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Dick Black
Member of the Virginia Senate
from the 13th district
Assumed office
January 11, 2012
Preceded by Fred Quayle
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
In office
February 5, 1998 – January 3, 2006
Preceded by Bill Mims
Succeeded by David Poisson
Personal details
Born Richard Hayden Black
May 15, 1944(1944-05-15) (age 77)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Barbara Jean Hale
Residence Ashburn, Virginia
Alma mater University of Florida (B.S., J.D.)
U.S. Army War College
Committees Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources, General Laws and Technology, Education and Health, Rehabilitation and Social Services
Military service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
United States Army
Years of service 1963–1970 (USMC)
1976–1994 (USA)
Rank Colonel
Unit J.A.G. Corps
Battles/wars Vietnam War

Richard Hayden "Dick" Black (born May 15, 1944) is a Republican member of the Virginia State Senate. Black represents the 13th District encompassing parts of both Loudoun and Prince Williams Counties.[1] Black was previously a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1998 to 2006.

Military career[]

Black was a career military officer. He served in both the U.S. Marines and in the U.S. Army JAG Corps. He served a total of 31 years active and reserve, rising from the rank of private to full colonel.[2] He is a graduate of the U.S. Army War College, Command and General Staff College, and Naval Aviator’s Flight School.[3]

Black enlisted in the Marines in 1963 at the age of 19.[2] He graduated from Paris Island as a PFC and entered the Marine Aviation Cadet Program at Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida. He was commissioned a 2nd Lt. in 1965.[2]


Black served as a pilot in the US Marines during the Vietnam War, earning the Purple Heart medal.[1] He flew 269 combat helicopter missions with HMM-362’s “Ugly Angels” squadron, which operated out of Ky Ha, Vietnam.[2]

From 11 February to 17 June 1967, he served as Forward Air Controller for the 1st Marine Regiment. He made 70 combat patrols in the jungle, with the 1st Marine Regiment. He engaged in intense combat around Nui Loc Son in April 1967.[4] He received the Navy Commendation Medal with “V” for valor, while serving as Forward Air Controller for 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. Lt. Black volunteered to join Fox Company, 1st Marines, which held the ridgeline at Nui Loc Son—an extremely dangerous and remote outpost in the Que Son Valley. There, he participated in the bloodiest campaign of the entire Vietnam War.[4]

Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corp[]

After the war, he left the service and earned a law degree, returning to military service as a prosecutor with the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps.[1] Black later headed the Army's Criminal Law Division at the Pentagon, before retiring from the military in 1994.

Political career[]

Black first held elective office on the Loudoun County Library Board, where in 1997 he authored a policy that blocked pornography on library computers.[5] To explain why the policy was necessary, he invited a reporter to film him watching rape pornography on a library computer, to show how nearby library users could also see the pornography.[6] Librarians only received one complaint about their computers being used to view pornography - when Black did so.[6] The policy drew national attention and first amendment litigation struck down the policy, costing the Board $100,000.[7][8]

The United States Supreme Court ruled in 2003 in US v American Library Association that public libraries' use of Internet filtering software does not violate their patrons' First Amendment rights.[9] Today Loudoun County Public libraries do contain internet filters, but allow adult patrons to turn them off provided they read and sign the LCPL Adult Internet Use Agreement to register to use the Internet, and by doing so agree to comply with library policies and guidelines which prohibit the viewing of pornographic materials.[10]

In 1996, Dick Black was practicing military law in Northern Virginia. In an interview with The Washington Times, Black said despite evidence that mixed gender training leads to sexual misconduct the Pentagon will not revert to same-sex assignments between instructors and recruits. Black said doing so "would be inconsistent with this tremendous drive to feminize the military today, to pretend there is no difference between the sexes."[11]

Political career[]

Virginia House of Delegates[]

Black was first elected to the Virginia House in a special election in 1998 to succeed Republican Delegate Bill Mims, who had been elected to the Virginia Senate.[12] During his election campaign, he said that rape in the military was "as predictable as human nature" and asked a reporter: "Think of yourself at 25. Wouldn't you love to have a group of 19-year-old girls under your control, day in, day out?"[6] Black resigned from the Library Board a few months after being sworn-in.[13] A "deeply conservative" delegate,[14] Black became well known for making inflammatory and controversial statements.[15]

