Lynwood Lewis

Lynwood Lewis 1


Current Position: State Senator for District 6 since 2014
Affiliation: Democrat

Lynwood Lewis was first elected Senator for the 6h District in 2014. The 6h District includes part of the cities of Virginia Beach and Norfolk and parts of Accomack, Mathews County, and Northampton counties.

Senator Lewis is Chair of the Local Government Committee and is a member of the Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources, Education and Health, Finance and Appropriations, and Rules committees. Senator Lewis served in the House of Delegates from 2003 to 2013.


According to an article in the Virginia Mercury, a bill from Sen. Lynwood Lewis, D-Accomack, that would require large employers like poultry plants to publicly report any COVID-19 outbreaks that have been linked by the Virginia Department of Health to the worksite cleared the Senate Friday night.

Crucially, however, the measure failed to garner enough support to go into effect immediately if it passes both houses of the legislature and is signed by Gov. Ralph Northam. Without an emergency enactment provision, the bill could not become effective until July 1.

Lewis, who represents a district on the Eastern Shore that has seen more than 700 workers at its Tyson Foods and Perdue Farms poultry plants sickened by COVID-19 during the pandemic and multiple deaths, needed to get 32 votes in the 40-member Senate to pass his legislation with the emergency provision. A first vote Friday only saw 29 senators support the bill, and several hours of behind-the-scenes vote whipping failed to bring an additional three over to Lewis’s side, leading the senator to remove the emergency provision.

Push to extend minimum wage increase to farmworkers voted down by Virginia Senate
NBC 12OnYourSide, Ned OliverFebruary 22, 2021 (Medium)

When the General Assembly voted last year to ramp up Virginia’s minimum wage to $12, agricultural employees were among a handful of groups excluded from the increase — an exemption that traces its roots to Jim Crow-era segregation.

Lawmakers in the Senate said Monday they stand by that decision, voting down legislation passed by the House of Delegates that would have extended the state’s employment laws to farmworkers for the first time.

“I understand the exuberance and I understand the need to move forward, but we just had a robust discussion on this last year,” said Sen. Lynwood Lewis, D-Accomack, one of 10 lawmakers on the Senate’s Commerce and Labor Committee who opposed the legislation.

A Senate committee voted Thursday to kill legislation aimed at expanding diversity in Virginia’s governor’s schools — a hot-button issue that’s sown debate at some of the state’s elite public institutions.

Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, D-Fairfax, made the motion to table the bill indefinitely over strong objections from Black and minority lawmakers including Sen. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth — the chamber’s president pro tempore and the first woman and African American to hold that role.

Several other Democrats, including Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax City, Sen. Lynwood Lewis, D-Accomack, and Sen. John Edwards, D-Roanoke, joined Republicans in voting against the bill after a heated committee argument along the same lines of debate that have unfolded elsewhere in the state.

In ‘sleeper’ environmental bill, Virginia lawmakers eye carbon sequestration possibilities
Virginia Mercury, Sarah VogelsongFebruary 18, 2021 (Short)

After putting in motion efforts to reduce emissions from the power and transportation sectors as a way to slow climate change, Virginia lawmakers are looking to chip away at the carbon problem by examining ways it can be sequestered in forests, waters and soils.

“Once we get rid of all our carbon-producing vehicles and plants and houses and what have you, we’re still stuck with a lot of carbon in the air that isn’t going anywhere until you sequester it. And that is critical,” said Sen. Dave Marsden, D-Fairfax, during a committee hearing this month. “We have to realize that we can win the battle and lose the war if we don’t really hit this mitigation or sequestration of carbon issue pretty hard.”

Both legislative chambers have signed off this session on a bill from Sen. Lynwood Lewis, D-Accomack, that would convene environmental, agricultural and higher education groups for a state task force charged with examining ways to encourage and quantify carbon sequestration in Virginia. A report would be due to the General Assembly prior to the first day of the 2022 regular session.

WATCH NOW: Bill to define sexual and workplace harassment in Va. is facing opposition
Richmond Times-Dispatch , Patrick Wilson February 16, 2021 (Long)

Edward Mullen, a lobbyist for the chamber, said at the hearing that the chamber worked with the Attorney General’s Office on a suitable amendment related to employer liability.

“With this amendment, we withdraw objection to the bill,” Mullen said at the hearing.

