Mary Sue Terry
|Mary Sue Terry|
|38th Attorney General of Virginia|
January 11, 1986 – January 28, 1993
|Preceded by||William Broaddus|
|Succeeded by||Stephen Rosenthal|
|Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 10th district
January 12, 1983 – January 11, 1986
|Succeeded by||Roscoe Reynolds|
|Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 12th district
January 13, 1982 – January 12, 1983
|Preceded by||Joseph Crouch|
|Succeeded by||James Dobyns|
|Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 13th district
January 11, 1978 – January 13, 1982
|Preceded by||Garry DeBruhl|
September 28, 1947 |
Martinsville, Virginia, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of Richmond
University of Virginia
She was graduated from Hardin-Reynolds Memorial School in Critz, Virginia in 1965. She earned a BA in political science from the University of Richmond's Westhampton College in 1969, master's in government (1970) and law (1973) degrees from the University of Virginia and its law school.
Terry was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates (1978–1986) and assistant Commonwealth's Attorney in Patrick County, Virginia 1973–1977. She successfully argued eight cases before the Supreme Court of the United States. She successfully negotiated a nationwide recall of 13,000 defective Ford ambulances and led a successful investigation and prosecution of individuals and corporations associated with Lyndon LaRouche. From 1990 to 1991 Terry was president of the National Association of Attorneys General and in 1992 she received the Wyman Award, which is the association’s highest honor. The Commonwealth of Virginia's courts did not allow prisoners to bring new exculpatory evidence more than three weeks after sentencing. Attorney General Terry once said that "Evidence of innocence is irrelevant."
She was elected attorney general in 1985 and reelected in 1989, becoming the first woman elected to statewide office in Virginia, the second woman to serve as attorney general of any U.S. state, and the first non-federal elected official in Virginia to garner more than one million votes in a single election. In 1989, she considered running for governor, but deferred to her fellow Democrat, then-Lieutenant Governor of Virginia L. Douglas Wilder, who became the first elected African-American Governor of any U.S. state. When she ran in 1993, then-Lieutenant Governor Don Beyer deferred to her. Beyer, a Democrat, would go on to run for governor in 1997, losing to the Republican candidate, then-Attorney General James S. Gilmore III.
Candidate for governor
She was Attorney General of Virginia from 1986 until 1993, when she resigned to run for Governor of Virginia against Republican George Allen. Allen won the November 1993 election despite Terry's early and significant lead. Her unpopular gun-control stance alienated her rural base voters. Her campaign was "lacklustre", and the religious right was a factor even though Michael Farris lost his bid to be Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. Her opponents also pointed out that she was unmarried, and perhaps less empathetic on family issues.
Life after candidacy
Following her defeat, Terry was a visiting professor at the University of Richmond’s Jepson School of Leadership Studies. She served on the Board of Trustees at the University of Richmond from 1983 to 1991.
In 2007, Terry was consulting for Microsoft and nearby Ferrum College while living on her family farm in Patrick County, Virginia. Since 1978, she has been a partner in Terry & Rogers, and a partner in the B.H. Cooper Farm, Inc., both in Stuart.
In 2008, with Susan Platt and others, she formed "The Farm Team", a PAC to "help Democratic women seek elected office." (Leslie Byrne is a Northern Virginia chairman.) In the last quarter of 2008 they raised $6696 and contributed $4000, including $1000 to Sharon Bulova's 2009 election campaign for Chairman of the Board of Supervisors in Fairfax County, Virginia. They solicited donations through the ActBlue web site in 2009. Miss Terry was featured speaker at a breakfast fundraiser planned in Richmond 7 February 2009, in connection with Jefferson-Jackson Day. That event was connected to a reception at the Governor's mansion, later canceled because Virginia law prohibits political fundraising by state officials while the Virginia General Assembly is in session. Democratic party officials argued the event did not violate that ban, because money had been collected before the session.
Awards and memberships
- Service to Youth award, Virginia YMCA, 1981,
- Distinguished Alumna award University of Richmond, 1984
- Patrick County-Stuart Chamber of Commerce (charter president and president, 1974–76)
- West Piedmont Planning District Crime Commission (1974–77)
- Ferrum College (President's board of advisors, 1978–83)
- West Piedmont Health Planning Council (1975–77)
- American Bar Association
- Virginia State Bar
- Virginia Trial Lawyers Association
- Omicron Delta Kappa (1980)
- University of Richmond (board of trustees)
- Patrick Henry Mental Health Center (board of directors, 1975–77)
- Virginia YMCA (board of directors)
- First National Bank of Stuart (board of directors, chairman)
- Library of Virginia, Virginia Women in History (2009)
- "Mary Sue Terry." Marquis Who's Who TM. Marquis Who's Who, 2008. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2008. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/BioRC Fee. Retrieved 15 December 2008. Document Number: K2013007444.
