Benjamin Lambert

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Benjamin J. Lambert, III (January 29, 1937 – March 2, 2014) was an American optometrist and legislator elected to the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate as a Democrat.

Early life and education[edit]

Lambert was born in Richmond, Virginia on January 29, 1937. Lambert attended racially-segregated public schools in Henrico County, Virginia. He received his undergraduate degree from Virginia Union University and a graduate degree from the New England College of Optometry. He began practicing optometry in Richmond in 1962.

Political career[edit]

In 1977, Lambert was elected a Member of the House of Delegates from the Richmond-based 33rd district. In 1985, he was elected to the Virginia Senate representing the 9th Senate District, which included all of Charles City County, and parts of Henrico County and the City of Richmond. He was the first African-American in the 20th Century to serve on the Virginia Senate Finance Committee. During his senate tenure, Lambert served on a number of committees, including Education and Health, General Laws, Privileges and Elections, Senate Finance, General Government, and Health and Human Resources. Additionally, he chaired the Subcommittees on Higher Education and General Government, the Brown v. Board Scholarship Commission, and the Lead Abatement Subcommittee.[1]

In 2006, Lambert endorsed Republican U.S. Senator George Allen's unsuccessful reelection bid.[2] The following year, Senator Lambert was defeated for re-election by former Delegate Donald A. McEachin who made the Allen endorsement a key factor in the contest.[3]

Corporate and other board service[edit]

Lambert served as Secretary of the Board of Trustees of Virginia Union University and Virginia Commonwealth University's Health Systems Authority Board. He also served as a Director of Consolidated Bank & Trust Company and USA Education Inc., (Sallie Mae) Lambert has served as a Director of Dominion Resources since 1994.[4]


Lambert died, aged 77, in a Richmond hospital, following a period of failing health.[5]


Virginia House of Delegates
Preceded by
Multi-member district
Virginia House of Delegates, District 33
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Virginia House of Delegates, District 71
Succeeded by
Jean W. Cunningham
Senate of Virginia
Preceded by
Douglas Wilder
Virginia Senate, District 9
Succeeded by
Donald A. McEachin