Jay Leftwich

Jay Leftwich 1


Current Position: State Delegate of District 78 since 2014
Affiliation: Republican
Former Position: Chesapeake School Board (2002-13; chairman 2012-13) from 2002 – 2013

James Leftwich is a Partner at Basnight, Kinser, Leftwich & Nuckolls, P.C., where he has been for 29 years.

Jay successfully won election to the Virginia House of Delegates in 2013 to represent the 78th District, which is located in Chesapeake. He currently serves on the following committees: Courts of Justice, Education, General Laws, and Privileges and Elections in the House. Jay is also the Chairman of the House Courts of Justice Subcommittee #2, Privileges and Elections Subcommittee #2, and the Education Subcommittee #3.

OnAir Post: Jay Leftwich


Jay Leftwich 2

James A. “Jay” Leftwich, Jr. has been rooted in Chesapeake for a lifetime. After graduating from Chesapeake Public Schools, Jay furthered his education at James Madison University then obtained his J.D. from the T.C. Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond. Jay returned to Chesapeake to launch his career and is a Partner at Basnight, Kinser, Leftwich & Nuckolls, P.C., where he has been for 29 years. Jay successfully won election to the Virginia House of Delegates in 2013 to represent the 78th District, which is located in Chesapeake. He currently serves on the following committees: Courts of Justice, Education, General Laws, and Privileges and Elections in the House. Jay is also the Chairman of the House Courts of Justice Subcommittee #2, Privileges and Elections Subcommittee #2, and the Education Subcommittee #3.

Virginia General Assembly – Past and Present Committees
Civil Subcommittee
Ethics Subcommittee
Judicial Panel Subcommittee
General Laws Subcommittee #4
Education Innovation Subcommittee
Mental Health Subcommittee
Broadband Advisory Council
Child Support Guidelines Review Panel
Geographic Information Network Advisory Board
Commission on Intergovernmental Cooperation

Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Champion of Freedom Award
Virginia Clerk’s Association Legislator of the Year

Community Service

Jay is a firm believer in community service. His record of community involvement reflects his deep commitment to Chesapeake and its citizens.

Chesapeake Public Schools, Chairman, 2012 – 2013
Chesapeake Public Schools, Vice Chairman, 2010 – 2012
Chesapeake Public Schools, Board Member, 2002 – 2013

Chesapeake Public Schools, School Board Appointments

  • Legal Services Committee
  • Chesapeake Public Schools Educational Foundation
  • Access College Foundation
  • Governor’s School for the Arts
  • Southeastern Cooperative Association
  • Southeastern Cooperative Educational Programs, “SECEP”

Member and Former Elder, Great Bridge Presbyterian Church
Member, Small Group Bible Study, Founding Member of Current Small Group

Active Participant in Support of:

  • NEST
  • Young Life
  • Youth Ministry
  • Stop Hunger Now
  • Pro Bono Legal Services

Chesapeake Rotary Club
Former Director, Tidewater Pastoral Counseling Services, Inc.
Parent Teacher Association 
Recipient, Multiple Sclerosis Leadership Award
Coach, High School Model Judiciary Program
Coach, Chesapeake Recreational Department
Great Bridge Jaycees (1988 until aged out) President 1991

  • Founded Walkathon for Chesapeake Care, Inc., Free Medical Clinic
  • Chesapeake First Citizen’s Award Committee Chairman, Multiple Years
  • Chesapeake Christmas Parade Committee Member, 10+ Years
  • Oyster Roast Committee Chairman, Multiple Years

Ruritans – President 2000, Vice President 1999, Secretary 1998, Treasurer 1997

Chesapeake Care Free Clinic, Former Director

  • Long Range Planning Committee
  • Building Committee
  • Constitution and Bylaws Committee
  • Building- Fundraising Committee
  • Pro Bono Legal Services

American Cancer Society, Virginia Division, Portsmouth/Chesapeake, Former Director

Chesapeake Public Schools, Optimizing Technology Action Team, Former Member

Chesapeake Regional Medical Center Bra-ha-ha Fundraising, Volunteer

Professional Highlights

Fellow, Sorensen Institute of Political Leadership, At the University of Virginia

Virginia State Bar – 1988 to Present

  • Section Member, Family Law
  • Section Member, Environmental Law
  • Section Member, Health Law

Admitted to Practice in all Virginia Courts, the United States District Court, 4th Circuit and U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia

Cullen Commission, Virginia General Assembly, Former Member, Courts of Justice Subcommittee

Interviews, Evaluates and Makes Recommendations in Regard to Applicants Seeking Appointment to the Virginia Court of Appeals

Chesapeake Bar Association – President 1999

  • The Chesapeake Bar Association has received two Merit Achievement Awards from the Virginia State Bar during its existence: both projects were begun and implemented during Jay’s Presidency in 1999: (1) High School Docent/Mentoring Program and (2) Chesapeake Bar Association Website. The Chesapeake Bar Association also started a Charitable Foundation in 1999.

