Long-time Loudoun Senator Charlie Waddell Dies

Charles Lindy Waddell, who represented Loudoun County in the Virginia Senate for 26 years, died Tuesday at age 90.

A native of Braselton, GA, Waddell worked as a passenger service officer for American Airlines at National Airport before he was transferred to Dulles Airport when it began operations in 1962. It was a quieter time at Dulles, with three arrivals and departures daily. He continued to work for American Airlines at Dulles until his retirement.

A resident of the Broad Run Farms neighborhood in Sterling, Waddell became active in politics, serving as chairman of the Loudoun County Democratic Committee in the 1960s. In 1967, he was elected to represent the Broad Run District on the county Board of Supervisors. Among his legislative priorities at the time was to provide free textbooks for Loudoun’s public-school students.

Following redistricting in 1971, Waddell ran for the newly created 33rd District Senate that covered Loudoun and western Fairfax counties. It was a seat that he would hold almost three decades, winning six more elections. During his time in Richmond, Waddell was a leader on transportation issues, serving as the chairman of the Senate Committee on Transportation. His work included the creation of the Rt. 28 Tax District in the late 1980s that transformed the congested two-lane road to the highway that exists today. He also championed legislation that resulted in construction of the Dulles Greenway as a privately owned highway.

On the campaign trail and among his colleagues in Richmond, Waddell was known as the singing senator, with versions of Boxcar Willie’s Wabash Cannon Ball a go-to selection.

He retired from the state Senate in 1998 to take a position as deputy secretary of Transportation in the administration of Gov. James Gilmore. 

Arrangements through Loudoun Funeral Chapel are pending.

This story will be updated.

One thought on “Long-time Loudoun Senator Charlie Waddell Dies

  • 2022-07-22 at 9:46 pm

    Charlie also served one term on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, representing the Broad Run District from 1968 to 1971. I got to know him before I was serving in elected office in the County (2006 to 2017) when he came to my office to talk about getting a new Potomac River crossing — a passion of mine for over 20 years.

    Every time we met, I learned of one accomplishment or the other that he spearheaded in his long career in elected office  — one of which, is getting Route 7 built west of Leesburg (if memory serves me correctly).

    But if that is the case, I think it would be very fitting for the Loudoun Board and Leesburg Town Council to ask the Loudoun delegation to Richmond to offer a bill to rename Route 7 “Charlies Waddell Memorial Highway,” or perhaps Route 28 because he was instrumental in getting the special tax district set up to upgrade 28 to four and then six lanes and ultimately to an expressway.

    Markers dedicating the roads in his honor would be pretty good as an alternative.

    He was a great leader and deserves recognition for his transportation accomplishments.

    May his memory be for a blessing.

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