Two days later, Petersen, Sen. Lynwood Lewis, D-Accomack, and Sen. Joe Morrissey, D-Richmond, voted with Republicans to send the bill from the Senate floor back to committee, killing it because there was no more time before the crossover midpoint. Lewis is a lawyer and Morrissey a disbarred lawyer.



Lynwood Lewis

Source: Campaign page

Lynwood Lewis was born and raised on the Eastern Shore in the Town of Parksley. His family farmed on the Eastern Shore of Virginia for over three generations. He currently resides in Accomac where he is raising his 13 year-old son, John Zadoc.

Lewis graduated from Hampden-Sydney College in 1984 with a BA in History and Political Science and went on to receive his JD from the University of Richmond. Lewis continues the general practice of law in Accomac, Virginia as a partner in the firm of Custis, Dix, Lewis & Custis, L.L.P.

First elected to the House of Delegates in 2003, Lewis served, while in House, on the Chesapeake Bay Commission, the Governor’s Aerospace Advisory Council and the Speaker of the House appointed him to the Health Insurance Reform Commission.

In January of 2014, he was elected to the Virginia Senate from the 6th District. Senator Lewis sits on the Committees of Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources, Local Government and Education and Health. He serves as Co-Chair of the Subcommittee on Coastal Flooding and Adaptation in the General Assembly. Lewis has also been appointed to both the State Water Commission and the Modeling and Simulation Advisory Council.

Lewis was named the 2013 Outstanding Citizen of the Year by the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce. He has been named a Legislative Hero or Leader by the League of Conservation Voters five times – 2004, 2008, 2012, 2015 and 2018 – and in 2012 and 2013 he was awarded the Distinguished Advocate for Virginia Business by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. As a Senator, Lewis was named the 2015 Legislator of the Year by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Just recently, he received the Humane Society’s 2018 Humane Legislator Award, Chesapeake Climate Action Network’s 2018 Coastal Defender of the Year Award, the Sierra Club’s Legislative Leader Award and the HosPAC Healthcare Hero Award.


Work Experience

  • Attorney


  • JD
    University of Richmond School of Law
  • BA
    Hampden-Sydney College


Membership & Affiliation

Born in Parksley, Virginia on November 26, 1961


Legislative Assistants: Jessie Williams, Michele Haynie



Capitol Office
Pocahontas Building
Room No: E609
Senate of Virginia
P. O. Box 396
Richmond, VA 23218
Phone: (804) 698-7506

District Office
P. O. Box 760
Accomac, VA 23301
Phone: (757) 787-1094
Fax: (757) 787-2749


Government Page, Campaign Site, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook


Recent Elections

2019 State Senator

Lynwood W. Lewis Jr. (D)25,77259.66%
Elizabeth A. Lankford (R)17,35740.18%
Write-In (Write-in)690.16%

2019 State Senator

Lynwood Lewis (D)16,73859.5%
Richard Hooper Ottinger (R)11,38640.4%
Write In (Write-in)290.1%


LEWIS JR, LYNWOOD has run in 9 races for public office, winning 8 of them. The candidate has raised a total of $2,681,078

Source: Follow the Money



Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources
Education and Health
Local Government


Flooding, Joint Subcommittee on Coastal
Modeling and Simulation Advisory Council
Subcommittee #1 Agriculture
The Virginia All Payers Claims Database and Doctor of Medical Science Degree and Licensure
Water Commission, State

Voting Record

See: Vote Smart

New Legislation

Source: Virginia Legislative Information System


Civil Rights

  • Supports and co-sponsored Equal Rights Amendment
  • Supports and co-sponsored legislation that would expand Virginia’s anti-discrimination in housing and employment laws to include gender identity and sexual orientation.


  • Fighting to end school-to-prison pipeline
  • Supports and has co-sponsored decriminalization of marijuana
  • Supports and co-sponsored legislation to end the harmful practice of suspending driver’s licenses for nonpayment of court fees
  • Supports body cameras for law enforcement officers
  • Supports targeted investments and prison reform that will substantially decrease recidivism rates
  • Supported raising the felony threshold to $500 in 2018 and continues to support increasing threshold to $1000
  • Supports reform of cash bail system in Virginia
  • Supports banning the box to prevent discrimination in employment


Voting Rights

  • Supports and has sponsored legislation to repeal unnecessary and harmful Voter ID laws
  • Supports and has co-sponsored legislation to enact no-excuse in-person absentee voting
  • Supports restoration of voting rights to felons who have served their time
  • Consistently sponsored and supported legislation to end partisan and political gerrymandering. Firmly believes that voters should pick their legislators, not the other way around.
  • Opposes legislation that would allow any entity that takes taxpayer dollars to discriminate based on sexual orientation


