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Meet Louise Lucas

Published Sept. 14, 2023

The Petersburg Democratic Committee, is excitedly pleased to announce the keynote speaker for its 27th Annual Banquet, The Honorable State Senator L. Louise Lucas. representing the 18th District in the southeast of the state since 1992. When the Democrats won a majority of seats in the 2019 Virginia Senate election, Senator Lucas succeeded as the Virginia Senate's President pro tempore. She is the first woman and first African American to hold that office. President Pro-Tempore: Senate must choose a president pro tempore to preside over the Senate in the absence of the Lieutenant Governor.

Senator Lucas was born in Portsmouth, Virginia. She attended Portsmouth public schools including during their shutdown during Massive Resistance. She attended Norfolk State University, graduating cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Vocational-Industrial Education in 1976. She earned a Master of Arts, graduating magna cum laude, in Urban Affairs with a concentration in Human Resources Planning and Administration in 1982.

Senator Lucas was first elected to the Virginia General Assembly in November 1991. As a state senator she has a seat on the following Virginia Senate Committees: Education & Health, Courts of Justice, Finance, Local Government and Rules. She is member of the Finance Sub-committee on Claims, Finance Sub- committee on Economic Development/Natural Resources, Finance Sub-Committee on Public Safety, and Education Sub-committee on Health Licensing. Senator Lucas was Chairwoman of the Senate Local Government Committee and a former member of Committees on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources; Rehabilitation and Social Services; Transportation; former Chairwoman, Education and Health Special Sub-committee on Public Smoking Legislation; Sub-committee on Mental Health Legislation; Special Sub-committee on Immigration.`

Senator Lucas serves on the Governor's Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring, Governor's Commission on State Funding for Public School Construction and the Governor's Commission on Information Technology. In 2010 she was appointed to the Commission on Electric Utility Regulation; in 2012 she was appointed to the Federal Action Contingency Trust Fund committee and in 2013 was appointed to the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission. She is also an active member of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus and elected Vice-Chair of Outreach by the Democratic Party of Virginia.

Lucas has served on various community boards, commissions, civic and service organizations such as: Past President NAACP (also Golden Heritage Member); Martin Luther King Leadership Steering Committee (also Charter Member) and the Norfolk State University Alumni Association. Lucas is also a member of the following organizations: Delta Sigma Theta sorority (Golden Life status); The Links, Incorporated (Portsmouth Chapter); Order of Eastern Star (Brighton Light Chapter 118), Prince Hall Freemasonry of Virginia, National Women's Political Caucus, National Council of Christians and Jews.

2023 Key legislation:
- SB 1448: There are 29 states that do not have an HBCU and many students from those states who would like to attend an HBCU, but the cost of out-of-state tuition is out of reach. Senator Louise Lucas passed a bill to allow a reduced rate in tuition to any non-Virginia student with 30 or more credits who are enrolled in a program at Virginia State University or Norfolk State University that leads to employment in a high- demand field, as determined by the Board of Visitors of the relevant institution.
- SB 1479: Carried legislation to reduce from 12 to six the number of months for the required break in service for a teacher, bus driver, school administrator, or school security officer to return to work full time and continue to receive his pension under the Virginia Retirement System (VRS)
- SB 1215: Requiring the Department of Education to convene a stakeholder work group no later than August 15, 2023, to consider and make recommendations no later than November 1, 2023 address teacher pay.