Linda Todd "Toddy" Puller (born January 19, 1945, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa) is an American politician. A Democrat, she served in the Virginia House of Delegates 1992–99 and was elected to the Senate of Virginia in November 1999. For sixteen years she represented the 36th district, made up of parts of Fairfax, Prince William and Stafford counties.
Puller in 2012
|Member of the Virginia Senate|
from the 36th district
January 12, 2000 – January 13, 2016
|Preceded by||Joseph V. Gartlan, Jr.|
|Succeeded by||Scott Surovell|
|Member of the Virginia House of Delegates|
from the 44th district
January 8, 1992 – January 12, 2000
|Preceded by||Gerald Fill|
|Succeeded by||Kristen J. Amundson|
|Born||January 19, 1945|
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
|Spouse(s)||Lewis Burwell Puller, Jr. (died 1994)|
|Residence||Mount Vernon, Virginia|
|Alma mater||Mary Washington College|
Puller's father was a United States Army officer. She received a B.A. degree in Art History from Mary Washington College in 1967, after which she taught elementary school in Woodbridge, Virginia.
Puller married Lewis Burwell Puller, Jr., son of United States Marine Corps Lieutenant General Chesty Puller. Her husband lost both legs in the Vietnam War and spent years fighting depression. He committed suicide in 1994, two years after winning a Pulitzer Prize for his autobiography, Fortunate Son. A biography of Lewis Puller includes this comment,
- It was primarily through the patience and unflagging love of his wife (to whom the book is dedicated) that Puller was able to survive his recuperation. Not that that love was untested: at their initial reunion, Puller, confined to a wheelchair, instructed his five-months-pregnant wife to divorce him rather than be burdened by a cripple. Toddy persevered, helping Puller through law school and assisting him in his unsuccessful bid for a seat in Congress. It was the failure of this Congressional run that drove Puller to heavy alcoholism and, ultimately, to attempt suicide--only to be saved, once again, by his wife. "Toddy," observed New York Times reviewer Herbert Mitgang, "is something of a heroine in the story; her loyalty makes the author seem like a very fortunate husband."
Puller suffered a stroke in 1997, which limited her movement, though she continued to serve in the House and later was elected to the Virginia Senate, serving until her retirement in 2015.
Puller was a member of the Senate committees on Commerce and Labor, Courts of Justice, Local Government, Rehabilitation and Social Services (Chair), and Rules. In 2010 55% of the bills she sponsored or supported passed the Virginia Senate. Of all of the co-patrons of her bills, 56% were Democrats, 44% were Republicans.
In July 2011, the Governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell, signed 'Ashley's Law' which requires emergency responders to use their flashing lights and sirens when entering an intersection against a red light or else yield to traffic. The bill had been written and sponsored by Puller after a young woman was killed in 2008 when her automobile was struck crossing US Route 1 in Fairfax County, Virginia by a speeding police vehicle whose driver had not activated the siren.
According to the Charleston Gazette-Mail, she has been "the Senate's most forceful and authoritative voice for veterans' issues" for her work on property tax exemptions for disabled veterans, and her support of Virginia's Wounded Warriors Program.
Puller was re-elected to the Virginia Senate in November 2011 with 55% of the votes.
- Senate of Virginia bio Archived January 15, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
- The Stafford County portion was only added after the 2011 redistricting.
- "About Toddy". Virginia State Senator Toddy Puller. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
- "Virginia House of Delegates; Session 1999; Puller, Linda T. (Toddy)". Virginia House of Delegates. Archived from the original on 2011-05-24. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
- "Lewis B(urwell) Puller, Jr." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2000. Gale Biography In Context. Accessed 9 Nov. 2011.
- Weiner, Rachel (14 January 2015). "Virginia Democratic Sen. Linda 'Toddy' Puller to retire". The Washington Post. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
- Richmond Sunlight » Senator Toddy Puller (D-Mount Vernon) retrieved: September 10, 2011
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-09-06. Retrieved 2011-10-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
-  Archived December 23, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- Toddy Puller | Energy and Experience Making a Difference
- Jackman, Tom. In Mt. Vernon, Gov. McDonnell signs ‘Ashley’s Law. Washington Post, Post Local 07/26/2011.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-07-17. Retrieved 2007-10-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Puller Pulls Out Victory in Southern Fairfax County Senate District. Rose Hill Patch, 09 November 2011. Archived November 12, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- "Election Results". Virginia State Board of Elections. Archived from the original on June 17, 2010.
- "Linda T Puller". Virginia Public Access Project.
- "Senator Toddy Puller (D-Mount Vernon)". Richmond Sunlight.
- Project Vote Smart - Senator Linda Todd 'Toddy' Puller (VA) profile
- Follow the Money - Linda T (Toddy) Puller
- Washington Post - Senate District 36 Race