Photographic book

Virginia from 1960 to 1980


Democrat Leslie L. Byrne
Democrat Leslie L. Byrne

After legislative reapportionment in 1964, political control of Virginia shifted to the urban areas. This in turn resulted in a major expansion of the state’s education, recreation, and social welfare programs. Mills E. Godwin, Jr., who served as governor from 1966 to 1970 and again from 1974 and to 1978, secured legislative approval for a sales tax that helped to pay for a new community college system as well as improvements in an array of public services. Godwin also spearheaded the drive for a new state constitution, adopted in 1970 and effective in 1971, that contained provisions calling for quality education for everyone, consumer protection, and preservation of the environment.

Another consequence of this transformed political climate was the discarding of the no-debt, pay-as-you-go financial heritage from the Byrd era.

State bond issues were approved under governors Godwin and Wilder to fund ambitious construction projects in higher education, parks, seaport development, mental hospitals, and other areas. Highways, airports, and metropolitan transit systems received top priority during Gerald L. Baliles’s term as governor (1986-1990), which also featured the establishment of a state lottery. Although otherwise hostile to so-called tax and spend policies, Republican George F. Allen, who became governor in 1994, urged a major expansion of prison facilities as a key element of an anticrime crusade. Republican James S. Gilmore, who succeeded Allen as governor in 1998, focused on improving education in Virginia and cutting taxes. "Virginia" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.

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