House of Delegates elects first Black Speaker Wednesday

January 11, 2024

According to the Virginia Political News Letter from Virginia Scope, Del. Don Scott (D-Portsmouth) was sworn into his position as Speaker of the House Wednesday, making him the first Black person to serve in this role in Virginia’s history. Chief justice of the Virginia Supreme Court, S. Bernard Goodwyn, administered the oath of office to Scott.

“With the 2024 session now underway, I’m grateful for the trust that my colleagues have placed in me,” said Scott. “Let’s meet this historic moment, and set our sights on moving Virginia forward.”

During his first speech as speaker, Scott talked about his personal history, noting that he was in federal prison for more than seven years earlier in life — and now he is the most powerful member in the House of Delegates.

“It’s an honor and privilege to be elected by my peers as the first Black speaker of the House of Delegates, 405 years after the founding of the longest continuous democratically elected body in the Western Hemisphere,” Scott said.

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He also stated that he will be a speaker for both parties, not just Democrats — despite his history of throwing verbal bombs at Republicans during his time as minority leader.

Scott noted that with a slim Democratic majority in both chambers and a Republican governor, their work will have to be done in a bipartisan fashion. He referenced the last two years of work the legislature has completed with a Democratic Senate and Republican House and how everything they accomplished during that time was bipartisan.

His wife, daughter, and mother were in the House chamber to see him be sworn into his role as speaker.

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