Scott Surovell

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Scott Surovell
Majority Leader of the Virginia Senate
Assuming office
January 10, 2024
SucceedingDick Saslaw
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from 's 36th district
Assumed office
January 13, 2016
Preceded byToddy Puller
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 44th district
In office
January 13, 2010 – January 13, 2016
Preceded byKristen J. Amundson
Succeeded byPaul Krizek
Personal details
Scott Anthony Surovell

(1971-08-21) August 21, 1971 (age 52)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseErinn Madden
EducationJames Madison University (BA)
University of Virginia (JD)

Scott Anthony Surovell (born August 21, 1971) is an American politician serving as a member of the Virginia Senate, representing the 36th district, which encompasses portions of Fairfax, Prince William and Stafford counties, roughly following U.S. Route 1. He previously represented the 44th district in the Virginia House of Delegates.[1]

Early life[edit]

Surovell grew up in the Tauxemont, Virginia area, and attended preschool, elementary school and intermediate school there. In 1989, he graduated from West Potomac High School, and went to college at James Madison University, where he was student body vice-president. He graduated in 1993, with a major in Political Science.

Professional career[edit]

In 1993, he served as a Governor's Fellow in the administration of Governor L. Douglas Wilder. Surovell worked for DMV Deputy Commissioner Bill Leighty, who later served as chief of staff under governors Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. He also interned in Washington, D.C., for Representative Jim Moran of Virginia and then-congressman Ron Wyden of Oregon.[2]

Surovell earned a J.D. degree from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1996, where he served as executive editor of the Virginia Journal of Environmental Law.[3]

Surovell is a trial lawyer specializing in criminal and traffic defense, domestic relations, personal injury, consumer class action and commercial litigation. In 2002, Surovell founded Surovell Markle Isaacs and Levy PLC, a firm which specialized in representing individuals and small businesses throughout Northern Virginia with four other attorneys. Former state delegate and now Senator Chap Petersen was a member of the firm from 2005 through 2017. The firm is now known as Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC.[4]

Surovell argued his first case before the Supreme Court of Virginia at age 28 involving a fraud claim involving the sale of a used car.[5] In 2007, Surovell successfully blocked an insurance company from paying a man convicted of killing his wife $300,000 of life insurance proceeds from his wife's policy.[6] The case ultimately resulted in modifications[7] to the Virginia Slayer Statute[8] in the 2008 General Assembly Session. In 2010, Surovell also won a $4.80-million jury verdict[9] in favor of a Vienna family who was permanently injured in a fireworks accident in the Town of Vienna.

Political career[edit]

In 2003, Surovell was elected Chairman of the Mount Vernon District Democratic Committee of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee. In 2008, he was elected Chairman of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee where he organized and led local grassroots campaign activities for the Obama-Biden, Warner, Moran, Connolly and Feder campaigns.

In 2009, Surovell resigned as Chairman of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee in order to run for the House of Delegates.

Surovell has served on the Counties, Cities and Towns Committee (2010-2015), the Science & Technology Committee (2010-2015), and the Militia, Police & Public Safety Committee (2012-2015). In 2014, the Speaker appointed Delegate Surovell to the Virginia Broadband Commission. In 2014, Surovell was elected Caucus Chairman by the Virginia House Democratic Caucus.[10]

For several years Surovell has written a blog, entitled The Dixie Pig, named after a now-defunct restaurant on U.S. Route 1 in his district that was his grandmother’s favorite.[11]

In January 2015 Surovell announced a run for the Virginia Senate, District 36, hoping to fill the seat of retiring Senator Toddy Puller.[12][11] He won election to the State Senate by a margin of 60.52% to 39.28%.

