Senate Democrats, who will hold a slim majority in the General Assembly’s upper chamber when the 2020 session begins in January, on Wednesday elected Sen. Dick Saslaw of Fairfax County as the next majority leader and re-elected Sen. Mamie Locke of Hampton as the caucus chair.

Saslaw’s and Locke’s elections during a gathering in Harrisonburg represent a continuation of the status quo for the caucus, which saw the two veteran lawmakers lead the party while in the minority. Saslaw has served in the Senate since 1980 and has led the Senate Democrats since 1998, with five stints as majority leader in the past two decades.

Meanwhile, Sen. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, was elected as president pro tempore and will become the first woman and first African American lawmaker to hold the title. The president pro tempore presides over the Senate chamber in the absence of the lieutenant governor. Lucas will officially assume the role after a vote by the full chamber in January.

Sens. Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax, and Jeremy McPike, D-Prince William, were elected to serve as vice chairs of the caucus.

Senate Democrats gathered in Harrisonburg ahead of the annual Senate Finance Committee retreat, which begins Thursday. Senate Republicans, who will now be in the minority, will caucus in Harrisonburg on Thursday to elect their leaders.

On Wednesday, Democrats also named the committee chairs for the 2020 session.

Sen. Janet Howell, D-Fairfax, will chair the influential Finance Committee, for which she was the ranking member in 2019. Saslaw will chair the Commerce and Labor Committee. Lucas will chair the Education and Health Committee.

Committee chairs

  • Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources: Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax City
  • Commerce and Labor Committee: Sen. Dick Saslaw, D-Fairfax
  • Courts of Justice: Sen. John Edwards, D-Roanoke
  • Education and Health: Sen. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth
  • Finance: Sen. Janet Howell, D-Fairfax
  • Rules: Sen. Mamie Locke, D-Hampton
  • Rehabilitation and Social Services: Sen. Barbara Favola, D-Arlington
  • General Laws: Sen. George Barker, D-Fairfax
  • Local Government: Sen. Lynwood Lewis, D-Accomack
  • Transportation: Sen. David Marsden, D-Fairfax
  • Privileges and Elections: Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath

Caucus leaders

  • Senate majority leader, Sen. Dick Saslaw, D-Fairfax
  • Caucus chair, Sen. Mamie Locke, D-Hampton
  • President pro tempore-designee, Sen. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth
  • Caucus vice chairs, Sens. Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax, and Jeremy McPike, D-Prince William
  • Caucus secretary, Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond
  • Caucus treasurer, Sen.-elect Ghazala Hashmi, D-Chesterfield
  • Democratic whips, Sens. Barbara Favola, D-Arlington, and Lionell Spruill Sr., D-Chesapeake
  • Sergeant at arms, Sen. Jennifer Boysko, D-Fairfax

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mleonor@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6254

Twitter: @MelLeonor_

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