now…about that so-called "clean" budget". 
  19. ^ "Virginia lawmakers finalize budget, averting a shutdown as GOP thwarts McAuliffe veto". 

External links

  • Senator Dick Black (R-Leesburg) at Richmond Sunlight
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