Current Position: Lt. Governor since 2022
Affiliation: Republican
Candidate: 2023 Lt. Governor

Winsome was elected to a majority Black legislative district! No other Republican has done that in Virginia since 1865: She consequently also became the first (and still only) Black Republican woman elected to the House, the first female veteran, and the first legal immigrant woman.

Winsome is a mother, wife and is proud to have served in the United States Marines. She was also a hard-charging Vice President of the Virginia State Board of Education and received presidential appointments to the US Census Bureau (where she co-chaired the African American Committee) and the Advisory Committee on Women Veterans to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

In addition to her Masters degree, Winsome also built a successful business as a trained electrician and understands the importance of helping small businesses thrive. However, Winsome is most proud of her community work leading a men’s prison ministry and as director of a women’s homeless shelter for The Salvation Army.


OnAir Post: Winsome Sears


History-making Winsome Sears ready to work in Virginia
Associated Press, Matthew BarakatNovember 13, 2021

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — Winsome Sears says voters learned where she stands as she made history campaigning to become the first Black woman elected to statewide office in Virginia.

But Sears may be less known for her policy positions than for a campaign photo showing the 57-year-old former Marine posing with a military rifle. The image launched the Republican from political obscurity after a nearly 20-year absence from elected office to win the GOP’s nomination for lieutenant governor, and she completed her comeback in November as Republicans swept Virginia’s top offices.

Those who know her say Sears is more than a gun-toting caricature — they point to her willingness to buck her own party at times, and her dedication to school choice and other conservative education priorities. The photo grabbed attention, but she held it with an engaging, almost stream-of-consciousness speaking style, firing up the crowds for her ticket mate Glenn Youngkin, now the governor-elect.

She had one-liners ready for the press as well. When asked about her pro-gun stance after the votes were counted, she told a local television station: “Harriet Tubman carried a gun and if it was good for her, then it was good for me too.”

Having won 51% to 49% over Democratic state Del. Hala Ayala, who as a Black Hispanic also would have made history, Sears is ready to pivot again, from speechifying to governing.

“Actions speak louder than words,” Sears said in an interview with The Associated Press. “And that’s why I couldn’t wait until we got to the end. So that I can really show the people that I mean to do right. That I’m not just using flowery language.”



Source: Wikipedia

Winsome Earle Sears (born March 11, 1964) is an American politician from Virginia. A Republican, Sears served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 2002 to 2004. She ran unsuccessfully for the United States House of Representatives from Virginia’s 3rd congressional district in 2004. In September 2018, she entered the race for U.S. Senate as a Republican write-in alternative to Corey Stewart. Sears is the Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in the 2021 election.


Campaign Site, Facebook, Twitter


Source: none

Source: Ballotpedia


Source: Follow the Money

Voting Record

See: Vote Smart


Source: Campaign page

Winsome Sears is a former U.S. Marine, former member of the Virginia General Assembly, and the 2021 Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor. Her views are informed by her service to the Commonwealth and her Country, her faith, and her belief in equal opportunity for all Virginians.

Civil Rights


Virginians are not defined by the color of their skin, but the content of their character. Still, data shows that Black Virginians are disproportionately failed by our government, whether it’s in education or when it comes to job opportunities. Winsome will uplift Black Virginians as Lieutenant Governor. Specifically, Winsome will push to:

  • Create a Black Virginians Advisory Cabinet to the Governor
  • Make a Once-in-a-Generation Investment in Historically Black Colleges & Universities
  • Create 10 “Legacy Wealth Startup Incubators” in Black Communities to Promote Black Entrepreneurship



As Lieutenant Governor, Winsome will champion good paying jobs for every Virginian. She will support policies that keep taxes low, reduce regulations, and promote small businesses. Specifically, Winsome will push to:

  • Enact a 12 Month Small Business Tax Holiday
  • Cut Unnecessary Regulations by 25 Percent
  • Protect Virginia’s Right-to-Work Law and Oppose Forced Unionization



