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Putney evolved just as Virginia did

Sunday - 3/31/2013, 10:40am  ET

AP Political Writer

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- When Del. Lacey Putney announced he was leaving the House after the longest tenure of any Virginia legislator, it hailed the sunset of a remarkable career that reflected the state's political and societal evolution.

The conservative independent from Bedford likely makes his final House floor appearance Wednesday in a one-day reconvened session to consider gubernatorial amendments and vetoes. This, his 52nd session, will be his last.

Putney was elected in the first year of John Kennedy's presidency as part of a Virginia Democratic Party still rich with segregationists. He parted with the party in 1967 and became an independent.

In that span, rural Virginia became largely suburban. Republicans took the House from the Democrats. Virginia was first to elect a black governor.

And Putney evolved with Virginia.

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