In 1998, he tried to pass a law to require doctors give anaesthetic to foetuses before late-term abortions and another that "tried to effectively ban gay people from adopting children in Virginia".[16] In late 2000, in the wake of the Columbine High School massacre, Black proposed legislation that would require students to address their teachers as "Ma'am", "Sir", "Mr.", "Miss" or "Mrs.", saying that "The counterculture revolution of the '70s took the war into the classroom. Before that time, public schools were a model of decorum, and then we began this thing we've seen play out at Columbine."[17]

During the 2001 Legislative session, Black dealt with a number of abortion related bills. In February 2001, he co-sponsored a bill to establish a 24-hour "informed consent" waiting period for women seeking an abortion. The bill required a clinic or hospital to tell a woman seeking an abortion the approximate age of the fetus, details of the abortion procedure and other options available to her. The bill eventually passed and was signed into law.[18][19]

Also during the 2001 session, Black opposed a bill that would allow the "morning-after pill" to be dispensed at pharmacies. Opponents of the bill said that, unlike normal contraceptives that prevent the fertilization of an egg, these types of emergency contraceptives can act as an abortifacient, preventing a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall. "This is a baby pesticide we're looking at. It's a toxic method of eliminating a child," said Black.[19] Although the bill failed to become law,[20] the morning-after pill can be purchased in Virginia from pharmacies with no need for a prescription by people ages 17 or older and with a prescription for those 16 and younger, and one brand is available over-the-counter for people of all ages without ID.[21]

In February 2002, Black opposed making marital rape a crime, saying that it was impossible to convict a man "when they're living together, sleeping in the same bed, she's in a nightie, and so forth."[6] In late 2002 and early 2003, Black opposed erecting a statue of Abraham Lincoln and his son Thomas at the Tredegar Iron Works to commemorate Lincoln's visit to Richmond on April 4, 1865, 10 days before his assassination. Black said, "Putting a statue to [Lincoln] there is sort of like putting the Confederate flag at the Lincoln Memorial."[22]

In July 2003, Black proposed legislation that would prevent unmarried and gay couples from applying for low-interest home mortgages, saying that the state was "spending $90 million to subsidize sodomy and adultery. I just don’t understand why we are taking money away [from worthwhile programs] and supporting a radical homosexual agenda."[23] Also in 2003, he handed out plastic foetuses to fellow delegates before votes on abortion issues.[16] He also once remarked that abortion was "a greater evil than segregation or slavery" and in 2005 he authored a bill that would require abortion providers to wrongly tell women that foetuses being aborted after 20 weeks could feel pain.[6] Also in 2005, he resurrected his legislation that would ban gay people from adopting children, claiming that gay people were more prone to violence, alcoholism, and suicide.[6] He then amended the bill to require that adoption agencies investigate whether people looking to adopt children were "known to engage in current voluntary homosexual activity".[6] In February of that year, he urged his constituents to picket Stone Bridge High School for putting on a play about a gay football player, claiming that the school was "being used to promote a homosexual lifestyle." He further claimed that attempts to "encourage homosexual activity, to portray it in a cute or favorable light" could lead to children contracting HIV.[24] In 2004, he said with regard to Virginia's sodomy law: "If I'm the last person on the face of this Earth to vote against legalizing sodomy, I'll do it."[25]

Defeat and 2007 Congressional election[]

Black was defeated in his quest for a fifth term by Democrat David Poisson in 2005. Poisson defeated him 53%–47%. Black ran for the Republican nomination in the special election for Virginia's 1st congressional district in October 2007. A convention was held to determine the nominee and Black came fifth eliminated in the fourth ballot. State Delegate Rob Wittman was picked and went on to win the election.[26]

Virginia Senate[]

