John Watkins (Virginia politician)

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John C. Watkins
Member of the Virginia Senate
from the 10th district
In office
January 16, 1998 – January 13, 2016
Preceded by Joseph B. Benedetti
Succeeded by Glen Sturtevant
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 65th district
In office
January 12, 1983 – January 13, 1998
Preceded by None (district created)
Succeeded by Lee Ware
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 34th district
In office
January 13, 1982 – January 12, 1983
Preceded by Ralph L. Axselle, Jr.
Succeeded by Vince Callahan
Personal details
Born John Chewning Watkins
( 1947 -03-01) March 1, 1947 (age 70)
Petersburg, Virginia, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Kathy
Children 3 sons
Residence Midlothian, Virginia
Alma mater Virginia Tech
Occupation Nursery owner
Religion Lutheran
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1970–1971

John Chewning Watkins (born March 1, 1947) is an Virginia businessman and politician, who served in the Virginia General Assembly for 34 years. A Republican, Watkins served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1982 to 1998, when he was elected to the Senate of Virginia. He represented the 10th district, situated in part of the city of Richmond and its westerly suburbs, including all of Amelia and Powhatan counties and parts of four others.[1]

Early and family life[edit]

Born in Petersburg, Virginia, Watkins graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in horticulture. He served in the U.S. Army 1970-1971. He is President of Watkins Nurseries Inc.[2]

Political career[edit]

Watkins was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1982 and re-elected twice. He was then elected to the Virginia Senate.

Although he faced no opponent in 2007, and easily defeated Democrat David Meade Bernard in 2011, in November 2014, Watkins announced that he would not run for re-election in 2016. He cited wanting to spend more time with his grandchildren and new ethics laws following the conviction of former Governor Bob McDonnell. As legislators work part-time, many have full-time jobs–Watkins owns a nursery and is Chairman of the Board of Essex Bank–and because of the "intense scrutiny", he felt that he "would always be called into question".[3] The Richmond Times-Dispatch noted that Watkins was also considered a maverick, more liberal than many in his party.[4] In a hotly contested race to succeed him in the 10th District, Republican Glen Sturtevant defeated Democrat Daniel Gecker.[5]

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