Surovell was appointed to the General Laws and Technology Committee, Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee and Local Government Committee. In 2016, Surovell was also appointed to the Virginia High Speed Rail Commission.[13] In 2018, Surovell was elected Senate Democratic Caucus Whip.[14] In 2019, Surovell was elected Vice Chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus.[15]

Surovell has been a leader in the Virginia General Assembly on government transparency, criminal justice reform, consumer protection and environmental protection. In 2016, Surovell passed legislation requiring government officials to redact public documents instead of withholding entire records[16] and passed similar legislation applying to homeowner, condo and cooperative associations the following year. He also passed legislation creating civil penalties for destroying public records to avoid Freedom of Information Act requests.[17]

Starting in 2016, Surovell has pushed and passed various legislative initiatives to clean up coal ash ponds in Virginia one of which is in Dumfries, Virginia.[18] In 2019, he was the Chief Sponsor of legislation that prohibited coal ash in the Chesapeake Bay watershed from being stored in existing partially-lined ponds, required at least 25% to be recycled into products, and the remainder stored in modern lined landfills in excess of Environmental Protection Agency minimum requirements. The ultimate cost will exceed $3.2 billion or approximately $1.5 billion more than Dominion Power's original proposal.[19]

In 2018, Surovell carried legislation that authorized $3.4 million of payments from the Commonwealth of Virginia to pay for the wrongful incarceration of The Norfolk Four if the monies were matched by the City of Norfolk. That same year he also carried legislation he had introduced nine times which raised Virginia's threshold between misdemeanors and felonies to $500.[20]

In 2020, Surovell carried legislation that allowed undocumented immigrants to obtain driving privileges making Virginia the 17th state to allow such privileges.[21] He also was Chief Sponsor of successful legislation to make Virginia the first Southern state to ban conversion therapy,[22] passed legislation banning driving with a handheld mobile phone,[23] and fracking for natural gas anywhere east of Interstate 95 in the Commonwealth of Virginia.[24] He also led efforts to reform Virginia's criminal justice system in the 2021 Special Session that led to the end of Virginia's 200 year-old jury sentencing law and passage of legislation attacking racial profiling, policing reforms, restoring sentencing alternatives for rehabilitation, and expanding Virginia's credits for early release from prison.

In the 2021 Session, Surovell was chief sponsor of legislation to repeal Virginia's death penalty after four centuries.[25] He also led the efforts to reform Virginia's restrictive law prohibiting expungement or sealing of misdemeanor and felony convictions,[26] and led the study and legislation that expanded the Court of Appeals of Virginia from 11 to 17 judges and provided of right of appeal in every civil and criminal case like every other state.[27]

In the 2022 Session, Surovell worked through divided government to pass legislation that allows for methane capture.[28]

On November 15, 2023, Surovell was elected Majority Leader of the Virginia Senate - beating out Hampton State Senator Mamie Locke.[29]

Electoral history[edit]

Surovell first ran for the Virginia House of Delegates during the 2009 elections to replace retiring Democratic incumbent Kristen J. Amundson. He defeated his Republican challenger 53% to 44%, and was sworn into office the following January in Richmond, Virginia.[30]

Election to the Virginia House of Delegates, 2009
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Scott Surovell 9,960 54.3
Republican Jay McConville 8,384 45.7
Election to the Virginia House of Delegates, 2011
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Scott Surovell 8,738 59.38
Republican John Barsa 5,742 39.02
Independent Joe Glean 223 1.52
Election to the Virginia House of Delegates, 2013
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Scott Surovell 13,177 71.66
Independent Joe Glean 5,210 28.34
Election to the Virginia State Senate, 2015
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Scott Surovell 18,320 60.52
Republican Gerard M. Foreman II 11,890 39.28
Election to the Virginia State Senate, 2019
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Scott Surovell 37,518 91.72
None Write-In 3,382 8.28
Election to the Virginia State Senate, 2023
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Scott Surovell 38,140 69.75
Republican Mark A. Springman 16,389 29.97


