Dick Black (politician)

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Richard H. Black
Member of the Virginia Senate
from the 13th district
Assumed office
January 11, 2012
Preceded by Fred Quayle
Member of the Virginia House of Representatives
from the 32nd district
In office
January 1998 – January 3, 2006
Preceded by Bill Mims
Succeeded by David Poisson
Personal details
Born (1944-05-15) May 15, 1944 (age 70)
Baltimore, Maryland
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Barbara Black
Residence Loudoun County, Virginia
Alma mater University of Florida
University of Virginia
United States Army War College
Committees Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources

General Laws and Technology Education and Health Rehabilitation and Social Services

Website http://www.dickblack4senate.com

Richard H. "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[edit]

Before running for office, Black was a military prosecutor.[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] To explain why the policy was necessary, he invited a reporter to film him watching rape pornography on a library computer, to show how nearby library users could also see the pornography.[1] Librarians only received one complaint about their computers being used to view pornography - when Black did so.[1] The policy drew national attention and first amendment litigation struck down the policy, costing the Board $100,000.[1][3][4]

Political career[edit]

Virginia House of Representatives[edit]

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.[5] During his election campaign, he said that rape in the military was "as predictable as human nature" and asked a reporter: "Think of yourself at 25. Wouldn't you love to have a group of 19-year-old girls under your control, day in, day out?"[1] Black resigned from the Library Board a few months after being sworn-in.[6] A "deeply conservative" delegate,[7] Black became well-known for making inflammatory and controversial statements.[8]

In 1998, he tried to pass a law to require doctors give anaesthetic to foetuses before late-term abortions and another that "tried to effectively ban gay people from adopting children in Virginia".[9] In late 2000, in the wake of the Columbine High School massacre, Black proposed legislation that would require students to address their teachers as "Ma'am", "Sir", "Mr.", "Miss" or "Mrs.", saying that "The counterculture revolution of the '70s took the war into the classroom. Before that time, public schools were a model of decorum, and then we began this thing we've seen play out at Columbine."[10] In February 2001, he voted to establish a 24-hour waiting period for women wanting abortions and called emergency contraception "baby pesticide".[11] In February 2002, Black opposed making marital rape a crime, saying that it was impossible to convict a man "when they're living together, sleeping in the same bed, she's in a nightie, and so forth."[1] In late 2002 and early 2003, Black opposed erecting a statue of Abraham Lincoln and his son Thomas at the Tredegar Iron Works to commemorate Lincoln's visit to Richmond on April 4, 1865, 10 days before his assassination. Black said, "Putting a statue to [Lincoln] there is sort of like putting the Confederate flag at the Lincoln Memorial."[12]

In July 2003, Black proposed legislation that would prevent unmarried and gay couples from applying for low-interest home mortgages, saying that the state was "spending $90 million to subsidize sodomy and adultery. I just don’t understand why we are taking money away [from worthwhile programs] and supporting a radical homosexual agenda."[13] Also in 2003, he handed out plastic foetuses to fellow delegates before votes on abortion issues.[9] He also once remarked that abortion was "a greater evil than segregation or slavery" and in 2005 he authored a bill that would require abortion providers to wrongly tell women that foetuses being aborted after 20 weeks could feel pain.[1] Also in 2005, he resurrected his legislation that would ban gay people from adopting children, claiming that gay people were more prone to violence, alcoholism, and suicide.[1] He then amended the bill to require that adoption agencies investigate whether people looking to adopt children were "known to engage in current voluntary homosexual activity".[1] In February of that year, he urged his constituents to picket Stone Bridge High School for putting on a play about a gay football player, claiming that the school was "being used to promote a homosexual lifestyle." He further claimed that attempts to "encourage homosexual activity, to portray it in a cute or favorable light" could lead to children contracting HIV.[14] In 2004, he said with regard to Virginia's sodomy law: "If I'm the last person on the face of this Earth to vote against legalizing sodomy, I'll do it."[15]

Defeat and 2007 Congressional election[edit]

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 came fifth, eliminated in the fourth ballot. State Delegate Rob Wittman was picked and went on to win the election.[16]