  • Played and continues to play critical role in rural broadband deployment and expansion, fighting for prioritized funding and budget language changes to make grant funds more accessible
  • Introduced and passed legislation to establish working waterfront economic development areas, allowing localities to incentivize investment and procure special zoning to cultivate much-needed working waterfronts, particularly in rural coastal areas
  • Created and secured the initial seed funding for the Virginia Waterway Maintenance Fund, a fund that specifically addresses dire funding needs in rural coastal Virginia and waterways neglected by the US Coast Guard that have subsequently had their navigable markers removed. This legislation was a huge victory for rural coastal Virginia.
  • Fought for inclusion of Northampton, Accomack and Mathews Counties in 2018 legislation that incentivizes investments by businesses that will create guaranteed high-paying jobs and will remain in those localities for a significant amount of time. After the inclusion of the rural counties in the 6th District, subsequently co-sponsored this critical rural development legislation.
  • Long advocated for funding and policy that invests in and prioritizes the industries critical to the 6th District—industries like aquaculture, commercial fisheries, ecotourism, aerospace, trade, and forestry, as well as best management practices for farms and major investments in both the Port of Virginia and Wallops Flight Facility.
  • Supported and fought for investments in the Eastern Shore Public Library, Eastern Shore Community College and Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital—all critical pieces of attracting and retaining businesses and workers
  • Consistently fought for major structured investments in transportation infrastructure, roads and public transit, as well as working to address resiliency needs as it pertains to the regular flooding of roads in the 6th Senate District.
  • Expanding both the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel, projects that are long-overdue
  • Recognized as an advocate specifically for small and locally-owned businesses in Hampton Roads and on the Eastern Shore
  • Sponsored incentives for resiliency in building and business practices for commercial properties


  • Supports increased minimum wage, with preference given to the Congressman Bobby Scott model: an increase to $15/hour over four years with an appropriate carve-out for small businesses—the same that has been done in many other states.
  • Supports collective bargaining rights of workers
  • Supports investments in workforce training programs, especially for transitioning veterans
  • Supports transparency in pay for workers receiving debit cards rather than paper checks
  • Supports regulation of payday lenders
  • Opposes changing the current 1:1 ratio of journeyman to apprentices
  • Supports investments and incentives to attract medical and educational professionals to areas of high-need and with high-turnover (ie, student loan forgiveness)


  • Supports fully funding public education—including a complete study of our Standards of Quality, which are woefully out of date. He sponsored legislation to do this in 2019, and it was killed in Committee by Republicans.
  • Supports pay raises for teachers and funding for them at a state level. This should not only be to obtain parity for teachers throughout Virginia, but we should be striving to lead nationally in teacher salaries.
  • Supports increases to at-risk funding for schools and funding through the lottery, as well as through General Fund. At-risk funding should be prioritized over additional lottery funding, as we should be prioritizing funding for schools who have the most need. This includes most of the school districts in the 6th Senate District.
  • Supports continuing to decrease the number of standardized tests required of students. Teachers should be able to teach to the student’s needs, not to a test.
  • Supports decreasing the counselor:student ratio and advocated heavily for legislation to do this as well as full funding for it. This is a mental health issue and a school safety issue as well as sound school policy.
  • Supports and has co-sponsored legislation to end the school-to-prison pipeline. Too many of our young people, especially young men and women of color, end up in our court system instead of receiving an education—and it is unacceptable.
  • Supports increased funding for Pre-K and advocates heavily for equity in access to early childhood education. Access to early education is critical to outcomes.
  • Supports investments in career and technical education and has supported legislation that increases access to these programs.
  • Fighting for state investments in local school infrastructure, despite precedent being that local school districts be responsible for these costs. Co-sponsored legislation to this effect.
  • Supports policy to make our schools safer and sponsored legislation to require local school boards to enter memorandums of understanding with local law enforcement as put forth by new state guidelines. MOUs should be public.
  • Opposes using public funds for private schools (charter schools).
  • Recognizes the burden of student loans is one of the most pressing fiscal problems of our time and supports addressing this at a state level
  • Supports and fought for a tuition freeze for colleges and universities to keep tuition costs from escalating any more
  • Supports seeking ways and reforms to make our world-class system of higher education more accessible across socioeconomic backgrounds



