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Lucas Urges June 20 Primary Voters To Review Her Record

Virginia Senator Louise Lucas, a prominent African-American Democrat, is urging voters in the upcoming June 20th Democratic Primary to review her record. Lucas is fighting for the Democratic nomination against Senate colleague and friend, Senator Lionell Spruill Sr.



By Leonard E. Colvin
Chief Reporter
New Journal and Guide

For three decades, State Senator L. Louise Lucas, a Democrat, has said,  “I wake up every morning ready to fight to empower my constituents” in the 18th Senate District and all over Virginia.

Conservative Republican Glenn Youngkin is Governor, and currently the GOP has control of the House of Delegates.

With a slight majority in control of the State Senate, she and her fellow Democrats for the past two legislative sessions erected a brick firewall to block Republican legislation restricting reproductive health care, limiting abortion, voting rights, access to an equitable education, and other rights.

When Lucas wakes up every morning, she said she is reminded and reminds herself that she is one of the strongest bricks in that wall.


This makes Lucas, who loves to remind people that she came from humble origins in Portsmouth, the most powerful African-American political figure in Virginia at this point.

The current Senate President Pro Tempore, states that she has sat on every Senate  Committee except two. After her next re-election, she stands to become chair of the most powerful committee in the Legislature: the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee where billions of dollars are allocated for priorities that are decided by a 16-member panel committee. The current chair of that committee, Sen. Janet Howell, will retire soon. Howell is the first woman to chair the committee.  Lucas is positioned to assume the reins, the first African American to do so in the history of Virginia.

But along with all those important tools to exercise her civic responsibility and power for all Virginians, when Lucas wakes up in the morning these days, she has her political future to fight for, too.

Lucas is engaged in a primary battle with Senate colleague and longtime friend, Senator Lionell Spruill, Sr.

As  a result of redistricting in the Commonwealth after the 2020 census, the lines of the 18th Senate District now represented by Sen. Lucas of Portsmouth were redrawn forming a new 18th Senate District. The 5th Senate District now represented by Sen. Spruill of Chesapeake was moved completely out of Hampton Roads, and Spruill’s Chesapeake constituency was moved into the new 18th Senate District.


Now both Senators Lucas and Spruill are campaigning for the June 20th Democratic Primary in the new 18th Senate District to determine which of them will face opposition from the GOP come the General Election in November.

The Lucas-Spruill race will probably be the most expensive legislative primary race campaign in the region’s history.

Senator Lucas has always represented a portion of Chesapeake which is part of the 18th Senatorial District. Now over 60 percent of the new 18th District is in Chesapeake, the rest in  Portsmouth. Both candidates are counting on long political and personal ties in those respective cities to help them win the Democratic nomination.

Reporters have found it hard wringing an answer from their fellow politicians as to which of the two candidates they support on or off the record. Some even are showing up at rallies and ‘meets and greets’ for both candidates.

Lucas kicked off her 2023 campaign at the Bide-A-Wee Golf Course, where one of her early civil rights battles centered around leading the fight to end segregation at the facility,  bringing her career full circle.


She has crafted a legion of surrogates who attend events or rallies to sing her praises and gain support for her campaign.

Lucas is eager to talk about her long list of accomplishments of “bringing home the bacon” to fund various projects or reforms and new laws she has championed.

One of Lucas’s biggest legislative feats in 2023 may be realized by the end of the year. Lucas was the key chief patron of the legislation in the Senate that will devote millions in state dollars toward the establishment of the Eastern Virginia Health Sciences Center at Old Dominion University, a merger of EVMS with ODU.

Lucas is credited with being the spark behind the creation of the first five gambling casinos in Virginia, including the Rivers Casino that opened in January in her Portsmouth hometown. Early financial reports suggest that project is already reaping benefits for the city.

Education is another priority for Lucas who supports raising teacher pay and benefits including performance bonuses.


She is also a strong supporter of a plan to reduce the statewide teacher shortage in public schools. Lucas said she supports a plan to allow teachers who retire to come back into the classroom to use their expertise and reduce the number of teacher vacancies.

To reduce the literacy gap and bolster their ability in all areas, Lucas was the chief patron of the legislation to put reading specialists in the public schools’ classrooms initially from K-3, and then expanding the initiative to higher grades. “If they can’t read, by the third grade, how can they read to do math or do well in other areas,” asked Lucas.

Louise Lucas said she sponsored legislation so NSU and VSU can now apply the in-state tuition rates to out-of-state students. This will lower the cost of tuition for those students and help the two HBCUs expand their enrollments.

As a member of the Senate Judiciary, Court of Justice Committee, Lucas said she has helped to expand the number of African-Americans and women serving as judges in Virginia.

“When I was first elected to the Senate the number of Blacks judges was minuscule,” she said. “Now we have decent representation in all Hampton Roads cities.”


Lucas said she led the Black caucus effort and was a co-patron on the bill to legalize the possession of small amounts of Marijuana to reduce the disproportionate number of poor and Black people being sent to jail.

She also fought to curb the police traffic stops for minor infractions including no lights shining on car license plates or objects tied on the rearview mirror of an automobile.

Lucas said that Virginia, like other states in the Union, has locales that are experiencing gun violence. While the more progressive Senate, Lucas said, has passed bills to expand background checks and other measures to reduce deadly automatic weapons used in the mass shootings across the nation, “the Republicans have blocked them in the House, or the Governor had not supported them because they are still in bed with the National Rifle Association  (NRA).”

“If voters look at my record, and consider what I have accomplished for the 18th Senatorial District, they would realize that I am the best choice,” said Lucas during a recent interview  with the GUIDE.

“This is not a personality or a popularity contest. This is about who can do the best job of bringing home millions of state dollars to the people and institutions of this region.”


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