Richard L. Saslaw

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Richard L. Saslaw
Richard L. Saslaw 2010.jpg
Saslaw in 2010
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
In office
January 14, 1976 – January 9, 1980
Preceded by James R. Tate
Succeeded by James H. Dillard II
Personal details
Born Richard Lawrence Saslaw
( 1940 -02-05) February 5, 1940 (age 78)
Washington, D.C.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Eleanor
Children Jennifer
Residence Fairfax County, Virginia
Alma mater University of Maryland
Occupation Service station operator
Committees Commerce and Labor (chair); Courts of Justice; Education and Health; Finance; Rules
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1958–60

Richard Lawrence "Dick" Saslaw (born February 5, 1940) is an American politician. A Democrat, he served in the Virginia House of Delegates 1976–80, after which he was elected to the Senate of Virginia. He currently represents the 35th district, made up of parts of Fairfax County and the city of Alexandria and all of the city of Falls Church.[1]

Saslaw has been the Democratic leader of the Senate since 1996, serving as Majority Leader 2008–2012, 2014 – June 12, 2014, and Minority Leader 1998–2008, 2012–2014.[1] He ran for Congress in Virginia's 8th congressional district in 1984. He was defeated by then-Congressman Stanford Parris.

Personal life[edit]

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.[1][2]

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.[2] and her law degree from Stanford Law School. They live in Springfield, Virginia.

Minority leader[edit]

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.

Political positions[edit]

Gun control[edit]

  • 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.” [3]

Election history[edit]

Year Subject Party Votes  % Opponent Party Votes  % Opponent Party Votes  %
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


  1. ^ a b c Senate of Virginia bio
  2. ^ a b "Meet Senator Saslaw". Saslaw!. Archived from the original on May 19, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-27. 
  3. ^ National Rifle Association, February 15, 2011

External links[edit]