Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax became the Comonnonwealth’s second African-American sworn into that office. The Hon. L. Douglas Wilder was the state’s first African-American to assume the office in 1986. Wilder went on the become the state’s 66th Governor from 1990-1994.
Fairfax released the statement on January 15.
“Today, I had the honor of presiding over the Senate of Virginia for the first time. To preside for the first time on this date is particularly meaningful to me because it occurs on the 89th anniversary of the birth of the great civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His call for us to serve others and to pursue freedom and justice remains an important message today.
“On this first day, it was my privilege to extend with the Senators the warm welcome of the Senate to the many distinguished guests who visited the Senate.
“Serving the Commonwealth of Virginia is a high honor. I look forward to the rest of the General Assembly session and getting to work on legislation that the Senate will undertake to improve the lives of the Commonwealth’s residents.
“I would like to thank all of the Senators for the welcome they extended today to my family and me. I hope that we will have much to agree on during the coming weeks and it is my hope that we continue with the cooperative spirit in evidence today.
“I would also like to thank the Clerk of the Senate, Susan Schaar, and her staff for their assistance and continued guidance. Their hard work and preparation makes all of our jobs in the Senate easier and more productive.
“Finally, but no less importantly, I would like to thank my extended family for their love and support – especially my wife, Dr. Cerina Fairfax, and our children Cameron and Carys.
“I look forward to this evening, when Governor Northam delivers his address to the Joint Assembly, and to a productive and successful legislative session.