Ralph Northam (Virginia Governor) – Bio, Wife, Family, Racism Allegations

Ralph Northam is an American politician who currently serves as the 73rd Governor of Virginia. Prior to being elected into the office, he served as the 40th Lieutenant Governor of Virginia from 2014 to 2018 and a member of the Virginia Senate from the 6th district from 2008 to 2014. Before he joined politics, Northam who described himself as a conservative on fiscal issues and liberal on social issues worked with the army as a physician.

Ralph Northam (Virginia Governor) Bio

It was as Ralph Shearer Northam that the Governor was born on September 13, 1959, in Nassawadox, Virginia. He was brought up alongside his brother Thomas Northam in Onancock, Virginia, by their parents Wescott B. Northam and Nancy B. Shearer. While his father was a lawyer, his mother was a nurse.

Apart from working on the family’s property where the family grew different crops and tended livestock, Ralph also worked on a ferry, on fishing charters, and on a neighbor’s farm.

He got his education from desegregated public schools before he graduated from Onancock High School. Ralph played both basketball and baseball when he was in high school and was later voted “Most Likely to Succeed”. From there, he moved to Virginia Military Institute from where he graduated in 1981 and then he went to the Eastern Virginia Medical School where he obtained his M.D degree.

He went on to serve with the US Army as a medical officer from 1984 to 1992 before leaving the Army as a major. Ralph later worked at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk, Virginia, as a pediatric neurologist.

The first time that he sought for an elective position was in 2007 when he ran for the Virginia 6th Senate district. He got the Democratic nomination unopposed before going on to defeat Republican Nick Rerras who was a two-term Republican incumbent.

In the 2013 election, he ran for the office of the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. He got the Democratic nomination after defeating Aneesh Chopra and then he defeated Republican E. W. Jackson to become Virginia’s 40th Lieutenant Governor.

Northam joined the race for the 2017 Virginia gubernatorial election and slugged it out against Tom Perriello whom he defeated to get the Democratic nomination. After this, he defeated Republican nominee Ed Gillespie by a wider margin than predicted to become the 73rd Governor of Virginia.

His Wife and  Family

Ralph Northam
Ralph, Pam Northam, and their children (Image Source)

Many years ago, Pam Northam was invited to a pool party on a blind date where she met young Ralph Northam who immediately fell for her. At first, she was not interested in dating anyone because she was busy with her new career, but the governor persisted.

At the time, Pam had a cat which she rescued and had given birth. Unfortunately, there was a small kitten that couldn’t nurse and so with tools from his neonatal intensive care unit, Ralph and Pam made a feed apparatus that saved the cat and that was how she fell for him.

By 1987, the two were married and their family is now complete with two adult children, Wes who is a brain surgeon and Aubrey who is a web developer.

See Also: Tim Kaine Wife, Son, Family, Wiki, Bio, Net Worth, Height, Is He Gay?

Racism Allegations

Although he has maintained an unblemished political and medical career through the years which has helped him to enjoy the support of people across racial divides, Ralph Northam woke up on February 1, 2019, to serious questions been asked about his past as regards racism.

This was after a photo from his medical-school yearbook page emerged. The photo portrays someone in a Ku Klux Klan robe and another with a painted black face. This led many to level allegations of racism against him describing the photo as something inexcusable.

Ralph Northam
Ralph Northam yearbook (Image Source)

After the photo emerged, the Virginia Governor wasted no time to apologize. The next day, he denied ever taking the photo or even seeing it. More so, he added that he was not at the party where the photo was taken. His explanation was that it was a mix-up during the production of the yearbook that got the photo there.

The racism allegations against the Virginia governor only got worse when it was discovered that his nickname when he was in college was the racial slur, Coonman.

Ralph Northam went from denying ever wearing the Klan robe or blackface to admitting that he once used shoe polish to black his face in order to imitate Michael Jackson. He claimed he did it to attend a Halloween party some months after he graduated from Eastern Virginia Medical School.

Following the racism allegations against Ralph Northam, there were many calls for him to resign from a lot of quarters, even from the Virginia House Democratic Caucus. His predecessor Terry McAuliffe and Virginia’s lieutenant governor, Justin Fairfax, who stands to succeed him if he resigns, have asked the Governor to step down.


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