Virginia Senate[edit]

Black ran for the State Senate in 2013, in the 13th district to succeed the retiring Republican incumbent Fred Quayle. He moved residence from the 33rd district, believing that the incumbent Democrat, Mark Herring, was too difficult an opponent.[9] Black narrowly won the 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%).[17] In the general election, Black defeated Democrat Shawn Mitchell by 57% to 43%.[18]

In an interview in December 2013, Black compared same-sex marriage to polygamy and incest, saying that although he opposed polygamy, "at least it functions biologically", adding that it was "just more natural" than homosexuality.[19]

In 2014, Black briefly ran for Virginia's 10th congressional district in the 2014 elections to succeed retiring Republican incumbent Frank Wolf.[20] He withdrew on January 23, two days after declaring his candidacy, 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."[21] 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[edit]

In April 2014, Black sent an official letter to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad,[22] thanking "the Syrian Arab Army for it's heroic rescue of Christians in the Qalamoun Mountain Range,"[22] and praising Assad for "treating with respect all Christians and the small community of Jews in Damascus."[22][23] In an interview with Politico, Black compared events in the Syrian Civil War to a movie.[24] Democratic Virginia Senator A. Donald McEachin called the letter "bizarre"[25] and Republican Senator Bill Stanley later joked "What’s the matter, Dick? Was Kim Jong-un not returning your text messages?".[26]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Molly Redden (January 15, 2014). "GOP Congressional Candidate: Spousal Rape Shouldn't Be a Crime". Mother Jones. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  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. ^ Dana Hedgpeth (April 22, 1999). "Libraries Abandon Court Fight; Board Won't Appeal Internet Policy Rulings". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  4. ^ Dana Hedgpeth (April 25, 1999). "Black, Library Board Spar on Internet Issue". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  5. ^ Peter Pae; David Nakamura (January 8, 1998). "Library Board Member Has Designs on Delegate's Seat". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Supporter of Internet Restrictions Resigns From Library Board". The Washington Post. April 16, 1998. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  7. ^ Helderman, Rosalind S. (October 9, 2010). "Former Loudoun delegate confirms run for state Senate". Washington Post. Retrieved July 29, 2012. 
  8. ^ Ben Pershing (January 6, 2014). "Race to succeed Frank Wolf in Congress could feature sharp Republican divide". Washington Post. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c David Sherfinski (August 9, 2011). "Black moves residence in bid to return to Richmond". Washington Times. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Cultural faceoff centers on schools". Washington Times. December 26, 2000. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Abortion waiting time advances in Virginia". Washington Times. February 1, 2001. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Another Rebel Stand". Washington Post. January 9, 2003. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Conservatives to target relaxed mortgage rules". Washington Times. July 30, 2003. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Gay-Themed High School Play Sparks Va. Protests". Washington Post. February 9, 2005. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Gay issues top debate in Va.". Gay & Lesbian Times. January 8, 2004. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  16. ^ "VA District 01 - Special R Convention". Our Campaigns. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  17. ^ "VA State Senate 13 - R Primary". Our Campaigns. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  18. ^ "VA State Senate 13". Our Campaigns. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Social issues likely to take back seat in". northernvatimes.com. January 2014. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  20. ^ Carey, Julie (January 8, 2014). "Loudoun Co. Official Enters Race for Wolf's Seat". NBC Washington. Retrieved January 15, 2014. 
  21. ^ 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. 
  22. ^ a b c Presidency of the Syrian Arab Republic - Timeline Photos. May 26, 2014 https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=733802899996878&set=a.535716253138878.1073741829.533376740039496&type=1 |url= missing title (help). Retrieved June 7, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Bashar al-Assad posts a letter of support from a Virginia state senator". The Washington Post. May 27, 2014. Retrieved May 28, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Assad-loving Va. pol defends views". Politico. May 29, 2014. Retrieved May 29, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Officials react to Va. state senator's letter to Syrian president". WUSA9. May 28, 2014. Retrieved May 29, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Schapiro: For Dick Black, issues are black or white". Richmond Times-Dispatch. May 29, 2014. Retrieved June 4, 2014. 

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