Black ran for the State Senate in 2011 in the newly created 13th district, which encompasses nearly half of Loudoun County and a portion of Prince William County. His former home had been in another portion of Loudoun County represented in the State Senate by Democrat Mark Herring.[16] Black won a hard fought three-way primary, taking 3,143 votes (38.83%) to John Stirrup's 3,029 votes (37.42%) and Robert S. Fitzsimmonds' 1,923 votes (23.76%).[27] In the general election, Black handily defeated Democrat Shawn Mitchell by 57% to 43%.[28]

In an interview in December 2013, Black compared same-sex marriage to polygamy and incest, saying that although he opposed polygamy, "at least it functions biologically", adding that it was "just more natural" than homosexuality.[29]

In 2014, Black briefly ran for Virginia's 10th congressional district in the 2014 elections to succeed retiring Republican incumbent Frank Wolf.[30] He withdrew on January 23, two days after declaring his candidacy, saying: "after meeting with Republican Caucus leaders in Richmond, it is imperative that I remain in the Senate where I am needed to maintain our 20/20 split."[31] Although the Virginia Senate was split 20/20, Democrats held the majority as Ralph Northam, the Democratic Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, cast tie-breaking votes.


In April 2014, Black sent an official letter to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad,[32] thanking "the Syrian Arab Army for its heroic rescue of Christians in the Qalamoun Mountain Range",[32] praising Assad for "treating with respect all Christians and the small community of Jews in Damascus," and stating it was obvious that the rebel side of the war was largely being fought by "vicious war criminals linked to Al Qaeda" [32][33] Democratic State Senator A. Donald McEachin called the letter "bizarre,"[34] while Republican State Senator Bill Stanley later joked "What's the matter, Dick? Was Kim Jong-un not returning your text messages?".[35]

In 2015 Islamic State included Black in a list of its enemies, calling him "The American Crusader." It quoted the following statement by Black: "One thing is clear, if Damascus falls, the dreaded black and white flag of ISIS will fly over Damascus. ... Within a period of months after the fall of Damascus, Jordan will fall and Lebanon will fall. ... I think you will automatically see a beginning of a historic push of Islam towards Europe and I think, ultimately, Europe will be conquered."[36]

On April 27, 2016, Black began a three-day trip to Syria in support of its government.[37] Explaining his trip in a series of Twitter exchanges with the Washington Post, Black wrote that the U.S. was "allied with two of the most vile nations on earth, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, which are intent on imposing a [Wahhabi] fundamentalist government on the Syrian people."[37]

Medicaid expansion[]

Black introduced a budget amendment to the General Assembly to prohibit Medicaid expansion without the legislature's approval. He led a conservative revolt against Medicaid expansion that inspired the Twitter hashtag #BlackorBust.[38][39] After a full day of heated back-door debates, Black prevailed and the Senate approved a budget without Medicaid expansion, which was Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe's signature issue.[39] McAuliffe vowed not to sign a budget without it.

On June 20, 2014, McAuliffe announced he would veto the Black or Bust amendment. But his attempted veto of the Black or Bust Medicaid Amendment failed when his veto was ruled unlawful by the Speaker.[40]

RT News endorsement[]

Black, appearing during an RT America news segment on November 14, 2017, called the network the only source Americans have for fair and accurate news coverage.

Black had been asked to comment on the news operation being required to register in the United States as foreign agents. RT has come under frequent fire for allegedly acting as a propaganda arm of the Kremlin, which provides the channel its funding, and for its perceived anti-American bias during newscasts. In its filing with the US Justice Department, RT America stated it wasn't sure how much of its budget came from the Russian government.

RT pays cable providers on many systems across the United States for carriage on their systems.

