Monday, November 18, 2013
Happy Birthday Mills!
Well, today November 19th, is the birthday of former Governor Mills Godwin. Godwin is the only man elected twice by the people of Virginia to the Governors office. In fact I think he is the only person from any state to serve as
Governor from one party and another term as Governor from another party.
Godwin was born in what is now Suffolk in 1914. He served in the State Senate from 1952-1962, then served as Lt. Governor 1962-1966. He served as Governor as a Democrat from 1966-1970, and then one term as a Republican from 1974-1978.
I have always thought of Mills as a statesman. Someone who always put Virginia's interests over Party interests. He helped Virginia make the transition from a rural state to a suburban state. He broke with the Byrd 'pay as you go' financing to a state sales tax in 1966. He built our community college system, doubled teachers salaries, helped to see Virginia through the oil embargo of the 1970's. Godwin guided the revision of the State Constitution, reinstated the death penalty and reorganized the penal system.
He was a true Virginia Gentleman, and I have always viewed him as Virginia's greatest Governor.