- The Washington Times - Friday, June 16, 2006

V. Earl Dickinson, 81, state lawmaker

RICHMOND (AP) — V. Earl Dickinson, a 30-year lawmaker who was once the state’s most powerful budget writer, died June 15 at his home after a battle with cancer. He was 81.

Mr. Dickinson, a Democrat who represented Louisa County in the House of Delegates, became chairman of the House Appropriations Committee in 1996.

Two years later, when Republicans gained parity in the House, Mr. Dickinson became co-chairman of the committee with Delegate Vincent F. Callahan Jr., Fairfax Republican, under a power-sharing agreement. He remained co-chairman through his retirement from politics in 2001.

“He was a dear friend and a mentor,” Mr. Callahan said.

Mr. Dickinson paired a country wit with keen financial acumen. He was a major advocate for rural and farming interests and opposed legislation to require covers on large trucks, many of them hauling logs, soil, gravel and crops.

He was one of the primary authors of tuition assistance grants, which provide state funds to help Virginia students pay the costs of private in-state schools.

He was elected to the House in 1971. Mr. Dickinson became an advocate for higher education and agricultural extension work at Virginia Tech.

“He was a great legislator, he was a great person and, more important, he was a great friend,” said C. Richard Cranwell, the former House Democratic leader who retired with Mr. Dickinson from the General Assembly in 2001.

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