Pam Northam is Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s wife. The couple has two children together, Wes and Aubrey. The couple has been married since 1987.
On February 1, 2019, photos emerged from Gov. Northam’s medical school yearbook which showed two men on the governor’s page. One was wearing blackface makeup. The other was dressed in a white, similar to the uniform of the Ku Klux Klan. The Eastern Virginia Medical School has confirmed that the image is legitimate. The governor, a Democrat, issued an apology in which he called the image “racist and offensive.” He added, “I recognize that it will take time and serious effort to heal the damage this conduct has caused.”
Here’s what you need to know about Virginia’s first lady:
1. Pam Fell for Norham After He Built a Feeding Apparatus’ to Save Her Kitten
While her husband was governor-elect in Virginia, Pam did an interview with NBC12. The first lady said that she first met her future husband while the couple was studying in San Antonio. Pam says she was set up on a blind date at a pool party. She described a situation where she was competing with 20 other women at the party for the governor but Pam says she “got the rose.” Pam studied at Baylor University and the University of Texas.
Although, Pam went on to say that she did not properly fall for the governor until he designed a breathing apparatus to save the life of her cat, Lamont, according to a feature on ALTDaily.com. Pam told the website, “He brought tools from his neonatal intensive care unit, and together we built a feed apparatus. He saved my kitten, named Lamont, who lived with us for many years afterward. Who could resist such a great guy?” Pam went on to say that since then, the family has constantly adopted animals from shelters.
2. Pam Is a Teacher, Behavioral Therapist & Environmental Activist
According to Pam’s Facebook page, she is a behavioral therapist in addition to being a former elementary school teacher and high school biology teacher. Since becoming the first lady, Pam has been working as an environmental activist with a non-profit, Lynnhaven River NOW.
During an appearance on the campaign trail, Pam emphasized her and the governor’s belief in education, via NBC12, “Ralph and I understand the need for early childhood development and that’s where I think I’m going to really work, and providing more access to quality early childhood, whether it’s care or education, all the things that are involved.”
According to Pam’s official profile, she is a member of the board of trustees for the Science Museum of Virginia and a member of the innovative E3 School in Norfolk.
3. Pam Is Close With Former Virginia First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe
Pam is close with former Virginia First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe. Gov. Northam served as lieutenant governor to Governor Terry McCauliffe. Pam told NBC12 about their relationship saying, “She’s a great teacher, she’s given me all the great pointers and I can only hope to aspire to what she’s done.”
Prior to her husband taking office, Pam and Dorothy McAuliffe met to discuss the transition. Pam told the Washington Post, “We ended up talking about policy and how to move the needle. We realized two hours later we hadn’t talked about the typical first lady things.” The article also mentioned Pam’s plan to follow Dorothy McAuliffe’s lead in terms of what kind of first lady she wanted to be.
4. Pam Successfully Fought to Have a Lactation Station in the Virginia State Capitol
5. Her Son Also Attended East Virginia Medical School
Pam’s son, Wes, is a brain surgeon, having completed his residency at UNC-Chapel Hill and her daughter, Aubrey is a web developer in Richmond, Virginia. Governor Northam was a pediatric neurosurgeon, prior to going into politics. According to his profile at UNC’s website, Wes Northam also graduated from East Virginia Medical School.
ALTDaily says that Aubrey is known to volunteer at an animal shelter.