Nation and World

Bridging the divide

kirk cox sitting on desk

SUMMARY: Kirk Cox ('79), the new speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, is urging his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to practice "integrity, civility and grace."

From the Spring 2018 digital issue of Madison

Kirk Cox (’79) became the 55th Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates on Jan. 10. Cox, a political science major, taught government at Manchester High School in Midlothian, Virginia, until 2012. A member of the House of Delegates since 1990, he served as majority whip from 2004 to 2010 and majority leader from 2010 to 2018.

Kirk Cox sitting in his office with a visitor

In his remarks to the House delivered immediately following his election as speaker, Cox encouraged his fellow legislators to practice “integrity, civility and grace” in their service to the people of the commonwealth.

Kirk Cox looking at papers with man on either side

“As a former government teacher of 30 years, you had to guess I would include a small lesson in my remarks,” said Cox. “The House of Delegates use[d] to be known as the House of Burgesses. Many of you know that. But what you may not know is that the word Burgess is a British word meaning an inhabitant of a town with full rights of citizenship. That has special meaning, this body was literally founded to be a house of citizen servants elected by citizens."

Kirk Cox at Speaker's desk in House of Delegates chambers

“For the past several weeks, the five-feet wide center aisle that symbolically separates the two parties of this chamber, has sometimes felt five miles wide,” he said. “The first and foremost task of this body is to bridge that divide. We are not two parties, we are one House tasked with the responsibility of governing one Commonwealth, improving the lives of one group ... the citizens we serve.”

Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018

Last Updated: Friday, March 2, 2018

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