Shirley Vance Wilkins, Jr. (born August 12, 1936, in Amherst County, Virginia) is a retired American politician of the Republican Party. He was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1978-2002. In 2000 he became the first non-Democratic Speaker since the Readjuster Party controlled the House in the early 1880s. Wilkins was considered the driving force in the expansion of Republican House membership in the 1980s and 1990s, especially after he became minority leader in 1992. In his first term as Speaker, he oversaw the redistricting of the House after the 2000 census which led to an increase in the Republican majority from 52-47 (1 independent) to 64-34 (2 independents) after the November 2001 election. Wilkins' tenure as Speaker ended early in his second term. First, in March 2002, Republican Party of Virginia chair Ed Matricardi was accused of eavesdropping on a Democratic Party conference call. Republican state Attorney General Jerry Kilgore began an investigation, which soon expanded to include Wilkins' chief of staff, Claudia D. Tucker, and brought suspicion on Wilkins himself. Then, on June 7, 2002, The Washington Post reported that executives of Wilkins' former construction company had revealed that Wilkins had paid $100,000 to a former political staffer, Jennifer L. Thompson, to keep quiet about "unwelcome sexual advances" by Wilkins. Under pressure from Kilgore and his own caucus, Wilkins resigned as Speaker a week later, and resigned from the House shortly afterward.
- Wikipedia page