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Virginia’s 65th Governor, Gerald L. Baliles, Dies At The Age Of 79

Gerald L Baliles
Gerald L. Baliles, at the Miller Center of Public Affairs December 2016. (Photo: The Miller Center)

Virginia’s 65th Governor, Gerald L. Baliles, died today of kidney cancer at the age of 79.  The Democrat of moderate temperament was a pivotal figure in creating a “New Virginia.”

His running mates were Doug Wilder and Mary Sue Terry.  Terry became the first woman elected to hold statewide office.  Wilder later became the nation’s first African American Governor.  In later years, Baliles continued his crusade for diversity and civility in government at UVA’s Miller Center.

Baliles:  Both Republican and Democratic values have become more partisan over the past 25 years.

Baliles at a Leadership Summit at the University of Richmond in 2012.

Baliles:  I do not suggest that the situation will be easily resolved.  I only say it has to be resolved.  We have no choice.  Or perhaps more to the point, you have no choice.”

While Governor, Baliles increased funding for transportation, education and the environment, traveled to more than 20 countries to promote Virginia business and pushed a 100 million dollar cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay.  He died at home, in Charlottesville, at the age of 79. 

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