Winsome knows a quality education is the best way to lift people out of poverty and make sure they have access to a good paying job. Winsome will champion investments in public schools, empower parents with choices, and raise standards in education. Specifically, Winsome will push to:

  • Keep Schools Open Safely 5 Days a Week
  • Raise Teacher Pay & Recruit More Teachers to End the Teacher Shortage
  • Restore High Standards for School Accreditation & SOL Tests
  • Promoting Choice by Creating More Opportunities, Especially in Failing School Districts



Keeping Virginians safe is a top responsibility of state government. As Lieutenant Governor, Winsome will defend our law enforcement heroes, crack down on violent criminals and preserve truth-in-sentencing – all while promoting commonsense criminal justice reforms that give nonviolent offenders a path to redemption. Specifically, Winsome will push to:

  • Fire the Parole Board and Preserve Truth in Sentencing
  • Raise Pay for Virginia State Police Troopers, Sheriff’s Deputies, Corrections Officers, and Police Officers
  • Reduce Law Enforcement Interactions by Increasing the Use of Handheld Photo Speed Enforcement



Virginia is home to over 800,000 veterans and their families, including Winsome Sears. Winsome served in the U.S. Marines, and she wants to ensure Virginia remains the most veteran friendly state in the nation. As Lieutenant Governor, Winsome will push to:

  • Eliminate All Taxes on the First $40,000 in Military Veteran Retirement Pay
  • Expand Virginia’s Veterans Care Centers in Richmond, Salem, Hampton Roads & Northern Virginia
  • Expanding our Veteran Workforce Transition Programs to Get Veterans Good Paying Jobs


Winsome Sears (née Earle; born March 11, 1964) is an American politician serving as the 42nd lieutenant governor of Virginia. A member of the Republican Party, Sears served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 2002 to 2004. She also served on the Virginia Board of Education, and she ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. House of Representatives in Virginia’s 3rd congressional district in 2004 and for U.S. Senate in 2018. In 2021, Sears was elected lieutenant governor of Virginia.

Sears is the first woman to serve as lieutenant governor of Virginia and is the first woman of color and first Jamaican-born American citizen elected to statewide office in Virginia.[2][3] She is expected to run for governor of Virginia in 2025.

Early life, family and education

Sears was born in Kingston, Jamaica, on March 11, 1964. She immigrated to the United States at the age of six.[4] She grew up in the Bronx, New York City.[5]

Sears earned an A.A. from Tidewater Community College, a B.A. in English with a minor in economics from Old Dominion University and an M.A. in organizational leadership from Regent University.[6]

Career before politics

Sears served as an electrician in the United States Marines from 1983 to 1986.[7] Before running for public office, Sears directed a Salvation Army homeless shelter.[8]

Political career

In November 2001, Sears upset 20-year Democratic incumbent Billy Robinson while running for the 90th district seat in Virginia’s House of Delegates,[9][10] becoming the first Jamaican female Republican,[11] first female veteran, and first naturalized citizen delegate, to serve in the body.[12] In 2004, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi appointed her to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs‘ Advisory Committee on Women Veterans.[13]

In 2004, Sears unsuccessfully challenged Democrat Bobby Scott for Virginia’s 3rd congressional district seat.[14] She received 31% of the vote.[7]

Sears opened a home appliance business in Virginia after her 2004 election loss.[15]

Governor Bob McDonnell appointed Sears to the Virginia Board of Education in 2011.[16]

In September 2018, Sears entered the race for U.S. Senate as a write-in candidate after Corey Stewart won the Republican nomination, citing his past alliances with white nationalists and other racial controversies.[17] She received less than 1% of the vote.[18]

During the 2020 United States presidential election campaign, Sears supported Donald Trump and was national chairwoman of the PAC “Black Americans to Re-elect the President.”[19][20]

After Republicans heavily underperformed and Trump-endorsed candidates lost in critical battleground states in the 2022 midterms, Sears criticized Trump, calling him a liability on the party and said she would not support Trump in the 2024 presidential election.[21]