  • Chair of Joint Subcommittee on Coastal Flooding and Adaptation
  • Environmental Policy Liaison for the Senate Democratic Caucus
  • Responsible for much of the successful policy that has passed in recent years regarding the environment as it pertains to Coastal Virginia, including:
    • 2016 SB282 : Established Shoreline Resiliency Fund
    • 2016 SB283: Fitting crab pots with turtle excluder device
    • 2016 SB307: Allows for authorization of emergency beach restoration in case of weather event that was state or national emergency
    • 2017 SB1518: Expands recycling programs to include beneficial use
    • 2018 SB265: Created cabinet-level position (Special Assistant to the Governor on Coastal Flooding and Adaptation), resulting in the hiring of Rear Admiral Ann Phillips and a fully-developed Coastal Plan
    • 2018 SJ21: Constitutional amendment to allow localities the ability to provide tax abatements to property owners who take flooding remediation efforts on existing properties. Passed on 2018 ballot and enabling legislation that set parameters passed in 2019.
    • 2019 SB1559: Expands C-PACE loan program to include shoreline resiliency improvements
    • 2019 SB1599: Protects vulnerable Eastern Shore aquifer and our groundwater supply through incentivized approach
    • Opposes opening our waters to off-shore drilling AND seismic testing
    • Supports carbon capping and has sponsored the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative for several years, but Republican majority has stymied this
    • Supports moving away from plastic use, and has sponsored legislation to allow localities to ban or tax plastic bags
    • Supports and has co-sponsored legislation to increase both commercial and residential access to solar energy
    • Secured investments (Agricultural Best Management Practices) that helped farmers curb runoff pollution
    • Supports recycling of coal ash to protect public health and our drinking water
    • Supports increased funding for coastal resiliency, solutions to sea level rise, energy efficiency programs and green jobs
    • Secured investments to study and restore oyster populations, resulting in a healthier Chesapeake Bay and, in some tributaries, full restoration or near-full restoration of the native oyster

Health Care

  • Fought for and successfully passed Medicaid Expansion, ensuring long-awaited healthcare access for an estimated 400,000 Virginians and saving rural hospitals across the state
  • Supports greater access to and broader investments in mental health care and awareness in the Commonwealth
  • Passed comprehensive legislation to address the opioid crisis; established regional overdose task force that is now established on the Eastern Shore
  • Supports and has co-sponsored legislation to create and expand access to medicinal cannabis and supports a fully implemented medicinal marijuana program for the Commonwealth.
  • Supports seeking ways to address the damage done by current Administration at federal level to health care affordability and accessibility
  • Fought to make Eastern Shore Rural Health a designated care center for veterans,and will continue to fight for that designation and for the care that our veterans deserve
  • Opposes piecemeal changes to Certificate of Public Need that could lead to less oversight in medical care and hospital closure
  • Supports and helped pass legislation to end surprise billing by insurance companies


  • Supports continued increased investments in Housing Trust Fund in order to address a growing affordable housing crisis
  • Helped pass and will continue to support legislative reforms that address the exorbitant eviction rate in Virginia, particularly in Richmond and Hampton Roads
  • Supports and is focusing on addressing major infrastructure needs that inhibit new building or create barriers to existing improvements, like outdated sewer systems and aging water infrastructure.
  • Supports investments in programming to educate Virginians as it pertains to housing accessibility and affordability
  • Supports investments in energy efficiency and home rehabilitation efforts, both of which are sorely needed in rural Virginia and amongst a growing senior population
  • Supports incentives that encourage developers to both (a) resilient and (b) rent to residents from mixed incomes
  • Supports utilizing nearby intellectual capital (like ESCC, ODU, NASA, TCC) to extract innovative ideas for building and resiliency

More Issues

  • Supports a woman’s right to access reproductive care and believes that all decisions regarding her care should be between a woman and her doctor
  • Supports universal background checks on all guns purchased in the Commonwealth
  • Supports red flag laws
  • Opposes arming teachers
  • Supports legislation to address food insecurities and food deserts
  • Supports “hands free” legislation—Virginia has the highest rate of distracted driving in the country
  • Supports in-state tuition for DACA recipients
  • Supports Family and Medical Leave Act
  • Recognizes critical problems within our current foster care system and supports reforms
  • Supports new regulations and laws to address proliferation of elderly financial abuse; sponsored legislation to create elder abuse registry that was cost prohibitive and working in the interim to ensure the legislation that will be newly introduced (if elected) in 2020 can be implemented as intended


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