Virginia Lieutenant Governor candidates Jill Holtzman Vogel and Justin Fairfax are set to participate in a Lieutenant Governor debate on Wednesday, August 9, at Piedmont Virginia Community College.
Bob Gibson of the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service will moderate the debate that is sponsored by the Senior Statesmen of Virginia and PVCC. The event is open to the public, and will include questions submitted by the audience.
Republican Vogel, 46, and Democrat Fairfax, 38, won their respective party primaries in June. Vogel would be Virginia’s first woman to hold the position. Fairfax would be the second African American lieutenant governor, following Democrat Doug Wilder who won in 1986 and then went on to become Virginia’s first African American governor in 1990. Both Vogel and Fairfax are attorneys.
Jill Vogel, a Virginia state senator since 2008, is managing partner of a law firm that specializes in campaign finance law, and has achieved recognition as an ethics attorney. She has served as chief counsel for the Republican National Committee since 2004. The mom of five children, her husband is also an attorney who is managing partner of the corporate research firm VogelHood Research. Vogel’s father is Shenandoah Valley businessman and philanthropist William Holtzman who built a small oil distribution company into Holtzman Corporation, a regional gas, oil, construction, and food conglomerate that includes the Liberty gas stations. A fun fact about the Vogels is that they purchased the 25,000-square-foot Georgian-style mansion and 283 acres in Upperville from the Bunny Mellon estate in 2015.
Justin Fairfax, who has been called a rising star by his party, is a litigator with Tysons Corner law firm Venable LLP. He ran for lieutenant governor in 2013 when Democrats narrowly voted for Mark Herring who went on to win the general election. He was class president of his Catholic high school and a member of the National Honor Society who went on to attend Duke University, where he graduated with a degree in Public Policy Studies, and Columbia Law School, where he was selected for the Columbia Law Review, he is a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and served as deputy of the Major Crimes & Narcotics Unit. He is currently a member of the Human Trafficking Task Force. His wife operates her own Fairfax County dental practice. The couple have two children. A fun fact: His campaign chairman was the chairman of U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine’s successful run for governor in 2005 and subsequent run for U.S. Senate in 2012.
Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor, often seen as a stepping stone position for governor, is first in line of succession should the governor not be able to serve. It is a part-time job that basically requires presiding over the state Senate, and to break tie votes. In addition, the lieutenant governor serves on the Board of Trustees of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation and the Center for Rural Virginia; the Board of Directors of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the Virginia Tourism Authority; the Virginia Military Advisory Council, the Commonwealth Preparedness Council, and the Council on Virginia’s Future. There is no limit to the number of terms that can be served as lieutenant governor.
If you’re going:
What: Virginia Lieutenant Governor Debate
Date: Wednesday, August 9
Time: 1:30-3:00 p.m.
Place: Piedmont Virginia Community College, Dickinson Auditorium