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Volume 26, Number 7 — July 2018

Former Virginia Governor Remembers When ...

Linwood Holton explains life as the Governor of Virginia in a new book.
Linwood Holton explains life as the Governor of Virginia in a new book.

By Joe Tennis | Bristol Herald Courier | June 12, 2008

*** This story appeared in the Bristol (Va.) Herald Courier on June 8, 2008. ****

ABINGDON, Va. ? From stories of widening U.S. 23 beyond Duffield to controversies surrounding the slogan "Virginia Is for Lovers," Linwood Holton explains life as Virginia's governor in a new book.

Holton's "Opportunity Time" (University of Virginia Press, $27.95) reflects on his small-town roots in Big Stone Gap, where his father was a railroad executive.

In the first chapter, according to classmate "Skinhead" Horton, "Linwood Holton was running for governor when he was in the fourth grade."

Possibly.

"I can't remember a time when the goal of one day being governor of Virginia wasn't simmering in the back of my mind," Holton writes.

As it turned out, in 1969, Holton became the first Republican governor elected in Virginia since the days of Reconstruction.

He served from 1970 to 1974.

Although a Republican politician, Holton has long appealed to constituents from both parties.

He has supported moderate Republicans, including Sen. John Warner. Yet, as the Republican party became increasingly conservative, Holton found his views more in tune with the state's Democratic party.

Ultimately, Holton found himself endorsing several Democrats for statewide office, including his son-in-law, Tim Kaine, now the governor of Virginia.

"Opportunity Time" is a memoir and includes several black-and-white photos, including a 1930 shot of Holton with his family at Cracker's Neck in Wise County.

So far, since its April 30 release, it's been a popular book. At a recent appearance at the Library of Virginia in Richmond, Holton spoke about "Opportunity Time" and then signed more than 100 copies.

jtennis@bristolnews.com | (276) 791-0704

A! ExtraTopics: Literature