Government, Politics, and Higher Education
Virginia is officially styled a commonwealth. The Virginia constitution was revised extensively in the late 1960s. The legislature (called the general assembly) consists of a house of delegates of 100 members and a senate with 40 members. The governor serves a four-year term and is ineligible for reelection. Mark R. Warner, a Democrat, was elected in 2001; he succeeded James S. Gilmore 3d, a Republican. Warner's lieutenant governor, Democrat Timothy M. Kaine, was elected governor in 2005; Republicans regained the governorship in 2009 when Robert F. McDonnell was elected. Virginia sends 11 representatives and 2 senators to the U.S. Congress and has 13 electoral votes. Long a Democratic stronghold, the commonwealth now has highly competitive two-party politics.
Among Virginia's many institutions of higher learning are the College of William and Mary in Virginia, mainly at Williamsburg; George Mason Univ., at Fairfax; Hampton Univ. (formerly Hampton Institute), at Hampton; Mary Washington College, at Fredericksburg; Randolph College, at Lynchburg; Randolph-Macon College, at Ashland; Sweet Briar College, at Sweet Briar; the Univ. of Virginia, mainly at Charlottesville; Virginia Commonwealth Univ., at Richmond; Virginia Military Institute and Washington and Lee Univ., at Lexington; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ., at Blacksburg; and Virginia State College, at Petersburg.
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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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