Government/Politics: L. LOUISE LUCAS
PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE, SENATE OF VIRGINIA, PORTSMOUTH
If you didn’t recognize Democratic Party stalwart Lucas for her bright wardrobe and the fact that she’s been in the Virginia State Senate for 30 years, you may recognize her as one of the biggest online critics of Gov. Glenn Youngkin and other Virginia Republicans.
The first woman and Black person to serve as the Senate’s president pro tempore, presiding over the body in the absence of the lieutenant governor, Lucas got her start in politics by winning a seat on the Portsmouth City Council in 1984. She was elected to the state Senate in 1991. In the early 1970s, she was the first female shipfitter at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard and later led the Southeastern Tidewater Opportunity Project and held administrative positions at Norfolk State and Old Dominion universities.
With the GOP having regained control of the House of Delegates and other statewide offices, Lucas has called herself a “brick wall” against anti-abortion measures supported by Republican lawmakers and Youngkin.
In 2020 and 2021, when Democrats held power in Richmond, Lucas supported marijuana legalization, gun control and making Election Day a state holiday, as well as other progressive legislation.