Fairfax could be 2nd black gov. in VA.
Justin Fairfax is an Ivy League-educated lawyer descended from slaves, who as lieutenant governor of Virginia has been best known for protesting tributes to Confederate leaders in the historic Capitol in Richmond.
He could now become the commonwealth’s 74th governor, if fellow Democrat Ralph Northam resigns over a racist photo he included in his medical school yearbook in 1984.
Fairfax, 39, is serving his first term in public office. He was elected as Northam’s deputy in the 2017 blue wave in which Democrats won all three statewide offices and picked up 15 seats in the House of Delegates.
He would be the second black governor of Virginia, following L. Douglas Wilder, who held the office from 1990 to 1994.
Fairfax grew up in his grandparents’ home in a middle-class area of northeast Washington, where he moved with his mother, a pharmacist, and his three older siblings after his parents divorced.
He attended Duke University and Columbia Law School and came to Virginia in 2005 to clerk for U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee.
Fairfax has mostly worked in the private sector except for several years as a federal prosecutor in northern Virginia. After being elected lieutenant governor, which is a part-time position, he was hired by the white-collar firm Morrison and Foerster.
He lives in Annandale with his wife and two children.