Dick Black (politician)

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Dick 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 Delegates
from the 32nd district
In office
February 5, 1998 – January 3, 2006
Preceded by Bill Mims
Succeeded by David Poisson
Personal details
Born Richard Hayden Black
(1944-05-15) May 15, 1944 (age 72)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Barbara Jean Hale
Residence Loudoun County, Virginia
Alma mater University of Florida (B.S., J.D.)
U.S. Army War College
Committees Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources, General Laws and Technology, Education and Health, Rehabilitation and Social Services
Website www.dickblack4senate.com
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
United States Army
Years of service 1963–1970 (USMC)
1976–1994 (USA)
Rank Colonel
Unit J.A.G. Corps
Battles/wars Vietnam War

Richard Hayden "Dick" Black (born May 15, 1944) is a Republican member of the Virginia State Senate. Black represents the newly formed 13th District encompassing parts of both Loudoun and Prince Williams Counties.[1] Black was previously a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1998 to 2006.

Early career[edit]

Black richard served as a pilot in the US Marines during the Vietnam War, earning the Purple Heart medal.[1] After the war, he left the service and earned a law degree, returning to military service as a prosecutor with the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps.[1] Black later headed the Army's Criminal Law Division at the Pentagon, before retiring from the military in 1994.

Black first held elective office on the Loudoun County Library Board, where in 1997 he authored a policy that blocked pornography on library computers.[2] The policy drew national attention and first amendment litigation struck down the policy, costing the Board $100,000.[3][4]

Black's position in support of internet filtering in libraries was eventually vindicated by the US Supreme Court when it ruled in 2003 in US v American Library Association that public libraries' use of Internet filtering software does not violate their patrons' First Amendment rights.[5] Today Loudoun County Public libraries do contain internet filters, but allow adult patrons to turn them off provided they read and sign the LCPL Adult Internet Use Agreement to register to use the Internet, and by doing so agree to comply with library policies and guidelines which prohibit the viewing of pornographic materials.[6]

In 1996, Dick Black was practicing military law in Northern Virginia. In an interview with The Washington Times, Black said despite evidence that mixed gender training leads to sexual misconduct the Pentagon will not revert to same-sex assignments between instructors and recruits. Black said doing so "would be inconsistent with this tremendous drive to feminize the military today, to pretend there is no difference between the sexes."[7]

Political career[edit]

Virginia House of Delegates[edit]

He was first elected to the Virginia House in a special election in 1998 to succeed Republican Delegate Bill Mims, who had been elected to the Virginia Senate.[8] A "deeply conservative" delegate,[9] Black is known to hold strong Conservative views, both fiscally and socially.

In 1998, he tried to pass a law to require doctors give anaesthetic to foetuses before late-term abortions.[10]

During the 2001 Legislative session, Black dealt with a number of abortion related bills. In February 2001, he co-sponsored a bill to establish a 24-hour "informed consent" waiting period for women seeking an abortion. The bill required a clinic or hospital to tell a woman seeking an abortion the approximate age of the fetus, details of the abortion procedure and other options available to her. The bill eventually passed and was signed into law.[11][12]

Also during the 2001 session, Black opposed a bill that would allow the "morning-after pill" to be dispensed at pharmacies. Opponents of the bill said that, unlike normal contraceptives that prevent the fertilization of an egg, these types of emergency contraceptives can act as an abortifacient, preventing a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall. "This is a baby pesticide we're looking at. It's a toxic method of eliminating a child," said Black.[12] Although the bill failed to become law,[13] the morning-after pill can be purchased in Virginia from pharmacies without a prescription by people ages 17 or older and with a prescription for those 16 and younger, and one brand is available over-the-counter for people of all ages without ID.[14]

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."[15] Also in 2003, he handed out plastic foetuses to fellow delegates before votes on abortion issues.[10] In February of that year, he emailed his constituents about Stone Bridge High School 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.[16] 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."[17]

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.[18]

Virginia Senate[edit]

Black ran for the State Senate in 2011 in the newly created 13th district, which encompasses nearly half of Loudoun County and a portion of Prince William County. His former home had been in another portion of Loudoun County represented in the State Senate by Democrat Mark Herring.[10] Black won a hard fought three-way 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%).[19] In the general election, Black handily defeated Democrat Shawn Mitchell by 57% to 43%.[20]

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.[21]

In 2014, Black briefly considered running for Virginia's 10th congressional district in the 2014 elections to succeed retiring Republican incumbent Frank Wolf.[22] He ultimately decided not to run, 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."[23]

Bashar al-Assad[edit]

In April 2014, Black sent an official letter to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad,[24] thanking "the Syrian Arab Army for its heroic rescue of Christians in the Qalamoun Mountain Range",[24] and praising Assad for "treating with respect all Christians and the small community of Jews in Damascus".[24][25] In an interview with Politico, Black congratulated the Syrian Army saying they did "a spectacular job" and compared events of this rescue operation to a movie.[26] Democratic Virginia Senator A. Donald McEachin called the letter "bizarre".[27] Republican Senator Bill Stanley later joked "What’s the matter, Dick? Was Kim Jong-un not returning your text messages?".[28] On April 27, 2016, Black began a three-day trip to Syria in support of Assad.[29]

General Assembly action required to expand Medicaid[edit]

Senator Black introduced a budget amendment to the General Assembly to prohibit Medicaid expansion without the legislature’s approval. He led a conservative revolt against Medicaid expansion that inspired the Twitter hashtag, #BlackorBust.[30] The battle raged late into the night. Conservative Republicans closed ranks around Senator Black: Sen. Thomas A. Garrett (R-Louisa) tweeted, “#blackorbust I WON’T vote for a budget that lacks #dickblack amendment.” [31]

After a full day of heated back-door debates, Black prevailed. Medicaid expansion was Gov. McAuliffe’s signature issue. It was envisioned that states would expand Medicaid to implement Obamacare.[31] McAuliffe vowed not to sign a budget without it.