Lieutenant Governor of Virginia

2021 lieutenant gubernatorial election

On May 11, 2021, Sears won the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor of Virginia on the fifth ballot, defeating former state delegate and second-place finisher Tim Hugo 54% to 46%.[8] On November 2, 2021, she won the race along with gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin and attorney general candidate Jason Miyares.[22] She was inaugurated as the 42nd lieutenant governor of Virginia on January 15, 2022. She is the first female lieutenant governor of Virginia as well as the first black woman lieutenant governor and statewide officeholder in the Commonwealth.[2][3]

During the election campaign, she declined to state whether she had been vaccinated against COVID-19,[23] but she encouraged others to get vaccinated.[24]

Political positions


During her campaign for lieutenant governor, Sears initially said she would support legislation similar to the Texas Heartbeat Act, which would make an abortion illegal as soon as fetal heartbeat was detected (as early as six weeks).[15] She has stated that abortion should be allowed in cases of rape and incest, or to prevent harm to a pregnant woman.[25] Later in her 2021 campaign, WRIC-TV wrote that Sears “appeared to backtrack” on her initial comments about the Texas Heartbeat Act.[26] Sears said she did not examine the Texas law, and she declined to state when she thought abortion should be made illegal.[26] After Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court of the United States in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Sears announced her support for a 15-week abortion ban.[27]


In 2021, Sears said she supported medical marijuana but opposed the legalization of marijuana for recreational use.[28][29]


Sears has called for the opening of more charter schools, lab schools, and virtual schools in Virginia.[30][31]

Sears has argued that critical race theory (CRT) was “definitely being taught in some form or fashion” in Virginia schools and accused critics of using “semantics” to deny it.[32] Politifact rated as “False” Glenn Youngkin’s claim that critical race theory has “moved into all of our schools in Virginia.” The site found that, though CRT had been discussed among educators, it was not part of the state’s “Standards of Learning”, and several school districts denied teaching it to students.[33] Sears called the CRT concept “racist;” she also said the good and bad of American history should be taught.[3][34]

After COVID-19 interrupted schooling in the state, Sears floated the possibilities of having year-round school or longer school days to make up lost educational time.[35]

LGBT rights

Sears opposed same-sex marriage in her 2004 campaign[36][37] and wrote in an op-ed that she strongly supported a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between a man and a woman and that “our society has gone immeasurably beyond almost all standards in accommodating the homosexual community over the last couple of decades.”[38] Sears supports civil unions, but she believes same-sex marriage will continue under precedent.[27][39]

Gun rights

Sears supports gun rights.[26] Her 2021 lieutenant gubernatorial campaign included a photo of Sears with a rifle that was used on campaign material and social media, which drew criticism from Democrats[40] but also increased her prominence among Republicans, helping elevate her from political obscurity.[25][41]

Personal life

Sears is married to Terence Sears.[42] She has had three daughters. One of Sears’s daughters died in a 2012 car crash, along with Sears’s two young granddaughters.[43] As of 2016, she and her family resided in Winchester.[44] She is a devout Christian,[45] and authored a Christian self-help book, Stop Being a Christian Wimp!, before entering politics.[46][25]

Electoral history

Virginia House of Delegates, 90th district
November 6, 2001[9]GeneralWinsome SearsRepublican6,69653
William “Billy” Robinson Jr. (incumbent)Democratic6,01747
Write Ins40
Republican defeated Democratic incumbent
Virginia 3rd congressional district
November 2, 2004[14]GeneralBobby Scott (incumbent)Democratic159,37369
Winsome SearsRepublican70,19431
Write Ins3250
Democratic incumbent held seat
Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
November 2, 2021[47]GeneralWinsome SearsRepublican1,658,33250.71
Hala AyalaDemocratic1,608,03049.17
Write Ins3,8070.12
Republican won Democratic held seat

