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S. Vance Wilkins Jr.

Member From: 1978 - 2002

Member image
  • Birth Date: 1936 Birth Place:
  • Gender: Male Race: Caucasian
  • Spouse: Leona Elena Ehlert
  • Children: Dale W. Jacobs, Phyllis W. Thornton, Ann W. Garrett, S. Vance, III, Nathan B., and Mary W. Slagle
  • Religion:
  • Education: Amherst County public schools Virginia Polytechnic Institute (B.S.; Industrial Engineering; Distinguished Military Graduate)
  • Military Service: USAF (1958-60)
  • Occupation/Profession: Contractor (retired)
  • Memberships/Affiliations: Ruritan Izaak Walton League Masons (former master and former district deputy grand master) Rotary Friends of the Library Farm Bureau Minority Floor Leader (1992-97) Republican Leader (1998-99) Speaker of the House (January 12, 2000-June 15, 2002)
  • Bio: Born in Amherst County, VA., August 12, 1936. S. Vance Wilkins, Jr. represented the 24th district in the House of Delegates from January 1978 to June 2002, eventually becoming its first Republican Speaker since Reconstruction, in January 2000. He represented Amherst County and the cities of Lynchburg, Buena Vista, Lexington, and Staunton as well as the counties of Rockbridge, Nelson, and Augusta. He served on the following committees: Militia and Police; Privileges and Elections; Health, Welfare and Institutions; Labor and Commerce; General Laws (co-chair), and Rules (chair). Speaker Wilkins graduated from Amherst High School in 1953; received a B.S. degree, as a Distinguished Military Graduate, in industrial engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1957; and in 1958, entered the United States Air Force, leaving two years later as a First Lieutenant. His is the son of the late S. Vance Wilkins and the late Mary H. Wilkins. He was married to the former Edith M. Bradley, with whom he had six children: Dale, Phyllis, Ann, S. Vance III, Nathan and Mary. He also was married to the former Leona Elena Ehlert. In 1960, Speaker Wilkins joined Wilkins Construction Company, the bridge-building business his father started, and later bought the company. Speaker Wilkins also served in local civic clubs, led elementary and high school PTAs, Boy Scouts, and the farm bureau; and chaired a drive to build a new county public library. In 1990, he sold the construction company to dedicate more time to building the House Republican membership. He was a strong conservative, working for lower taxes, right-to-work laws, open space preservation, gun-ownership rights, and higher public school academic standards. During his 24-year House tenure, he tirelessly recruited Republicans to run for the House. In 1992, Republican colleagues promoted him to House Minority Leader. In 1998, he was named Republican Leader when the 50-member GOP caucus, which included one independent, tied the Democrats in the 100-member House. In 1999, Republican delegates increased their membership to 54, achieving majority-party status for the first time in over a century. Two months later, Wilkins was elected Speaker. As Speaker, he streamlined House and committee procedures and instituted proportional seating between the parties on the committees for the first time.

