Del. Don Scott Jr. Makes History As Virginia’s First Black Speaker Of The House

Del. Don Scott Jr. Makes History As Virginia’s First Black Speaker Of The House

Virginia's Don Scott Jr., a Democrat from Portsmouth, has made history by becoming the state's first Black speaker in the House of Delegates.

According to CBS News, Don Scott Jr., a Democrat from Portsmouth, Virginia, made history by becoming the state’s first Black speaker of the House of Delegates on Jan. 9. The historic swearing-in ceremony took place in Richmond, a city steeped in tradition and historical significance.

Scott, who was unanimously chosen by his party for the speakership in November, expressed gratitude for the trust his colleagues have placed in him. He took to X on Wednesday after the swearing-in, stating, “With the 2024 session now underway, I’m grateful for the trust that my colleagues have placed in me. Let’s meet this historic moment, and set our sights on moving Virginia forward.”

Scott’s journey to the speakership has been anything but traditional. After serving as a Navy officer and during his third year of law school, he spent nearly eight years in federal prison following a guilty plea in a drug conspiracy case. Reflecting on his past, Scott admitted, “I made the dreadful mistake of going to pick up some money, some drug money,” emphasizing that he had never been in trouble before.

Post-prison, Scott successfully completed his law degree, established a law practice, and eventually entered Virginia’s legislature. His political trajectory saw a rapid ascent, with him serving as minority leader since 2022 before gaining party backing for the chamber’s top post.

Acknowledging his unconventional journey, Scott remarked, “Damaged goods sometimes can turn out to be okay. We are a lot more interesting than the people that followed all the rules and did everything perfect.”

As the first Black speaker in the state’s 400-year history, Scott faces significant challenges. A vocal critic of Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, he must navigate a slim majority in the House amid a divided government. In a surprising turn of events in November, Democrats flipped the House of Delegates, regaining control of the Senate, contrary to GOP expectations of securing a Republican trifecta.

Reflecting on the historical significance of his position, Scott stated, “We’re only a few miles from where the first slaves came into this country in 1619. Now 405 years later, you have your first Black speaker. So I’m very cognizant of the shoulders that I stand on. I take it very seriously. And I’m humbled and I’m, I’m grateful for the opportunity.”

With a list of priorities, including divisive issues like abortion and gun control, Scott is poised to address critical matters facing the Old Dominion State.