See also


  1. ^ “Will Winsome Earle-Sears become the first Black woman governor?”. Politico. September 8, 2023.
  2. ^ a b Turner, Mikea (January 14, 2022). “Winsome Sears to make history as first woman – & Black woman – to be Virginia’s Lt. Governor”. WWBT. Retrieved January 15, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c Duster, Chandelis (November 3, 2021). “Winsome Sears will become Virginia lieutenant governor, CNN projects, becoming first female and woman of color in the office”. CNN. Retrieved November 3, 2021.
  4. ^ Graf, Heather (October 26, 2021). “Lieutenant governor race in Virginia: Meet Republican candidate Winsome Sears”. Retrieved November 3, 2021.
  5. ^ McLeod, Sheri-Kae (May 24, 2021). “Jamaican-born Winsome Earle Sears Wins Republican Party Nod for Lieutenant Gov”.
  6. ^ “Biography of Winsome Sears”. Retrieved September 18, 2021.
  7. ^ a b Caine, Andrew (January 21, 2021). “Winsome Sears launches GOP bid for lieutenant governor”. Richmond Times-Dispatch.
  8. ^ a b Olivo, Antonio; Vozzella, Laura (May 12, 2021). “Winsome Sears, former state delegate, wins GOP nomination for Virginia lieutenant governor”. The Washington Post. Retrieved June 26, 2022.
  9. ^ a b “General Election – November 6, 2001”. Virginia State Board of Elections. Retrieved November 24, 2008.
  10. ^ “With victory, Sears broke down barriers”. The Washington Times. November 23, 2001.
  11. ^ “Del. Sears visits Old Dominion class Tuesday”. News at Old Dominion University. November 22, 2002. Retrieved November 24, 2008.
  12. ^ Lewis, Bob (December 15, 2001). “Black GOP Woman Stuns Va. Politics”. Norfolk, Va.: Associated Press. Archived from the original on March 9, 2016. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
  13. ^ New Members Appointed to Committee on Women Veterans (press release), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (January 26, 2004).
  14. ^ a b “General Election – November 2, 2004”. Virginia State Board of Elections. Retrieved April 16, 2013.
  15. ^ a b Paviour, Ben (January 13, 2022). “Virginia’s first Black woman lieutenant governor says we need to move on from slavery”.
  16. ^ Antonio Olivo, Back in the Virginia political spotlight, Winsome Sears seeks to lift GOP in bid for lieutenant governor, Washington Post (October 15, 2021).
  17. ^ Wilson, Patrick (September 18, 2018). “Former GOP state delegate wants Republicans to write in her name for U.S. Senate instead of voting for Corey Stewart”. Roanoke Times.
  18. ^ “Official 2018 November General Election Results, Virginia”. Retrieved September 17, 2021.
  19. ^ Now called “Black Americans Making America First.”
  20. ^ Robertson, Campbell (December 27, 2021). ‘I Look Like the Strategy’: Winsome Sears Wants Black Voters to Rethink the G.O.P.” The New York Times. Retrieved June 26, 2022.
  21. ^ “Virginia’s GOP lt. Governor won’t back Trump in 2024: ‘I just couldn’t’. November 10, 2022.
  22. ^ Panetta, Grace; Seddiq, Oma (November 2, 2021). “Republican Winsome Sears defeats Hala Ayala in Virginia lieutenant governor’s race”. Business Insider. Retrieved November 3, 2021.
  23. ^ Pellish, Aaron (November 21, 2021). “Virginia’s incoming lieutenant governor questions Covid vaccines for those who’ve had the virus before”. CNN. Retrieved November 22, 2021.
  24. ^ Olivo, Antonio (October 7, 2021). “Republican candidate’s vaccination status becomes a target in Virginia lieutenant governor’s race”. The Washington Post. Retrieved June 26, 2022. Citing a October 7, 2021 Twitter post from Sears.
  25. ^ a b c Barakat, Matthew (November 13, 2021). “History-making Winsome Sears ready to work in Virginia”. Associated Press. Retrieved February 17, 2022.
  26. ^ a b c DeFusco, Jackie (October 29, 2022). “Virginia’s choice for lieutenant governor could impact marijuana, abortion, gun control”. WRIC-TV. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  27. ^ a b DeFusco, Jackie (June 28, 2022). “Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears on future of abortion in Virginia”. WRIC-TV. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  28. ^ DeFusco, Jackie (October 29, 2021). “Virginia’s choice for lieutenant governor could impact marijuana, abortion, gun control”. WRIC. Retrieved February 17, 2022.
