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Posted at 1:13 PM ET, 02/25/2011

Leading Northern Va. senator announces retirement

By Rosalind S. Helderman
Rosalind S. Helderman

Virginia Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple, a 15-year veteran from Arlington who chairs her chamber's Democratic caucus, has announced that she will not run for reelection to her seat in November.

Whipple, 70, announced her retirement on the floor of the state Senate to colleagues, thanking fellow senators on both sides of the aisle for setting the collegial attitude for which the Virginia Senate is known. A champion of public transit and environmental causes who was well known in Richmond as an early enthusiast of the Prius, Whipple urged her colleagues to take up her work.

"I leave you with unfinished work and many challenges," she said.

Whipple is a former member of the Arlington County Board and Arlington School Board, as well as numerous regional boards in Northern Virginia, including the WMATA board.

She received extensive praise from colleagues on the floor, particularly from fellow women, who praised Whipple as a trailblazer who guided Senate Democrats with quiet, persistent power.

"This is very, very hard, because it leaves a hole in my heart and a hole in the Senate," said a tearful Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax).

Whipple is the second Northern Virginian to announce this year that she is retiring at the end of 2011. Sen. Patsy Ticer (D-Alexandria) has also said she will not run again.

Among those who might be interested in running for Whipple's seat: Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington), Del. Bob Brink (D-Arlington), former lieutenant governor candidate Mike Signer and Arlington County Board member Barbara Favola.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | February 25, 2011; 1:13 PM ET
Categories:  Arlington County, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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Good riddance, ya Communist..

Posted by: wewintheylose1 | February 25, 2011 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Sen. Whipple has been an incredibly smart, pragmatic, and principled leader in the State Senate. She has an immense legacy to be proud of. Among many achievements was her leadership in authoring Virginia's landmark wetlands protection law. That law is on the books due to Sen. Whipple's political savvy--working with pro-business Republicans and a Republican Governor during the 2000 session. Without her, one of the most important conservation victories in recent memory would not have been possible. Her retirement is a huge loss.

Posted by: calejaffe | February 25, 2011 5:49 PM | Report abuse

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