|Minority Leader of the Virginia Senate|
|Assumed office |
June 12, 2014
|Preceded by||Tommy Norment|
|Member of the Virginia Senate|
from the 35th district
|Assumed office |
January 9, 1980
|Preceded by||Omer L. Hirst|
|Member of the Virginia House of Delegates|
from the 19th district
January 14, 1976 – January 9, 1980
|Preceded by||James Tate|
|Succeeded by||Jim Dillard|
Richard Lawrence Saslaw
February 5, 1940
Washington, D.C., U.S.
|Education||University of Maryland, College Park (BA)|
|Branch/service||United States Army|
|Years of service||1958–1960|
Richard Lawrence Saslaw (born February 5, 1940) is an American politician. A Democrat, he served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1976–80, then was elected to the Senate of Virginia. He currently represents[update] the 35th district, made up of the city of Falls Church and portions of Fairfax County and the city of Alexandria.
Saslaw has been the leader of the Virginia Senate Democrats since 1998, serving as Majority Leader from 2008–2012, 2014 – June 12, 2014, and Minority Leader 1998–2008, 2012–2014. He ran for Congress in Virginia's 8th congressional district in 1984. He was defeated by then-Congressman Stanford Parris.
Saslaw was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in the suburbs. He served in the United States Army (1958–60), before receiving a B.S. degree in economics from the University of Maryland. After that, he went into the gasoline service station business.
Saslaw and his wife Eleanor, a retired guidance director and member of the Virginia State Board of Education, settled in northern Virginia in 1968. Their daughter, Jennifer, received her undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia. and her law degree from Stanford Law School. They live in Springfield, Virginia.
In the 2007 Virginia legislative elections, Democrats gained a majority by picking up four seats in the Virginia State Senate. Senator Saslaw was named Majority Leader when the Democrats assumed control of the chamber in 2008.
He also serves as chair of the Senate's Labor and Commerce Committee.
Education has been one of his priorities. In 2006, the Association of School Boards named him Virginia Legislator of the Year.
Saslaw has been described as a reliable ally of Dominion Energy, Virginia's largest electrical utility which is also notable for its influence on Virginia politics. In 2018, the Associated Press reported that Dominion had been Saslaw's largest source of campaign funds, contributing approximately $350,000 over a 15-year period. Saslaw helped push Dominion-backed legislation that would allow the firm to charge customers rates that regulators considered to be excessive. When Virginia Democratic Party criticized a Republican state senator for being too cozy with Dominion Energy, Dominion sent an email to Saslaw to complain. Saslaw responded by apologizing to Dominion and criticized his own party for failing to do its "homework" on "how generous Dominion has been to me" and the party.
Medicaid Expansion in Virginia
Senator Saslaw is credited with saving the Democratic push for Medicaid expansion in Virginia by thwarting an attempted procedural move by Republican Senator Tommy Norment to kill the bill in committee. Norment attempted to have the bill to expand Medicaid in Virginia killed in committee a second time, which would make the bill ineligible for presentation to the full senate. Saslaw caught the move and thwarted it, thus allowing the bill to proceed and eventually become law in Virginia in 2018. Medicaid expansion brought health insurance coverage to over 400,000 Virginians.
Gun Violence Prevention
In February 2011, Saslaw was one of eight senators on the Senate Courts of Justice Committee who "passed by indefinitely" House Bill 1573, defeating the bill by an 8 to 4 margin. The bill, also known as Castle Doctrine, would have allowed "a lawful occupant use of physical force, including deadly force, against an intruder in his dwelling who has committed an overt act against him, without civil liability." Senator Saslaw is rated F by the NRA and has been a strong supporter of stricter gun regulations. In the 2019 legislative session, he proposed legislation to raise the age for which a person is allowed to buy a gun in Virginia from 18 to 21, and he proposed a ban on so called "bump stocks." Republicans did not allow either of those bills to pass out of committee.  In 2019, Senator Saslaw was endorsed for re-election by the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.
Senator Saslaw supports women's reproductive freedom and has voted against every Republican attempt to limit access to safe and legal abortions in Virginia. He has been endorsed by NARAL Virginia and by Planned Parenthood of the Greater Metropolitan Washington Area.
|8th Congressional District of Virginia|
|1984||Richard L. Saslaw||Democratic||97,250||43.3||Stanford Parris||Republican||125,015||55.7|
|35th Virginia Senate District|
|1999||Richard L. Saslaw||Democratic||19,257||57.6||Robert H. Neitz||Republican||13,554||40.5|
|2003||Richard L. Saslaw||Democratic||17,735||82.48||Charles W. Levy||Independent||3,537||16.45|
|2007||Richard L. Saslaw||Democratic||16,856||77.94||Mario T. Palmiotto||Independent Green||4,532||20.95|
|2011||Richard L. Saslaw||Democratic||15,905||61.7||Robert C. Sarvis||Republican||9,272||35.9|
|2015||Richard L. Saslaw||Democratic||18,754||74.4||Terrence W. Modglin||Independent Green||6,055||24.0|
- Senate of Virginia bio
- "Meet Senator Saslaw". Saslaw!. Archived from the original on May 19, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
- Suderman, Alan (2018-01-29). "Facing new scrutiny, powerful utility turns to old friends". AP NEWS. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
- Marans, Daniel (2018-02-12). "What A Battle Over Virginia's Most Powerful Monopoly Can Teach Democrats Everywhere". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
- Angela Woolsey. The ins and outs of Virginia’s new Medicaid expansion. Fairfax County Times, 15 Jun 2018
- National Rifle Association, February 15, 2011
- Dave Ress. Virginia gun control bills die again in committees. The Virginian-Pilot, 18 Jan 2019
- Saslaw's Voting Records on Issues at votesmart.org
- Dick Saslaw's Ratings and Endorsements at votesmart.org
- Constituent/campaign website
- Senate of Virginia profile
- Past member search for Richard Saslaw, from the Virginia House of Delegates
- Richmond Sunlight website
- Virginia Public Access Project
- Profile at Project Vote Smart
|Senate of Virginia|
| Minority Leader of the Virginia Senate