Loudoun Co. remembers Charlie Waddell, a political giant who served his community

Loudoun County is remembering political champion and former state senator Charlie Waddell, who helped to transform his community by putting those he served first.

Waddell, a long time community activist and public servant in Loudoun County, died July 19 at the age 90-years-old. He leaves behind 34 years of accomplishments for his community, including 26 years in the Virginia State Senate.

Leesburg Mayor Kelly Burk first met Waddell in the 1990s, before eventually serving as his legislative aide during Waddell’s time as chair of the transportation committee in the Virginia State Senate.

“He was often referred to as the singing senator because he did live to sing,” Burk said.

The late Charlie Waddell in the Virginia State Senate. Waddell died at the age of 90 on July 19, 2022. (Virginia Senate)

According to his obituary, Waddell was known for being tall, affable and a progressive Democrat. He was responsible for legislation that widened Route 28 and legalized “right turn on red” in Virginia. He also raised the speed limit on the Dulles Greenway to 65 miles per hour.

“His big lesson was always to be proud, to be a Democrat, but to always reach across the aisle,” said Burk.

Before joining the Senate Transportation Committee, Waddell served a term on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.

Burk said Waddell loved Loudoun County,  took his work seriously for the sake of the people he served and never lost an election. Burk added that working with him was an experience she will never forget.

But Waddell wasn’t all business.

“He most certainly will be remembered for his accomplishments, but he will also be remembered for all the delightful things that he would do, and the advice that he would freely give and the joy that he was willing to share with people. That’s the thing he loved the most,” Burk said.

A service for Waddell will be held at the Leesburg Community Church on Friday at 1 p.m.

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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