Black is a frequent guest on the channel, commenting on United States foreign affairs policy.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Dick Black's Bio". Dick Black Web Site. Archived from the original on 2015-01-09. Retrieved Jan 9, 2015. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Not so Black and White: The Dick Black You Might Not Know". The Loudoun Tribune. Retrieved March 3, 2017. 
  3. "Senate of Virginia - Bio". Senate of Virginia. Retrieved March 3, 2017. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Vietnam Veterans of 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines". Retrieved March 3, 2017. 
  5. "Internet Curbed in Loudoun; Library Board to Block Sexual Material". The Washington Post. October 22, 1997. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 Molly Redden (January 15, 2014). "GOP Congressional Candidate: Spousal Rape Shouldn't Be a Crime". Mother Jones. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  7. Dana Hedgpeth (April 22, 1999). "Libraries Abandon Court Fight; Board Won't Appeal Internet Policy Rulings". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  8. Dana Hedgpeth (April 25, 1999). "Black, Library Board Spar on Internet Issue". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  9. "United States v. American Library Association". June 23, 2003. Retrieved January 8, 2015. 
  10. "Loudoun County Public Library "Public Internet Workstations Guidelines For Use"". Retrieved January 8, 2015. 
  11. Scarborough, Rowan (November 9, 1996). "Sex `Inevitable' in GI Training Camps: Female Recruits, Male Instructors Seen as Explosive Mix". The Washington Times (Washington, DC). Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  12. "Library Board Member Has Designs on Delegate's Seat". The Washington Post. January 8, 1998. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  13. "Supporter of Internet Restrictions Resigns From Library Board". The Washington Post. April 16, 1998. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  14. Helderman, Rosalind S. (October 9, 2010). "Former Loudoun delegate confirms run for state Senate". Washington Post. Retrieved July 29, 2012. 
  15. Ben Pershing (January 6, 2014). "Race to succeed Frank Wolf in Congress could feature sharp Republican divide". Washington Post. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 David Sherfinski (August 9, 2011). "Black moves residence in bid to return to Richmond". Washington Times. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  17. "Cultural faceoff centers on schools". Washington Times. December 26, 2000. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  18. "Virginia Legislative Bill Tracking - HB2570 - 2001 General Assembly Session". Retrieved January 10, 2015. 
  19. 19.0 19.1 "Abortion waiting time advances in Virginia". Washington Times. February 1, 2001. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  20. "Virginia Legislative Bill Tracking - HB2782 - 2001 General Assembly Session". Retrieved January 10, 2015. 
  21. "Emergency Contraception in Virginia". NARAL. Retrieved 2015-01-22. 
  22. "Another Rebel Stand". Washington Post. January 9, 2003. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  23. "Conservatives to target relaxed mortgage rules". Washington Times. July 30, 2003. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  24. "Gay-Themed High School Play Sparks Va. Protests". Washington Post. February 9, 2005. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  25. "Gay issues top debate in Va.". Gay & Lesbian Times. January 8, 2004. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  26. "VA District 01 - Special R Convention". Our Campaigns. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  27. "VA State Senate 13 - R Primary". Our Campaigns. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  28. "VA State Senate 13". Our Campaigns. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  29. "Social issues likely to take back seat in". January 2014. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  30. Carey, Julie (January 8, 2014). "Loudoun Co. Official Enters Race for Wolf's Seat". NBC Washington. Retrieved January 15, 2014. 
  31. Ben Pershing (January 23, 2014). "Dick Black makes surprise decision to drop out of race to replace Frank Wolf in Congress". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 23, 2014. 
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 "رئاســة الجمهوريــة العربيــة السوريــة". Presidency of the Syrian Arab Republic - Timeline Photos. May 26, 2014. Retrieved June 7, 2014. 
  33. "Bashar al-Assad posts a letter of support from a Virginia state senator". The Washington Post. May 27, 2014. Retrieved May 28, 2014. 
  34. "Officials react to Va. state senator's letter to Syrian president". WUSA9. May 28, 2014. Retrieved May 29, 2014. 
  35. "Schapiro: For Dick Black, issues are black or white". Richmond Times-Dispatch. May 29, 2014. Retrieved June 4, 2014. 
  36. "Loudoun's Sen. Black listed as ‘enemy’ by ISIS, along with Rick Santorum". The Washington Post. March 31, 2015. Retrieved October 1, 2016. 
  37. 37.0 37.1 "Outspoken Virginia state senator travels to Syria in support of Assad". The Washington Post. April 27, 2016. Retrieved May 1, 2016. 
  38. "Grassroots Activism Scores Win on Medicaid Expansion". 
  39. 39.0 39.1 "After hours of strife, lawmakers pass budget without Medicaid expansion". 
  40. "Virginia lawmakers finalize budget, averting a shutdown as GOP thwarts McAuliffe veto". 

External links[]

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