Chesapeake Bar Association High School Docent/Mentoring Program

The Docent/Mentoring Program of the Chesapeake Bar Association was organized to provide the public high schools in the City of Chesapeake with the following services from the Chesapeake Bar Association: provide classroom speakers, assist in the organization of law related field trips, pass out “So Your Eighteen” brochures, facilitate law related employment/internships for interested students, and provide scholarships subject to availability of funds. Each Public High School was assigned a liaison who was a member of the Chesapeake Bar Association and each Public High School provided a contact person.

The Committee consisted of seven members of the Bar, an attorney for each high school in the city of Chesapeake and the Chairman of the Committee. If a speaker was needed or a student was interested in an internship or employment, the teacher would contact the attorney assigned to his or her high school and that attorney would facilitate the request by contacting one or more members of the Chesapeake Bar Association.

Additionally, the Chesapeake Bar Association made a grant request from the Virginia Law Foundation to sponsor a trip for Chesapeake high school students to the Virginia Supreme Court and to the United States Supreme Court. After the grant request was approved the Virginia Supreme Court field trip was taken in the fall of 2000 and the United States Supreme Court field trip was taken in the spring of 2001.

“Top 40 Under 40″ professionals in the Hampton Roads Area, 2000, Inside Business Magazine
Who’s Who in American Law – Millennium Edition
Lifetime Member National Registry of Who’s Who, 2001 Edition Registry Number 179433
Family Law Organization of Hampton Roads, Former Member
I’Anson Hoffman Inns of Court, Former Member
Former Judicial Circuit Representative to Young Lawyers Conference
Chesapeake Division of Chamber of Commerce, Former Member


Work Experience

  • Attorney


  • JD
    T.C. Williams School of Law, University of Richmond
  • BS
    James Madison University


Multiple Sclerosis Leadership Award (1987)
Top 40 Under 40 Professionals in Hampton Roads (2000)


  • Birth Year: 1962
  • Place of Birth: Portsmouth, VA
  • Gender: Male
  • Race(s): Caucasian
  • Religion: Presbyterian
  • Spouse: Renee D.
  • Children: Logan, Austin, Faith, Hope, and Trey

Membership & Affiliation

Great Bridge Presbyterian Church (former elder)
Ruritan (former president)
Jaycees (former president)
Chesapeake Bar Association (former president)
Chesapeake Care Inc. (former director)
American Cancer Society (former director)


Legislative Assistant: Angela Chellew
Administrative Assistant During Session: Kathy Wyatt



Capitol Office
Pocahontas Building
900 E. Main St,
Richmond, Virginia 23219
Phone: (804) 698-1078

District Office
308 Cedar Lakes Drive, 2nd floor
Chesapeake, VA 23322

Phone: (757) 382-4156


Government Page, Campaign Site


Source: none

Recent Elections


James A. “Jay” Leftwich, Jr. (R)16,64891.30%
Write-In (Write-in)1,5878.70%


Jay Leftwich (R)20,76894.7%
Write In (Write-in)1,1525.3%

Source: Virginia Legislative Information System


LEFTWICH JR, JAMES A (JAY) has run in 3 races for public office, winning 3 of them. The candidate has raised a total of $361,128.

Source: Follow the Money



Vice Chair: Courts of Justice
General Laws
Privileges and Elections


Chair: Courts of Justice – Subcommittee #2
Chair: Education – Subcommittee #3
Chair: Privileges and Elections – Subcommittee #2
Courts of Justice – Subcommittee #4
Courts of Justice – Ethics Subcommittee
Education – Subcommittee #2
General Laws – Subcommittee #3
General Laws – Subcommittee #4
Privileges and Elections – Subcommittee #4


Voting Record

See: Vote Smart

New Legislation

Source: Virginia Legislative Information System


Source: Campaign page


Work Force Development

Virginia’s “caboose budget” provided funding for the “Tech Talent Pipeline” to create 25,000 new computer science degrees.   In addition, funding was included for the Workforce Credential Grant Program to give priority to institutions that offer noncredit workforce training programs in high-demand fields.

Legislation was also passed strengthening Virginia’s Apprenticeship Programs and expanding opportunities for Virginians who need to earn a paycheck while developing skills to fill labor shortage in high-demand areas. Jobs like the ones at the Newport News Shipbuilding are at the forefront of emerging technology which enables “digital shipbuilding.”


K-12 Education

In 2013, when I first ran for the House of Delegates, I promised to advocate for full restoration of lottery funds previously dedicated to our schools.   Each year I have advocated for and the General Assembly has returned a percentage of these monies.  This year an additional 34.7 million of additional lottery funds will go back to Virginia’s schools. As a member of House Education Committee, I remain committed to advocating for you on the state level, ensuring our public schools have the resources they need for our children to succeed.

