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Ralph Northam
Governor Ralph Northam Gives Inaugural Address (39348612584) (cropped).jpg
73rd Governor of Virginia
Assumed office
January 13, 2018
Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax
Preceded by Terry McAuliffe
40th Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
In office
January 11, 2014 – January 11, 2018
Governor Terry McAuliffe
Preceded by Bill Bolling
Succeeded by Justin Fairfax
Member of the Virginia Senate
from the 6th district
In office
January 9, 2008 – January 11, 2014
Preceded by Nick Rerras
Succeeded by Lynwood Lewis
Personal details
Born
Ralph Shearer Northam

September 13, 1959 (1959-09-13) (age 60)
Nassawadox, Virginia, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Pam Northam (1987-present)
Children 2
Education Virginia Military Institute (BS)
Eastern Virginia Medical School (MD)
Signature
Website Campaign website
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Branch/service  United States Army
Years of service 1984–1992
Rank US-O4 insignia.svg Major
Unit Medical Corps

Ralph Shearer Northam (born September 13, 1959) is the 73rd and current Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Before he became governor, Northam was a doctor, U.S. Army veteran and former Virginia senator.

A Democrat, Northam previously served the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia from January 11, 2014 until January 13, 2018, during Governor Terry McAuliffe's term in office. His term ended when he became Governor and he was succeeded in his position by Democrat Justin Fairfax.

Northam was the Democratic nominee for Governor of Virginia in the 2017 election, facing Republican Ed Gillespie and winning the election.

Early life

Northam was born in Nassawadox, Virginia. His mother, Nancy Shearer, was a nurse and his father, Wescott B. Northam, was an attorney. He was raised in Onancock, Virginia. He studied at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington and at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk.

Military career

From 1984 to 1992 he served as a United States Army medical officer. Northam left the U.S. Army in 1992 at the rank of major, having completed eight years of service.

Early career

Northam first ran for office in 2007 in the Virginia 6th Senate district, which includes the Eastern Shore of Virginia; Mathews County, on the Middle Peninsula; and parts of the cities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He was re-elected in November 2011, defeating Ben Loyola, Jr., a defense contractor, 16,606 votes to 12,622. He is best known to have led an effort to pass a ban on smoking in restaurants in Virginia. The bill failed the first time, but was passed the next year and signed into law by Governor Tim Kaine.

Lieutenant Governor of Virginia

Northam ran for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in Virginia's 2013 gubernatorial election. On November 5, 2013, Northam was elected as Virginia's 40th Lieutenant Governor over Republican E.W. Jackson by a 10% margin, receiving 55% of the vote to Jackson's 45%. Northam was the first Democrat since Tim Kaine in 2001 to be elected Lieutenant Governor of Virginia.

2017 gubernatorial election

On November 17, 2015, Northam sent a message saying that he will run for Governor of Virginia via an email to supporters.

Northam faced former congressman Tom Perriello in the Democratic primary. The primary campaign seen as a battle between the Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren supporters of the Democratic Party, seen by Perriello, and the Hillary Clinton wing, represented by Northam. On June 13, 2017, Northam won the Democratic nomination with 56% of the vote to Perriello's 44%.

Northam faced Republican nominee Ed Gillespie in the general election. Presidents Donald Trump and George W. Bush endorsed Gillespie in the general election. Main topics that influenced the outcome of the election were sanctuary cities, gang violence and health care. Northam was supported by former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Northam was elected the 73rd Governor of Virginia on November 7, 2017, defeating Ed Gillespie in the general election. Northam won with 54% of the vote to Gillespie's 45%.

Governor of Virginia (2018–present)

Northam was sworn in as Governor of Virginia at noon on January 13, 2018 at the State Capitol. He became the second Eastern Shore native to serve as Governor of Virginia.

On February 1, 2019, images from Northam's medical school yearbook were published on the website Big League Politics. The photos showed an image of an unknown person in blackface and an unknown person in a Ku Klux Klan hood on Northam's page in the yearbook. A spokesman for Eastern Virginia Medical School confirmed that the image appeared in its 1984 yearbook. Shortly after the news broke, Northam confirmed he appeared in the photo and issued an apology. Many people including Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders and Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax believe Northam should resign.

Personal life

Northam married Pam Northam in 1987. They have two children. They live in Norfolk, Virginia.

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