An unprecedented government shutdown loomed unless the legislature agreed to Medicaid expansion. Budget negotiators had carefully inserted budget language appropriating funds for Medicaid expansion.[32] The blanket appropriation was not contingent on further action by the General Assembly.[32] Black considered this a backdoor expansion of Medicaid outside of a genuine, public debate and legislative vote.

On June 20, 2014, Gov. McAuliffe announced he would veto the Black or Bust amendment. But his attempted veto of the Black or Bust Medicaid Amendment failed when his veto was ruled unlawful by the Speaker.[33]


When in the Virginia house of delegates he caused controversy when he said he “did not know how on earth you could validly get a conviction of a husband-wife rape, when they’re living together, sleeping in the same bed, she’s in a nightie, and so forth, there’s no injury, there’s no separation or anything."[34]


  1. ^ a b c "Dick Black's Bio". Dick Black Web Site. Retrieved Jan 9, 2015. 
  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. ^ "UNITED STATES v. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION". June 23, 2003. Retrieved January 8, 2015. 
  6. ^ Loudoun County Public Library "Public Internet Workstations Guidelines For Use", retrieved January 8, 2015 
  7. ^ Scarborough, Rowan (November 9, 1996). "Sex `Inevitable' in GI Training Camps: Female Recruits, Male Instructors Seen as Explosive Mix". The Washington Times (Washington, DC). Retrieved 10 January 2015 – via HighBeam Research. (subscription required (help)). 
  8. ^ Peter Pae; David Nakamura (January 8, 1998). "Library Board Member Has Designs on Delegate's Seat". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  9. ^ Helderman, Rosalind S. (October 9, 2010). "Former Loudoun delegate confirms run for state Senate". Washington Post. Retrieved July 29, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b c David Sherfinski (August 9, 2011). "Black moves residence in bid to return to Richmond". Washington Times. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Virginia Legislative Bill Tracking - HB2570 - 2001 General Assembly Session". Retrieved January 10, 2015. 
  12. ^ a b "Abortion waiting time advances in Virginia". Washington Times. February 1, 2001. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Virginia Legislative Bill Tracking - HB2782 - 2001 General Assembly Session". Retrieved January 10, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Emergency Contraception in Virginia". NARAL. Retrieved 2015-01-22. 
  15. ^ "Conservatives to target relaxed mortgage rules". Washington Times. July 30, 2003. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Gay-Themed High School Play Sparks Va. Protests". Washington Post. February 9, 2005. Retrieved January 20, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Gay issues top debate in Va.". Gay & Lesbian Times. January 8, 2004. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  18. ^ "VA District 01 - Special R Convention". Our Campaigns. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  19. ^ "VA State Senate 13 - R Primary". Our Campaigns. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  20. ^ "VA State Senate 13". Our Campaigns. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Social issues likely to take back seat in". northernvatimes.com. January 2014. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  22. ^ Carey, Julie (January 8, 2014). "Loudoun Co. Official Enters Race for Wolf's Seat". NBC Washington. Retrieved January 15, 2014. 
  23. ^ 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. 
  24. ^ a b c "رئاســة الجمهوريــة العربيــة السوريــة". Presidency of the Syrian Arab Republic - Timeline Photos. May 26, 2014. Retrieved June 7, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Bashar al-Assad posts a letter of support from a Virginia state senator". The Washington Post. May 27, 2014. Retrieved May 28, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Assad-loving Va. pol defends views". Politico. May 29, 2014. Retrieved May 29, 2014. 
  27. ^ "Officials react to Va. state senator's letter to Syrian president". WUSA9. May 28, 2014. Retrieved May 29, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Schapiro: For Dick Black, issues are black or white". Richmond Times-Dispatch. May 29, 2014. Retrieved June 4, 2014. 
  29. ^ "Outspoken Virginia state senator travels to Syria in support of Assad". The Washington Post. April 27, 2016. Retrieved May 1, 2016. 
  30. ^ "Grassroots Activism Scores Win on Medicaid Expansion". 
  31. ^ a b "After hours of strife, lawmakers pass budget without Medicaid expansion". 
  32. ^ a b "Now…about that so-called "clean" budget". 
  33. ^ "Virginia lawmakers finalize budget, averting a shutdown as GOP thwarts McAuliffe veto". 
  34. ^ Lachman, Samantha. "GOP Congressional Candidate Dick Black Doesn’t Have A Problem With Spousal Rape". Huffington Post. Not sure. Retrieved June 25, 2016. 

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