    While he was Speaker of the House, the Clerk was BRUCE F. JAMERSON.
Session District District Number Party Leadership Committees
1978 Counties of Amherst and Nelson; City of Lynchburg (part) 11 Republican Health Welfare and Institutions
Mining and Mineral Resources
1979 Counties of Amherst and Nelson; City of Lynchburg (part) 11 Republican Health Welfare and Institutions
Mining and Mineral Resources
1980 Counties of Amherst and Nelson; City of Lynchburg (part) 11 Republican Health Welfare and Institutions
Labor and Commerce
Mining and Mineral Resources
1981 Counties of Amherst and Nelson; City of Lynchburg (part) 11 Republican Health Welfare and Institutions
Labor and Commerce
Mining and Mineral Resources
1982 Counties of Amherst and Nelson; City of Lynchburg 11 Republican General Laws
Health Welfare and Institutions
Labor and Commerce
Mining and Mineral Resources
1983 Counties of Amherst, Augusta (part), and Rockbridge (part); City of Lexington 24 Republican General Laws
Health Welfare and Institutions
Labor and Commerce
Mining and Mineral Resources
1984 Counties of Amherst, Rockbridge (part) and Augusta (part); City of Lexington 24 Republican General Laws
Health Welfare and Institutions
Labor and Commerce
Mining and Mineral Resources
1985 Counties of Amherst, Rockbridge (part) and Augusta (part); City of Lexington 24 Republican General Laws
Health Welfare and Institutions
Labor and Commerce
Mining and Mineral Resources
1986 Counties of Amherst, Augusta (part), and Rockbridge (part); City of Lexington 24 Republican General Laws
Health Welfare and Institutions
Labor and Commerce
Mining and Mineral Resources
1987 Counties of Amherst, Augusta (part), and Rockbridge (part); City of Lexington 24 Republican General Laws
Health Welfare and Institutions
Labor and Commerce
Mining and Mineral Resources
1988 Counties of Amherst (part), Augusta (part), and Rockbridge (part); City of Lexington 24 Republican General Laws
Health Welfare and Institutions
Labor and Commerce
Mining and Mineral Resources
1989 Counties of Amherst (part), Augusta (part), and Rockbridge (part); City of Lexington 24 Republican General Laws
Health Welfare and Institutions
Labor and Commerce
Mining and Mineral Resources
1990 Counties of Amherst, Augusta (part), and Rockbridge (part); City of Lexington 24 Republican General Laws
Labor and Commerce
Privileges and Elections
1991 Counties of Amherst, Augusta (part), and Rockbridge (part); City of Lexington 24 Republican General Laws
Labor and Commerce
Privileges and Elections
1992 Counties of Amherst (part), Augusta (part), and Rockbridge (part); City of Staunton 24 Republican General Laws
Privileges and Elections
Rules
1993 Counties of Amherst (part), Augusta (part), and Rockbridge (part); City of Staunton 24 Republican General Laws
Privileges and Elections
Rules
1994 Counties of Amherst (part), Augusta (part), and Rockbridge (part); City of Staunton 24 Republican Minority Leader General Laws
Militia and Police
Privileges and Elections
Rules
1995 Counties of Amherst (part), Augusta (part), and Rockbridge (part); City of Staunton 24 Republican Minority Leader General Laws
Militia and Police
Privileges and Elections
Rules
1996 Counties of Amherst (part), Augusta (part), and Rockbridge (part); City of Staunton 24 Republican Minority Floor Leader General Laws
Militia and Police
Privileges and Elections
1997 Counties of Amherst (part), Augusta (part), and Rockbridge (part); City of Staunton 24 Republican Minority Floor Leader General Laws
Militia and Police
Privileges and Elections
1998 Counties of Amherst (part), Augusta (part), and Rockbridge (part); City of Staunton 24 Republican Republican Leader General Laws (Co Chair)
Militia and Police
Privileges and Elections
Rules
1999 Counties of Amherst (part), Augusta (part), and Rockbridge (part); City of Staunton 24 Republican Republican Leader General Laws (Co Chair)
Militia and Police
Privileges and Elections
Rules
2000 Counties of Amherst (part), Augusta (part), and Rockbridge (part); City of Staunton 24 Republican Speaker of the House Rules (Chair)
2001 Counties of Amherst (part), Augusta (part), and Rockbridge (part); City of Staunton 24 Republican Speaker of the House Rules (Chair)
2002 Counties of Amherst (part), Augusta (part), and Rockbridge; Cities of Buena Vista and Lexington 24 Republican Speaker of the House Rules

*The information within this interactive and searchable application has been researched extensively by the House Clerk’s Office. As with any historical records of this age and breadth, there may be discrepancies and/or inconsistencies within records obtained from a variety of credible sources. Any feedback is encouraged at history@house.virginia.gov.

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