Higher Education

As chair of the “Higher Ed” subcommittee I am particularly pleased with the General Assembly’s actions on college tuition.  This year the House of Delegates passed legislation to make it easier for middle class families to afford college by lowering the price of Prepaid 529 plans. The legislation will lower the current cost of an eight-semester contract by more than $3,000. Additionally, for the last several legislative cycles, the General Assembly and Virginia’s colleges/universities have wrestled with rising tuition rates and concerns of “unaffordability” for many Virginians.  Although initiated in the Appropriations Committee, I was deeply involved in discussions and heard from many citizens regarding rising tuition.  This year Virginia’s budget provided additional funding for colleges and universities; however, in order to receive the funding, each college/university must “freeze” tuition rates for a period of time.   Unfortunately, this “carrot and stick” approach was necessary because the last time funding was increased for colleges and universities, with the understanding tuition would be frozen, some institutions raised rates anyway.  As an added measure and despite significant opposition from higher education institutions, legislation was passed mandating that each Virginia college and university receive public input before raising its tuition.


School Safety

In Chesapeake, new security measures have been implemented and, as chance would have it, I had the unique experience to participate in a lock down drill one morning while dropping my son off at school.  Because we arrived after the official start of the school day but only minutes after the drill began, my son and I were ushered into an office and I witnessed first-hand the response and monitoring protocols that ensure the safety of each student.  It would be an understatement to simply say I was impressed.  Tremendous credit should be given to the Chesapeake City Council, the Chesapeake School Board, the Superintendent, our building principals, teachers and local law enforcement in devising and implementing current security and lock down procedures.  Again, I was thoroughly impressed and remain confident in the safety of our schools.

In addition to local efforts, numerous bills enhancing school safety were introduced during the 2019 General Assembly, which I supported and co-patroned:

-HB1729 requires each school counselor employed by a school board in a public elementary or secondary school to spend at least 80 percent of his or her staff time during normal school hours in the direct counseling of individual students or groups of students.   Furthermore, this year’s budget included an additional 12 million dollars to hire additional school counselors.

-HB1732 requires each school board to develop safety training procedures in the event of an emergency situation on school property and requires such training to be delivered to each student and employee in each school.

-HB1733 requires (i) the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety to develop a model memorandum of understanding (MOU) and (ii) every school board that employs school resource officers to enter into an MOU with their local law-enforcement agency which sets forth the powers and duties of the school resource officers.

-HB1738 requires the plans and specifications for new or remodeled public school buildings to be reviewed by an individual or entity with professional expertise in crime prevention.

-HB1739 specifies that, for the purpose of grant eligibility involving security equipment through the Public School Security Equipment Grant Act of 2013, security equipment includes software and mobile applications.

-HB1631 was introduced to encourage retired law-enforcement officers to serve as school security officers.  This bill would allow retired law enforcement officers to continue receiving retirement during a subsequent employment by a local school division as a school security officer.  This bill failed in Appropriations Subcommittee because of VRS concerns but I will introduce it again next year!!

Public Safety

Public Safety In 2018, I made a commitment to reintroduce HB757 which requires a registered sex offender who enters an emergency shelter, pursuant to a declared state or local emergency, to notify a member of the shelter’s staff.   This legislation failed in the Senate last year but this year’s bill, HB2303, made it through the House, Senate, and both chambers defeated Governor Northam’s amendments which would have inexplicably “gutted” the bill.  If Governor Northam doesn’t veto the bill, it will become law in time to ensure the safety of Virginians during declared emergencies, in particular those of Hampton Roads during the upcoming hurricane season.

Last year I introduced the “Enhanced Public Safety Telephone Services Act; Implementation of Next Generation 9-1-1 Services.” This legislation is paving the way to replace antiquated analog 911 services.  During the 2019 Session, I introduced a budget amendment establishing an Emergency Response Systems Development line of credit which will allow design and implementation to move forward.  As indicated last year, by using existing funding streams, these improvements will NOT result in any fee or tax increase.


The Commonwealth of Virginia is home to approximately 800,000 veterans and 150,000 active-duty military members and their families.  Every opportunity should be taken to communicate our gratitude to thank the “brave” for keeping our Country “the land of the free.”

As a small token, I introduced a bill creating a special license plate for service members who have been awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal. Once this legislation becomes law, you will be able to request and view the license plate on the DMV website.

Coal Ash

 Of significant environmental importance to Chesapeake is legislation introduced and passed requiring Dominion Energy to excavate coal ash from its site known as Chesapeake Energy Center, located on the southern branch of the Elizabeth River.   This legislation requires 25% of the coal ash to be recycled with the remaining ash removed and stored in a lined landfill meeting federal permitting standards rather than remain in a “filled and capped” state.


OnAir membership is required. The lead Moderator for the discussions is Samuel Strathmann. We encourage civil, honest, and safe discourse. For more information on commenting and giving feedback, see our Comment Guidelines.

Skip to toolbar