  29. ^ Jarvis, Brandon (August 11, 2021). “The retail legalization of marijuana could be significantly impacted by November’s elections in Virginia”. VA Scope. Retrieved February 17, 2022.
  30. ^ Minock, Nick (February 13, 2022). “Va. Lt. Gov. wants to expand charter schools; Sen. Lucas against using public school funds”. WSET-TVA. Retrieved February 17, 2022.
  31. ^ Earle-Sears, Winsome (February 5, 2022). “Winsome Earle-Sears column: Creating a better education for Virginia’s next generation”. Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved February 17, 2022. We can do that with an Education Savings Account, by utilizing the Virginia Education Improvement Scholarship Tax Credit, and by opening more charter schools, lab schools and virtual schools.
  32. ^ Nelson, Joshua Q. (January 17, 2022). “Winsome Sears rips critical race theory: ‘Our children are not learning’ in school”. Fox News.
  33. ^ Fiske, Warren (August 10, 2021). “Youngkin offers little proof critical race theory is in ‘all’ Virginia schools”. Politifact.
  34. ^ “If Critical Race Theory means that telling a child that once you emerge from the womb you are a racist and a colonizer and whatever else, that’s not going to be good. That’s going to create morale problems for everybody. … If we’re going to teach about African American history, why just keep it to one month? Let’s teach it throughout. Let’s talk about these things. You can’t escape history. Let’s talk about the good, the bad and the ugly.” (Duster/CNN, 2021)
  35. ^ “Year-round school? Longer days in the classroom? How to make up the learning loss deficit”. ABC 7 News. February 17, 2022. Retrieved February 17, 2022.
  36. ^ Ley, Ana (January 21, 2010). “Winsome E. Sears, once a local Republican on the rise, announces bid for lieutenant governor”. The Virginian-Pilot.
  37. ^ Carroll, Fred (October 12, 2004). “Candidates Clash in Debate”. Daily Press.
  38. ^ Sears, Winsome (March 22, 2004). “Another Voice: Marriage Deserves Preservation”. Daily Press. Retrieved November 12, 2021.
  39. ^ “Youngkin’s comments raise questions on same-sex marriage future in Virginia”. July 13, 2022. Retrieved August 29, 2023.
  40. ^ Carey, Julie (May 14, 2021). “Va. GOP Nomination for Lt. Gov. Draws Controversy With Campaign Photo of Rifle”. NBC Washington. Retrieved June 26, 2022.
  41. ^ “Winsome Sears clinches the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor, rounding out the Republican ticket”. Prince William Times. May 11, 2021. She may be most known for a campaign photo showing the former Marine posing with a military rifle.
  42. ^ Mirshahi, Dean (January 15, 2022). “Winsome Sears, the first woman of color to hold statewide office in Virginia, sworn in as lieutenant governor”.
  43. ^ Clayton, Cindy. “Ex-local delegate loses three relatives in fatal wreck”. The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved November 4, 2021.
  44. ^ “Sterling Women of Winchester: Past Events”. Retrieved August 30, 2016.
  45. ^ Olivo, Antonio; Vozzella, Laura (January 22, 2022). “Virginia lieutenant governor Earle-Sears makes her mark in Richmond during tumultuous first week”. Washington Post.
  46. ^ Robertson, Campbell (December 27, 2021). ‘I Look Like the Strategy’: Winsome Sears Wants Black Voters to Rethink the G.O.P.” New York Times.
  47. ^ “General Election – November 2, 2021”. Virginia State Board of Elections. Retrieved November 17, 2021.

External links

Virginia House of Delegates
Preceded by

Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 90th district

Succeeded by

Party political offices
Preceded by

Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
Most recent
Political offices
Preceded by

Lieutenant Governor of Virginia