  1. ^ Virginia House of Delegates - Scott Surovell, retrieved February 25, 2010
  2. ^ Bio on official Campaign website Archived 2010-03-25 at the Wayback Machine, retrieved February 25, 2010
  3. ^ Bio on law firm website, retrieved December 20, 2010
  4. ^ "Fairfax Law Firm - Surovell, Isaacs & Levy, PLC - Fairfax County Lawyer". Surovell Isaacs & Levy, PLC. Retrieved May 31, 2020.
  5. ^ "HOLMES v. LG MARION CORPORATION". Findlaw. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  6. ^ Somashekhar, Sandhya (May 16, 2007). "Judge Rules Against the Killer and the Insurer". The Washington Post.
  7. ^ Somashekhar, Sandhya (January 20, 2008). "Fairfax Lawmaker Aims to Close Slayer Statute Loophole". The Washington Post.
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ Jackman, Tom (November 13, 2010). "Jury awards $4.75 million in Vienna fireworks accident". The Washington Post.
  10. ^ Vozella, Laura (September 24, 2014). "Surovell wins No. 2 Democratic Party post in Virginia House of Delegates". The Washington Post.
  11. ^ a b Barton, M.A. Scott Surovell Running for Virginia Senate Seat. Mount Vernon Patch, January 26, 2015.
  12. ^ Peterson, T. Scott Surovell (D-44) Announces Bid for State Senate. Connection Newspapers, Tuesday, January 20, 2015.
  13. ^ Barton, M.A. Scott Surovell Appointed to High Speed Rail Commission. Mount Vernon Patch, April 21, 2016.
  14. ^ "State Sen. Scott Surovell named caucus whip". Prince William Times. Retrieved May 31, 2020.
  15. ^ LEONOR, MEL. "Senate Democrats pick Saslaw to be majority leader for 2020 session". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved May 31, 2020.
  16. ^ Nirappil, Fenit (Mar 8, 2016). "McAuliffe will sign public-records law but may still seek changes". Retrieved May 31, 2020 – via
  17. ^ Pope, Michael (20 February 2019). "Legislation That Establishes FOIA Penalties Continues to Move Through the Capitol". Retrieved May 31, 2020.
  18. ^ Koma, Alex. "Coal Ash Ponds: Power companies to face new barrier in closing Virginia sites". Inside Nova.
  19. ^ Palermo, Jill. "After 4-year fight over coal ash, governor signs new bill into law at Possum Point". Prince William Times. Retrieved May 31, 2020.
  20. ^ Matray, Margaret. "Bill to raise felony theft threshold advances in state Senate committee". Retrieved May 31, 2020.
  21. ^ Mercury, Ned Oliver Virginia. "Virginia lawmakers vote to grant driver privilege cards to undocumented immigrants". Prince William Times. Retrieved May 31, 2020.
  22. ^ Garcia, Sandra E. (Mar 3, 2020). "Virginia Is First Southern State to Ban Conversion Therapy for Minors". The New York Times. Retrieved May 31, 2020.
  23. ^ "Virginia General Assembly approves higher gas tax, speed cameras and cellphone ban". Washington Post. Retrieved May 31, 2020.
  24. ^ Oliver, Ned. "Virginia lawmakers vote to grant driver privilege cards to undocumented immigrants". Retrieved May 31, 2020.
  25. ^ "'It is the moral thing to do': Virginia's death penalty abolished in historic signing".
  26. ^ "Virginia Lawmakers Pass Bill to Seal Some Criminal Records".
  27. ^ "Virginia Court of Appeals set to get 6 new judges after lawmakers agree to expansion".
  28. ^ McGowan, Elizabeth (December 21, 2022). "Virginia wastewater project would be first to serve customers local biogas". Energy News Network. Retrieved August 4, 2023.
  29. ^,slim%2C%2021%2D19%20majority.
  30. ^ "2009 Virginia Election Results: House of Delegates - 44th District". Hampton Roads. Retrieved March 5, 2010.

External links[edit]