- Baker, Donald P. (1993-10-17). "From Early Years, Powerful Lessons; Personal Experience Fostered Terry's Hard-Driving Image" (fee). Washington Post (ProQuest National Newspapers Premier database). p. A01. 7219521172195211. Retrieved 2008-03-19.
- THIBODEAU, DENICE (2008-02-21). "Former AG reflects on leadership". Danville Register & Bee (Danville, Virginia). Retrieved 2008-03-20.
- Glod, Maria; Kumar, Anita (7 December 2011). "Haynesworth is exonerated". Washington Post. Retrieved 2011-12-07.
Historically, prisoners were barred from introducing new evidence more than three weeks after sentencing, and in the 1990s, then-Attorney General Mary Sue Terry (D) famously said, “Evidence of innocence is irrelevant.” But when DNA testing resulted in hundreds of exonerations nationwide, it prompted Virginia lawmakers to open the door for courts to reconsider guilt based first on genetic evidence and later on other evidence, such as recanted testimony, fingerprints or ballistics.
- "Top Vote Getters In VA". Virginia State Board of Elections. Retrieved 2008-03-20.
Mary Sue Terry - D - 1989 - Attorney General - Yes - 1,096,095
- Barrett, Laurence I.; Gavin Scott (April 17, 1989). "Battling An Old Bugaboo". Time magazine. Retrieved 2008-12-15.
This year Wilder again headed off opposition for the nomination from Attorney General Mary Sue Terry, 41. Like any other Virginia Democrat, she would need very strong black support to win in the fall. Wilder denies that he threatened to play the racial card. Instead, he stressed that a contest with Terry would have been divisive. "Mary Sue is an attractive, bright candidate with a brilliant future," says Wilder. Translation: Terry can wait until 1993 for the governorship. She is doing just that.
- Kaplan, Dave (1993-09-25). "Divine intervention?". Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report (EBSCO Host) 51 (38): 2580. ISSN 0010-5910. Retrieved 2008-12-15.
- "Divine intervention?". The Economist (EBSCO Host) 329 (7836): 20–25. 1993-11-06. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2008-12-15.
- Clift, Eleanor (October 25, 1993). "Not The Year Of The Women - Governors: In New Jersey And Virginia, Two Female Candidates Fumble Away Big Leads". Newsweek. Retrieved 2008-12-15.
As a campaigner, Terry's biggest liability is not her lack of a family but her lack of warmth. "For a woman, warmth is necessary to bridge that chasm of trust that you have to cross," says New York Rep. Susan Molinari. "Otherwise voters wonder why in the world would a woman want...to be in this dirty game." In contrast, Terry's opponent, Allen, has come from 29 points behind largely on his carefully packaged looks and personality. A television ad shows him with his young son, mistily promising that, if elected, he will ask himself only one question: what will be good for Virginia? Sugary spots like these prompt campaign consultant James Carville to quip, "It's not the negative ads, it's the positive ads you have to worry about."
- "Career in International Investment Dream Come True for Kenyan Native Timanto Marima, '99". @Jepson: An Electronic Newsletter for Alumni and Friends of the Jepson School of Leadership Studies. University of Richmond. June 2006. Archived from the original on September 4, 2006. Retrieved 2008-03-19.
...former Virginia attorney general Mary Sue Terry, then a visiting professor at Jepson.
- Stallsmith, Pamela. "Terry's Tranquillity".
- "The Team « The Farm Team". Retrieved 22 January 2009.
- Craig, Tim (22 January 2009). "Governor's Mansion Reception Canceled - Kaine Acts After Learning Event Was Advertised as Democratic Fundraiser". Washington Post. p. B4. Retrieved 22 January 2009.
We are a newly formed all-volunteer Democratic women's organization...(Susan Platt)
- "The Virginia Public Access Project - Farm Team". Virginia Public Access Project. Retrieved 22 January 2009.
- "JJ Women’s Caucus Breakfast « The Farm Team". FarmTeam.org. Retrieved 22 January 2009.
The Third Annual Women’s Caucus Breakfast, one of the events associated with the JJ Dinner, will be held on Saturday, February 7  at 8:15am. The featured speaker will be Farm Team Founder and former Attorney General Mary Sue Terry. Tickets start at $50 and may be purchased here. Full details are below the fold.
- "Virginia Women in History: Mary Sue Terry (1947- )". Library of Virginia. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
- Historical Bio for Mary Sue Terry (Virginia House of Delegates) Session 1985
- Historical Bio for Mary Sue Terry (Virginia House of Delegates) Session 1980
- Terry's profile at the Library of Virginia
|Attorney General of Virginia
|Party political offices|
|Democratic nominee for Governor of Virginia